Stories Pt. 3

I am extremely late in sitting down and beginning this post. My sister is getting married this weekend so I’ve been racing around trying to pack and prepare. I’m one of those people who has to pack “just in case” clothes and shoes.  It may be cold at the restaurant so better pack some long jeans just in case.  Maybe they want to do fancy dinner so I should pack a fancy shirt just in case.  That plan sort of backfired when I couldn’t fit my suitcase in my brother’s trunk so my just in case supplies dwindled to “just enough.” I also haven’t had time to read anymore of “A Million Miles in a Thousand Years” so I’m going to go off the top of my head with some thoughts I had last night.

My last post was about characters and character development.  Well, it was partly about that. I tend to veer off the path quite frequently so it turns into a smorgasbord of random corny jokes.  While I was waiting to drift off to sleep I thought about how Donald wrote about experiencing life and when he was writing about it he sorta pointed out that a life story tends to be better when there are multiple characters.  As I have gotten older and I am no longer in school I find myself being alone more.  I still speak with my friends, but I don’t make a conscious effort to spend time with them or visit them.  The friends who are also my coworkers see and spend time with me, but only during the work day.  So I’ve realized that I’m just a bit of a loner.  I do not really go through periods of loneliness but this is mostly due to the fact that I do not feel like I can open myself to those around me.  But whenever I feel lonely it’s an intensely acute loneliness. It’s almost a physical sort of loneliness. I’m the type of person who is more likely to confide in a stranger than a friend because a friend already has a fixed conception about me whereas a complete stranger wouldn’t know me from Sally Sue the Seamstress so their perception of me wouldn’t change.  They may go home and tell their spouses, “Ya know, I talked to a really crazy girl in Wal-Mart today who told me that she likes to eat viennas with hot sauce,” but a year from now they likely wouldn’t recall anything about me.

There are only four girls on my mother’s side of the family: my sister, my two cousins, and myself.  With the age difference between myself and the other three girls I was more likely to hang with my male cousins who were around the same age.  As a result I am not very close with the other females in my family.  While the girls tended to be a trio, I just hung out with my brother/cousins. Aside from that my male cousins all lived out of town so I was left to my own devices most of the time. This kind of turned out to be to my advantage because it never failed that the trio would fall victim to drama within their rank.  If two were getting along, the remaining one would be on the out and out.  As they have grown older this STILL has not changed.  I find out things about one from another that I am one thousand percent sure I would never find out from the one. Like, really guys?  It’s not even that serious. If someone hasn’t told me something they probably do not want me to know so I don’t feel comfortable with anyone else telling me outside information.  I have just gotten to the point where I am complacent with being cool with them, but never close.  I prefer to keep the details of my life to myself.  It’s best not to tell someone anything once you have established them as a grapevine unless you want the whole vineyard to know. Now I look at everyone in the light of “nope, can’t trust em!”  On top of that, depression/anxiety makes me feel like absolutely none of my peers understand me.  Some of my acquaintances talk about people who self harm in a condescending manner.  It’s like “How can they be that stupid? Why would you ever?” And I’m over in the corner like, “Uhhhh hello. I just burned myself with a fork for pressure relief last week.”  It’s a very uncomfortable position.  I either exclude myself or I push others away as a means to protect myself.  Now I’m 23/24 and my friend list has plummeted. I’m attempting to write a good story with one character which will not work.

Have you ever read a book or seen a movie with one sole character? I Am Legend doesn’t count because…it just doesn’t count. Don’t ask me why.  But most stories you see and hear involve other people.  It’s funny that I float through life alone but I have the absolute belief that we are designed to enjoy companionship.  People don’t mind being alone but no one wants to feel lonely.  I read a quote somewhere that basically said that the only reason people enjoy being alone is because they have tried companionship but it has failed. That’s the paraphrased version. I never write down the literal version because that would be too much like right.  As kids we look for friends with common likes/dislikes.  We may not have a clique, but we have at least one sole partner in crime.  Many of us look for significant others and feel like the odd man out when we go through prolonged periods of time without one.  We like other people’s approval and opinion.  We desire commonality with those around us, and we feel frustrated when we never experience a personal connection. Maybe I’ve just been socialized to think that. You may feel perfectly content with being alone until you get crows feet and your nipples touch your knee caps. But a story is more likely to spark our interest if it has multiple people. So why do so many of us attempt to live ours out with the characters Me, Myself, and I?

Unfortunately, every character in your story may not be great. In fact, some of them may be downright terrible.  They can be hateful, abusive, and destructive.  These are not the characters that we want, but that we are often warranted.  It’s perfectly fine to write these characters out of your story.  It can also be possible that it’s NOT possible to write them out.  Sometimes this character is your parent, your child, your boss, etc.  It’s important to know that they don’t have to rule your story.  It sounds selfish to say it but it remains true: your story is about you. This doesn’t mean that it’s ALL about you, but it is about you. It’s about your purpose, your growth, your journey, your happiness, your health. If you build your story around those around you then you’ll end up writing yourself out.  It’s all about balance; checks and balances.  Thanks, Mrs. Walters. I may not remember 90% of what you said in US Government but I do remember that. In fact, I’m not even sure if your name really is Mrs. Walters….but you’re probably never going to read this so that’s beside the point…..Do not compromise yourself and your well being for someone else. If you have no choice but to be around someone who isn’t the best for you, try to limit the interaction. If you have to take care of an elderly parent and you are burned out, take a break.  If you are a single parent and your kids run your life, take a break.  It’s okay to take a break. It’s important to take a break.

Companionship is important, but it’s also difficult to find.  As we age, our social circles shrink.  We aren’t in class with these people anymore so we don’t see them everyday.  Our personal lives are time and attention consuming so we have less to extend to our peers.  We grow more and more isolated. Try not to stay isolated.  Go out with a coworker or old friend.  Make a play date with another mom/dad.  Download Pokemon Go and join a team. There are bound to be some other trainers at the park or the store that you can talk to. You’ve already got something in common.  It may be hard and uncomfortable but it’s a good investment with a great return.  I’m not going to offer that advice without taking it.  I’m also going to try to socialize more. I just can’t imagine growing old with a house full of cats. I don’t even like cats. They’re too sneaky. I’d probably get a bunch of tamagotchis and raise little alien children. Let me not even say that…..

Anyway this post was extremely boring, but I have to write something because if I don’t…then….I won’t…. Yea. That made total sense. Til tomorrow when I shall be writing from ye ole Florida.

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