The party season is on. And I haven’t felt more isolated than this, right here, right now.
Over the last two years or so, I’ve spent a lot of time examining people. My friends, family, total strangers - no one has been free of this scrutiny. And simultaneously, I’ve held myself under a microscope - my motivations, desires, needs, etc. I have done this because I believed in an ideology - the possibility of freedom - and in its achievability. At the end of this year, I find myself up against a wall that has come up between me and that vision, a wall that just doesn’t show any indication of moving. As a result, I find myself stuck inside this rather large but pretty solo existence, cut off from the people out there, unable to really connect. An alien in a land I used to inhabit.
It’s quite lonely. What’s worse is that I see the people around me and I find myself not really WANTING to connect with them. The terrible part is that while normally, I'm the one who decides when I get to switch off and switch on, this time I feel helpless and out of my depth. Truthfully, I’d like nothing better than to be able to have a few laughs, to dance like no one’s watching, to use the sassy turn of phrase that’s my “move” at parties - but that Alien in my head just won’t shut up. It’s constantly saying things like “Really? You really want to know who he is? Do his torn denim pants intrigue you, or is it the fact that the 1990s seem to be back and making a home in his wardrobe?” That alien is also mean!
Then I yo-yo to the “meaningful" ideological side of the conversation - the kind of stuff that has been my jam lately - and even there, the minute I hear someone utter the words like “You must follow your dreams”, I want to projectile vomit into an expensive dinner bowl being carried by someone wearing an expensive Vera Wang dress in an expensive home filled with expensive curios.
When I look for comfort in the arms of an ex-lover, I can almost feel my skin peeling off my bones as the Alien says, “Really? Him? All these years of living and it’s him??” While one ex says, “Come over, let me cook you dinner” and the other says, “I’ve always wanted to find out what it would have been like if we had actually gotten together for real”, all I want to say, while desperately trying to keep my skin in place, is “Not you."
It’s like I’m going through a phase of checking the Not Applicable box in a survey that asks impossible questions like “What do you really want?” and “What are you good at?” and “Who are your people?” Somedays, as I stare at the wall in front of my bed, covered with drawings I’ve done in crayon, and I feel that if I could just lie there forever, not answer the phone or the door and just dissolve into air, a little at a time, until at the end of the day, there's nothing left of me, wouldn’t that be a good thing.
My friend told me that I'm being too maudlin these days. But I can't seem to shake off this feeling. I go to a party, or to a quiet dinner and I see the people around me and they all look like they’re pretending. Pretending to be happy or satisfied or interested or creative or chirpy or important or happy… like everyone is wearing a mask that allows just the most superficial interactions before alarm bells go off. And the thing is, I’m almost grateful for the masks. It means then that I don’t have to deal with the really scary stuff the masks are hiding.
Because if the masks slip, we’ll see that we are in truth, total and utter savages, with no real love or affection for anything else except ourselves. Or that we’re just non-existent grey limbo and all this introspection and navel gazing and life-examining is pure shit. Maybe that will be a relief.
Because right now, I’m just exhausted being me.