Isolating Feels Good Until It Doesn’t

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been in major loner isolation mode.

At first, it felt good.  It was nice to go home after work and relax.  I liked saying no to invitations.

It seemed like self-care to go on long walks with no one to answer to.  I enjoyed getting a morning croissant by myself and eating it alone in the park.

Then, people start wondering what’s wrong.  They start worrying about you.  But nothing’s wrong; you’re just enjoying your own time.

But are you?

Even now, sometimes I am still scared to connect with people.

There’s a fine line between isolation and spending quality time by yourself.  For me, I just realized it may be becoming a problem when I feel anxiety about responding to people who care about me.

But lately, I’ve just needed a break.  To reset.  To recharge.  To decompress.

But now that I’ve recharged, I feel a little bit empty.

That discontent feeling I now have is a sign that I need more balance.  My alone time is important to me, but connecting with others is important too.  Sometimes I forget that it isn’t all about me, either- sometimes other people need help.  They care about me.  They miss me.

Sometimes it’s still hard for me to accept that.

For years it seemed easier to try to do everything on my own, so letting other people in is a big change for me.  It’s uncomfortable.  But, I’m working on it.

This week, my goal is to break out of my shell a bit more- and maybe even go get a croissant with another person.

Creators Create

Over the weekend I did one of my favorite things- I took myself to a movie.  Solo.

Solitary adventures are one of my most treasured pastimes.  Not only do I have the opportunity to recharge my introvert self, I gain an immense amount of inspiration from mindfully roaming through the city, finding new hidden gems, and taking in the beauty around me.

I went to go to “Where’d You Go Bernadette,” partially due to my love for Cate Blanchett.  I seem to be one of the few who didn’t read the book, but I went in intuitively know I’d enjoy the film.

As I watched a fellow introvert self destruct, I realized an important message:

Creators are meant to create.

I remembered that not only is my precious solo time beneficial to maintaining my energy, it’s crucial to my creations.

With each photo I take, piece I write, and lesson I learn, my creations are keeping me sane.  They’re keeping me grounded.  They’re keeping me connected.

Sharing what I see and what I have learned with the world keeps me going.  Being able to carry a message to another person or using my own experience as wisdom or lessons for others is a purpose I know I was meant to fill.  Self destruction is inevitable when one doesn’t feel a sense of purpose, passion, or belonging- so I am glad to be reminded to live beautifully and create each and every day.

Sober Vegetarian Cat Person

Dating is a funny thing.

Dating is awkward as it is, but it’s even more awkward when you’re sober.  I used to drown my discomfort in a glass of wine, telling stories my date couldn’t follow, but since moving to Boston in 2016, I’ve barely dated at all.

Well, compared to when I lived in New York City, that is.

Sure, I’ve met people in various ways- traveling back from NYC on the Megabus, substitute teaching, through recovery circles, and on an app here and there.  Each interaction lasted for a very short while, most likely because I detected their bullshit and realized I was something much different than what they created in their mind.

Next.

This morning I noticed that The Fix quoted me in their recent article, “Are You Ready To Date Sober?”  Ironically, I’ve been thinking about that question a lot lately.

My default answer the past year or so has been “I’m not interested in dating anyone at all.”  That’s actually not true, though.  I would be interested in dating someone- but only if they were interested in a sober vegetarian cat person.

I’m done with pretending I am someone I am not.

I’m also done with changing for someone, switching my views, or doing things I’m uncomfortable with doing- and I’m certainly not going to pick up a drink just to make you feel more comfortable.

Part of recovery is learning to love and accept yourself for who you are- loving yourself for what your heart says, not the world around you.  Despite being someone who prefers to stay in on a Friday night, sautéing up vegetables while drinking a seltzer, I’m confident there’s a lid to every pot…

and mine will be here when I’m ready.