It’s easy for me to admit now. I don’t relate well to others.(sigh) Some of it’s by design, some by default.
I have varying viewpoints on subject matter that don’t correlate with the standard norms and social conventions. It is indeed a double edged sword.
Over time, I was forced to stop my inner conflict and come to terms with this. As the days continued to drift on by, it became a pill that was easier to swallow. Because I don’t relate well, I see things differently. I experience life and what it has to offer on a different wavelength. And I can’t turn it off.
The down side to this way of life is obvious. It’s an isolationist lifestyle. Conversations with others outside my circle are attempted surface conversations only. I don’t have a large and wide option of friends. The friends I do have, however, are treasured relationships but I can count them all on one hand.
In actuality, I wouldn’t have that any other way. Simplicity and trust is essential to my complex universe.
Additional downsides include sometimes being forced to bite my tongue and keeping my opinions to myself. Watching the experiences of others from a distance or (in regards to social media) reading the experiences and dialogue of others and doing my best to not butt in (and boy have I come across a doozie or two recently). Allowing people to slowly approach but keeping them at arms length.
I’ve had to recreate solid ground to stand upon, so I had something I could stand for. Viewing trust as a reward as opposed to something that’s just given away willy nilly without taking all possible variables into consideration.
Well, Jere. That sounds really, really sad.
The upside to this life style, outweighs all possible negatives. I don’t have to pretend. I don’t have to concern myself with impressing anyone. I can be honest. For instance, I never have to consider the costs, stress and preparation of hosting a dinner party with wine, or mixed drinks, fancy appetizers and matching dinnerware to impress others around me. You come to my place to eat, we listen the 1979 Star Trek the Motion Picture LP, or Led Zeppelin while playing Risk or some dice related table top game, Phase Ten or Chess, eating pizza and chips, or Chinese Food, waiting for the brownies to finish cooking all the while sipping strong coffee. Then, it’s outside to sit on the porch and chat about things.
I can be myself without fear of reprisal or condemnation. I’m not forced to wear a multitude of hats and disguises for varying occasions depending on who I’ll be around, or where I’ll be. I can talk the way I want to talk. I don’t need to blend in, be fake, fight for attention, lie, or ever have to worry about personal hypocrisy. In fact, when I encounter hypocrisy, lairs and fakery, I want nothing more than to lash out and speak my piece.
Yet, I don’t. If someone wishes for me to intervene and speak my mind on their behalf, all they have to do is ask.
I don’t care about people’s personal opinions of me and it’s so freeing. I know who I am. I don’t need verification from outsiders. If someone doesn’t like me, it’s probably because they were force fed some negative bullshit about me, or who I am, and if that be the case I scoff with a resounding Ha!!
Or… perhaps I did give them a true blue reason to speak ill will of me or talk about me in some negative way and if that be true, then it’s something I’ll have to accept. Either way… I don’t care about the negative anymore.
In order to accomplish my goals, I’ve had to adopt this way of life. I’ve had to be honest and say no. I’ve had to ignore from time to time. I’ve had to disappoint. To bottom line it all, I’ve had to be true to me. As a wise man once told me, “You, are the only one who will always look out for you. No one else can take care of you, but you.”
Being myself has bitten me in the bum on more than one occasion, but those days are in the past and I no longer dwell. As of this moment, it’s time to focus on the future. At any and all cost. Especially in this day and age.
Living life as a part time hermit is a tricky one. It’s a never ending battle.
“Do I want to do this, that, or the other thing? I know what I have to do. What do I focus on today?”
“OK… let’s find a way to squeeze it all in.”
That’s the most rewarding thing (in my opinion) about calling the shots and being true to myself. Having long periods of time where I’m all alone and devoid of company. I get to do what I want (within reason), when I can, without ever shirking responsibilities. I can find time to manage it all without burning out. I can binge watch a few shows, play a game, chill out with my kiddo, hang out with Nancy, doodle, help others as needed, chat with my buddies, write, work the jobby job and complete my chores and never once feel as though I missed out on anything.
I’ll be honest though… it’s not always easy. Like I said, it’s a huge pill to swallow. I was always afraid of missing out on something.
Being who I am, has always conflicted with what I believed others thought I should be, or what I should be doing with my life. But at some point over the years, I stopped caring about that. At one point along the journey I snapped, had a nice long drawn out conversation with myself and realized I was allowing too many people to live in my head and it was time to clear out the clutter. The only one who belongs in my mind is me.
Talking to myself has saved my sanity on more than one occasion. Luckily, most of my internal dialogue is akin to chatting with a close friend. I know and understand my good friends for the most part and what we discuss, and I know myself, so having these little chats while I’m alone is comfortable.
“Jere, are you sure you’re not just slowly losing your marbles?”
“To be honest, I’ve never been more sure. But thanks for asking.”
I was invited to attend a function not too long ago and early on I was approached by an attendee. I was told outright through small talk with a total stranger, if I didn’t watch a specific news network, on a certain channel, I was crazy and I needed to start watching it. The rest of our uncomfortable conversation was me trying to look impressed and not bored wishing she’d leave me alone and find someone else in the room who might relate to her.
Crazy? Really? If that’s normal I don’t want sanity. I’d prefer to “lose my marbles” as it were.
“Hey! Did you catch the college game the other night?”
“Sorry. I couldn’t even tell you who played (shrug). Thanks for asking though.”
“Wow, you’re really missing out.”
I guess I’ll just have to miss out. No offense.
“Please tell me you watched the music award show last night.”
“Oh, man, sorry. I don’t watch that stuff. I don’t even know who’s popular.”
“Everyone watches it and listens to it.”
I was always running into a hurdle I couldn’t jump. Because I don’t relate to a lot of people, I don’t talk a lot. I have to force my mouth to wait a moment as I compose my thoughts before I speak them. Sometimes I have to be strategic with my conversations, especially with people I barely know.
Therefore, I enjoy talking to myself. We hash things out while washing the dishes, or cooking dinner. Shoveling snow or mowing the lawn. I don’t have these conversations out in public. Only within the walls of my home.
Five years ago, I realized Joseph Everett was that other side of me. He was me in a conjured form I still to this day can’t rectify in my mind.
I didn’t know it at the time while interacting with the old man, that it was just me arguing with myself. Figuring it all out took many trips to the “refuge” and many messes. Many situations and multiple events.
A little violence. Another devastating storm. Anger. More food. Sleeping on the ceiling and chopping trees at the end of Joe’s parking lot. Creating a duck on red paper with uncooked macaroni and glue.
Witnessing a raging inferno from afar, the flames licking the ash filled clouds above. The cleaving of continents. Mountains collapsing into the sea and tidal waves racing across the land.
Yeah… Joe’s thinking was pretty far out there. I think I spent a month visiting Mr. and Mrs. Everett. I was never sure with each time, what to expect.
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