In 1996, Babylon 5 was in full swing. My nerd friends gathered to watch blocky CGI and bad acting. It wasn’t uncommon that my like minded friends would hang out and do all sorts of stuff: dinners, movie nights, day trips. Friends of mine who used to waltz into my place like Kramer (imagine having 8 Kramers for friends) into the Seinfeld abode. They started to get less present until they were entirely absent. My village became a ghost town.
When I was a kid, I used to wake up to the sound of unfamiliar voices and the smell of coffee. Coffee in the 1970s wasn’t the high art of today. Instant coffee did the trick most of the time. When friends came calling, my Mom would pull out the big guns and make a pot of the real stuff. These friends would hang out and gab. Sometimes they’d make a day of it. Sometimes they’d go by 11AM. The drop in was comforting. In the last few years, I have seen friends and family after articulate planning, or desperate times, or minor tragedies. The do-drop-in became very unwelcome in my home. I used to say, “sure come in, have some coffee.” That earned me a lot of rebuke. I eventually learned to ice up when friends and family dropped by unannounced-- to pass on the body language of an upside down welcome mat. For me, the ad hoc drops in were great. People show up, have a coffee and it fills in my schedule with a bit of social mortar. Companionship doesn’t have to be regimented. When I was a kid, Dave or Tim or Danny or that kid with dirty t-shirt would show up at my door and we’d play. Somewhere in the last decade we started to organize children and sanction play dates. The play date concept permeated up to adults who had to open their Google Calendar to schedule in 90 minutes of random fun several days hence. Nature has very few straight lines and boxes; schedules are not found outside of the kin of man.
I am used to organic humans. They don’t have mute buttons, unfollow links or off-switches. They are who they are: warts, twitches and all. There are people who unfollow dear friends on Facebook to keep the connection alive but mute their friend’s persona. I cannot do that. You’re in or you’re out. In 2013, I invited my daughter’s friend’s mother to sit down for a coffee instead of urging her to flee from the home with no welcome mat. That tiny rebellion introduced me to a wonderful woman who moved from acquaintance to friend. Last winter, she moved from my friend to my love. In 2013, I started to invite friends over in spite of the hostility that came with the non-digital socialization. Being social always carried a price that I would wear before, during or after a social occasion. I tried to weather it, but I had an allergic reaction to inviting people into my life because of how much angst I would wear for saying, “C’mon over!”.
I am a cusp introvert. Social interactions cost energy, they don’t recharge me. Yet, in ideal circumstances, I will experience extroversion: social interactions will give me a boost and lift my spirits instead of drain me. After the break-up, I should have bellied up to the bar and spent a lot of my time with compassionate friends. I really craved kinship. But I couldn’t risk opening up about the break-up. It was a really big wound that actually feels like it gets bigger every time it is poked or examined. At the time I needed friends the most, I shut down. I knew I was doing it. I didn’t want to run the risk of having that wound broaden or pick-up an infection. If nothing else: open wounds are gross. So, I hid out and licked my wounds.
Three months on, I have not healed up yet, but I am healing. Or, more to the point: this is a part of the metamorphosis I have been undergoing since 2013. Butterflies cocoon themselves for several days; but my moulting is taking a couple years. I have learned a lot about myself. For example, healing is not my actual goal. Healing up would imply that I would be “well” again. I would have my life back as if nothing was amiss. I don’t want that. In 2013, I lied to myself that I wanted to go through the Rebirth and keep my wife, my life, my social circles as-is and only challenge some of my preconceptions. I remember hearing that my wife was afraid that as part of the Rebirth that I would jettison her. I loved her then. It felt really unkind to say, “Now I am Shawn DeWolfe. Now we’re through.” Nevertheless, I actually needed to do that because of the years of slammed opportunities; and the years of resentment I had built up towards her, but I didn’t do that. I tried to keep her. I tried to see her with new eyes. Even though I did, I was looking at a woman who was deceiving me. I was looking at a woman who held me back because of her fears. I was looking at a woman who made me adopt her depression and call it my own. Getting all that back isn’t healing. That would be like getting a surgeon to reattach a mangled leg that another surgeon removed the leg to save the patient.
It's time to go off of the scarcity diet.
Last updated date
Friday, September 29, 2017 - 01:50