Solitude, My Fortress

I don’t like people.

Crowds of people. New people. Old people and Young people. Couples, families (not just mine), adults or children alike. Just in general – people I don’t like them.

They make me feel uncomfortable, ill at ease. My skin itches and I want to make them stop looking at me, even if they may not be looking at me.

I feel like I’m obligated to interact with them, to want to be interested in their needs and desires. It’s rude to just kind of walk away from them as they’re talking or just kind of pose random questions that have nothing to do with them.

There is an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation whee data is kissing his girlfriend and she asks him what he was thinking about during that kiss.

If you don’t want to watch it – he talks about configuring a warp core, indexing the various works of Charles Dickens, how much pressure to apply to her lips without hurting her and more… I can relate to that. My mind is doing all these other things when I’m supposed to be focused on an individual or task. I don’t want to stop my brain from doing the other things it’s doing so I can focus on someone else… it’s selfish I guess.

During the brief time I was engaged I struggled pretty regularly with how much attention he expected. While I was just comforted by him being there near me and for us to communicate and have sexual relations – he wanted me to be interested in his interests and do what he was doing, regardless if I liked doing that or not. It wasn’t ideal for me.

With my two best friends, Suzanne and Eric, I find I don’t really worry about that. I just am and they are just there with me. Sometimes they talk and I participate but I don’t mind them and it doesn’t seem to interfere with what I am doing. When they met I wasn’t even aware they were meeting at the time – I was sitting by the pool with my headphones on and eyes closed. Suzanne had come to find me and sat next to me without disturbing me and then Eric came to find me and they introduced themselves without me even really having to be there. It was comforting. I honestly put my headphones back in without a care that they would be offended or want me to be part of that conversation. I love them – they are just right.

On the cruise ship we had dinner with a bunch of folks one night and were joined by a woman, who I heard was a little sloshed, and she was telling me that I was going to make so many new friends and best friends on the ship. I told her two is enough, more than enough – they call a couple times a year or I do and send emails. It’s a lot to deal with really – why would I want more of that? I don’t know. I told her as such and I was half joking but she was insistent that having more friends was such a great thing – I don’t get that.

During the muster – when we learned how to evacuate the ship in case of an emergency – we were packed pretty tight in there with the other passengers and it was taking forever. I don’t like that at all – don’t want those people to be near me breathing my air and keeping me from an exit. Always look for exits, that’s a good strategy.

Not liking people causes me some issues when I want to meet a guy.

I don’t like bars, too many people – I don’t drink and drunks can be rather annoying. I don’t like pride – way too many people. Or parties – small talk omg please no.

The trick at parties is to ask them questions and then hope they start rambling on and you can just void out of the conversation – once in a while nodding or saying “uh huh” or “hmmm” and you’ll be just fine. If you’re very lucky they catch on and will leave you alone. But that doesn’t really get you a guy.

So I talk to folks on dating apps – Growlr and the like. Many of them would like to meet me and I’ve considered meeting some of them – once in a rare while I will meet one of them out and about.

I went bowling with a nice guy – but started to feel very uncomfortable during the event and shortly after wanted him to just hurry up and bowl so I could go. Nothing to do with him, just wanted to crawl out of my skin and hide somewhere safe.

Mostly on the app I don’t want to meet them, I would rather stay home and not deal with another human being. So I take long breaks off the app and/or men 🙂 Probably not very good for the psyche.

A friend will invite me over, say to meet her new puppy, and I’ll agree to go, but getting to that point when it’s actually time is the difficult part. I start dreading going days before the agreed upon time and wonder if there is anything I can do to get out of it. I don’t like lying so it’s hard to find legitimate reasons to not do things others want me to do.

While in AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) I learned skills to deal with people alone and in small and large groups. Shake their hand, ask how they are, try to listen. In groups stay busy – have a job you can focus on and think about – has it been done properly, was there something else that needed doing with that? It gave me a reason/excuse to get away from people too – I either had to shake someone else’s hand or a task needed doing so I could excuse myself – supposedly without hurting their feelings.

Sponsee’s were another matter entirely – It’s your job as a sponsor to listen to them and listen intently so you can help them find a solution. Ugh. That’s like the worst thing in the world to do to me. I never thought I was a good sponsor – I just wanted them to get better so they could go do things and talk to me less… yes, that’s my goal in AA, talk to me less.

Work is similar to AA. I have certain tasks to do, I can stay very busy and focus on those things without too much interaction with people. But they usually think I’m a good trainer or something and then I have people to teach and manage. Those people ask me questions – sometimes annoying questions they should know the answer to already and I just want to scream out loud and send them all scurrying away.

They don’t fear me, they know I’m usually patient and have an answer they’re looking for. Today one of them came up asked me a question, answered his own question and then asked if that was ok… honestly that was annoying, I likely could have done so many other things during that time.

Employees are akin to sponsee’s I just want them to get better so they can go do things and talk to me less. If they talk to me less I can work more and that keeps me from realizing all the people that keep interacting with me each day.

Work though gives me things to do to keep me focused. I feel comfortable there as it’s an every day thing and I know what to expect (usually).

Truthfully, I feel comfortable and safe in my bedroom. If I have to venture out I try to arrange it so I encounter as few people as possible and can return home experiencing minimal interactions.

Tonight though I drove to the middle of the city to attend the semi-final game for the high school girls basketball team I like – Mesquite Wildcats! I sat comfortably in the stand, surrounded by a couple friends and a bunch of folks I don’t know and was fine. I was focused on the team and how they play.

There I’m comfortable too. But still happy to be home in my room this evening.

Originally published on Niume – same day.

Now I’m 46

Another year has come and gone – this one seemed to go by very quickly for me. I had a lot going on, many changes began here and continued.

I left Alcoholics Anonymous

It was a while in the making. I finally saw the inner workings of the service side of AA, what I assumed would be the most spiritual was the most sick I guess. It seemed all anyone wanted was what they wanted, not what was best for AA as a whole. So to me I had lost a second part of the triangle, the one I believed in most – Service. Between that and the “fake it til you make it” dishonesty in an honesty program. I’m really an atheist and cannot swallow what others do in its entirety. Don’t miss it, gives me lots of free time and less to be resentful at. I did go to a meeting with Flo when I was in Albuquerque but that was for him, I was just along. No one from AA has really reached out to me asking me about it – some have said they want to leave too, so that’s interesting. Continue reading

Puzzle

For Christmas one year I was given a Hershey’s Kiss 3D puzzle and another puzzle. The Hershey’s Kiss puzzle was little plastic chocolate colored pieces with pegs and holes… it didn’t have many pieces so I solved it quickly and wondered what possessed my mother to buy me a puzzle.

It occurred to me that it was likely someone providing gifts to needy children. Mom wanted us to have a good Christmas so she signed us up for a charity. That was rather forward thinking of her – she was very self centered.

The other puzzle I can’t remember except it was solved easily too – a chain comes to mind. Soon I was finished with my Christmas presents and wondered what I’d do now for entertainment.

Continue reading

Vegas with Zanne

I used 4 hours of vacation time on Friday so I could drive up to Las Vegas and see Suzanne.

It’s nice to get away from the office – weird things going on there. I think I finally figured out what they’re trying to accomplish – doesn’t make a damn bit of sense but I don’t think I care anymore – that’s a good indicator that you should get away from the office. (deleted the rest of this paragraph for self preservation) Continue reading

Got Trust?

A few years back a psychologist helped me come to a conclusion on love – it has to be earned. No one gets a default feeling of love just because they are related to you, know you or were nice to you once in passing.

I loved the idea of my mother – a woman who cared for me, loved me, made sure my needs were met. I didn’t really have that, but was stuck on an idea of obligation of loving her because she birthed me. Truthfully, she only loved me when she needed something – attention, pity, affection or my social security number when her credit wore through.

Loving someone who doesn’t love you back, is using or manipulating you… not really a winning game. The same is true of trust and respect. Continue reading

Damaged Goods

I’ve talked a bit about EMDR therapy and today during therapy I cried… not bawling, just some tears. I can manage to hold back and just let tears fall, if I could stop that I would.

EMDR stands for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. We focus on the trauma and then either move your eyes or have other stimulation that uses both sides of your brain… I’m not describing it well here. ugh. Continue reading

Songs Tied to Memories

In the car today the song New York, New York came on. It’s on my iTunes account as part of a Frank Sinatra greatest hits album. I love Frank, he can really get me singing along with songs. New York, New York though brings up a childhood memory that I can’t let go of. So I hit skip.

I was relatively new to a school district, I think in Florida. I had garnered all the attention for a few days. It was pleasant to have the attention, fear and distrust of others focused on me. (I seek attention in all its forms) But just a few days into my new school another new kid came to the school. I don’t even remember his name. When the teacher introduced him to the class she made a big deal about him having been to Broadway and singing on stage. For me, all she did was say “this is James, he’s new here”. Continue reading

Random Memories

I cried the first night at the foster home.

I had been picked up by the police the Friday before, spent the weekend in a group home and then the day with a social worker before arriving. No tears during all of that but that night in own room of the new foster home I cried. Maybe it had finally sunk in that everything I had done that led me to this place all caught up to me, there was no where else to go.

I hadn’t ever faced consequences of any kind prior to this – not skipping school, smoking or drinking, stealing and vandalism never brought me any time. Until this time… until the one time myself or a friend had the “clever” idea to take the hinges off the locked door. I still believe that had we only taken the time to put the door back on the hinges I would have never been caught. Interesting that that’s the thought that still comes even after 30 years. Continue reading

Unity.. no thanks, I have plans

I don’t like people. (I frequently say “hate” which might be a strong word)

I’ve said that a million times before and it’s still true. One of my bosses says that too – I tell him he doesn’t because he’s so nice to everyone, but he insists that he does. Probably why I like him so much. I guess you could say I’m something of an introvert – I would rather spend time alone than in a group setting. My “fun” time is at home with a good book, writing or watching some TV. I find it very difficult to have “fun” in a group of people… can’t do it.  Continue reading

Rescued #fosterhome

It’s National Foster Care month and I’m an advocate of people becoming foster parents and even of kids joining the system when the situation warrants it. Not every parent, household or family is a safe place for a kid – but you could make a difference in a kid’s life just by offering stability, food, & shelter.

I write about this a lot – not just during this month but during the regular course of year when I reflect on being saved, rescued from a certain path. The only poem I’ve ever written that mattered to me is here:

foster home Continue reading