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A Threadbare Lament - De File
Does Collecting Make You Feel Dirty?
cbertsch
cbertsch
A Threadbare Lament
Over the past year, I've felt my reservoir of words dry up with increasing frequency. That condition has been manifest on my blog, obviously, but now extends to other areas of my life. Sometimes the thought of having to converse with people I know is enough to dissuade me from going out. That's part of the reason why I'm attending fewer concerts. It's not just that my interest in music is waning -- though that has also been the case -- but that I dread the in-between spaces. I know this sounds like a pretty cut-and-dried state of depression -- it's the diagnosis I would probably offer if someone else informed me of such tendencies -- yet am not convinced that the term really fits my frame of mind.

Because I have spent so much of my adult life trying to make up for poor childhood training in social niceties, I perceive an obligation to do the work of adapting myself to others, to be public in a way that doesn't always align with my private sense of things. I think I've become reasonably good at managing to engage with people in group settings. Yet the burden of having to continue being good -- or whatever state I've attained -- seems increasingly weighty. I'm contemplating going on a long drive or hike tomorrow in the hopes of nurturing the solitude that I've been seeking in a place where it isn't imbued with the aura of dysfunction. I'm alone anyway this week, so I have the freedom to exit everyday routine for a spell without feeling guilty about it. The only thing I wonder is whether such a carefully pondered decision will achieve the same effects as a spontaneous one, like the all-night drive I made last month from Louisville to Washington D.C. Does acting on a long simmering desire for escape differ from opting to flee on a moment's notice?

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Comments
masoo From: masoo Date: March 29th, 2010 01:50 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
This would seem like a good time for an "if it feels good, do it" moment. Find the place of solitude and take it in ... be good for you.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: March 29th, 2010 03:40 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I think I will. It will have to be tomorrow, though, because I need to go to the doctor today. I think I have a sinus infection, which may explain my morose ruminations. Or not. . .
masoo From: masoo Date: March 29th, 2010 03:54 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Well, take care of yourself. I'm coming off a bizarre cold that lasted about two weeks and left me constantly tired, so I know how it is.

We're going to watch a movie with Skylar tonight!
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: March 29th, 2010 04:07 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Maybe I have the same thing. I sure have been tired.

What are you going to watch? She's so much fun to see movies with these days.
masoo From: masoo Date: March 29th, 2010 04:12 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I threw out a few titles that got narrowed to His Girl Friday or It Happened One Night. She offered to bring Gone With the Wind. I said I already had it, but I didn't know if I was up for a 4-hour movie :-). Later I tossed Gigi into the ring, although I haven't heard back about that.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: March 29th, 2010 04:26 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Oh, I'd push for It Happened One Night. I've mentioned it to her. Just remind her that the Clark Gable character was the model, to some extent, for the way he played the role of Rhett Butler.
elizabeg From: elizabeg Date: March 29th, 2010 09:28 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I second the vote for It Happened One Night if it's not too late (or too out of place) to weigh in. I think Skylar would love it--especially now. It would be fun to see Clark Gable in the screwball context. But they're all great films. I want to go rent one for next weekend!
masoo From: masoo Date: March 29th, 2010 11:29 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
We ended up watching Gigi, which she had seen and loved. I hope she loved it again, and that she didn't notice me getting all choked up for "I Remember It Well."
elizabeg From: elizabeg Date: March 30th, 2010 08:39 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Another great classic I loved but haven't seen in ages. I really do need to rent something this weekend. Or else I'll just have to dig out my garage sale VHS copy of Bringing Up Baby...
From: e4q Date: March 29th, 2010 03:49 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
might be the very thing.

driving is a lot like walking, for me. meditational. restorative.

cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: March 29th, 2010 03:42 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Ooh, I like that. I wish you were here. We could go on a long drive and see things. One nice thing -- the nicest, really -- about living in the American Southwest is that the landscape is so open and BIG to the eye that a few hours on the road can feel like a real escape.
From: e4q Date: March 30th, 2010 03:02 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
thought you might.

i do, too. flowering desert yet? maybe next year. acourse i have the popster to consider, but there is such a think as doggy passports.... i would like to do a trip that took in your bit then went all the way up california and maybe seattle, since that's the arc of most of my lj friends and some irl ones, too.
bitterlawngnome From: bitterlawngnome Date: March 29th, 2010 07:27 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I find that as I get older, I have more ability to interact successfully with people, but less inclination to do so. I wonder if this is just part of aging?
barca_k From: barca_k Date: March 29th, 2010 10:03 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Wow. That's summing it up perfectly - about the time I'd developed the social skills to get on with people, I mostly just wanted to be left alone. heh.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: March 29th, 2010 03:44 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
A sad irony!
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: March 29th, 2010 03:44 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I guess it must be. I had always assumed that my father was never very social. But now I'm wondering whether he just narrowed his circle of interaction before I was old enough to know him as anything other than the semi-recluse I grew up with.

I also wonder whether LJ and now Facebook have functioned for me -- and perhaps you -- as ways of delaying the perception of this inward turn. I interact here, though less than I once did, even when I find it very hard to interact in the "real world."
From: e4q Date: March 30th, 2010 03:03 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
i am cultivating my inner curmudgeon quietly, as i skillfully interact...
barca_k From: barca_k Date: March 29th, 2010 10:11 am (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
In my experience, the carefully pondered ones turn out differently from the spontaneous ones... not any better or worse, but different. When I make a spontaneous decision to 'get away,' I usually get an immediate pay-off - 'wow, this is exactly what I needed!' But if it's something I've considered for some time, usually it begins with me thinking 'yeah, okay, already this is a bad idea.' But that always wears off & I wind up being delighted to revel or relax in my solitude for a time. It's like I get a deeper or simply more lasting 'therapeutic' benefit from the times I've planned it, knew I needed it, had spent time looking forward to it, as opposed to those throw-my-hands-up gotta-sign-off-for-awhile spontaneous occasions.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: March 29th, 2010 03:46 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Thanks for the very thoughtful response. I'm trying now, since a sinus infection delayed my getaway plans, to make room in the next few days for a burst of spontaneity within a pre-planned structure. A compromise between the two options, if you will. I'll bring my camera.
bitterlawngnome From: bitterlawngnome Date: March 29th, 2010 04:03 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
woohoo! "antisocial networking sites"
elizabeg From: elizabeg Date: March 29th, 2010 12:23 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
I agree with masoo--do what feels good, and be good to yourself. We're all thinking of you, and already here for you whenever and however you need us.
cbertsch From: cbertsch Date: March 29th, 2010 03:46 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Thanks. I appreciate your there-ness more than I can express. And I of course return the absence presence on your behalf. . .

:-)
elizabeg From: elizabeg Date: March 29th, 2010 09:25 pm (UTC) (LINK TO SPECIFIC ENTRY)
Much appreciated, as always. I'm sorry you're suffering from a sinus infection on top of everything. Lots of rest and healing energy coming your way--
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