How do you be a loner? Like. How do you maintain relationships that inevitably require an amount of output that is inconvenient to yourself while also prioritising your own need for isolation and self-care (your own relationship with yourself) as Priority Number One?
When you’re a person who, nine times out of ten, prefers your own company to that of anyone else, how do you let your loved ones know that their demand for your company, attention, and emotional energy is draining you to the point of physical exhaustion and mental instability? How do you reconcile that with your own demands for attention from people whose company you do desire? How do you explain that out of all the interactions you’ve ever engaged in 90% of your mental capacity was devoted to meeting the expectations of the other party for fear of offending them or hurting their feelings or having to engage in an exhausting discussion about a basic difference in taste? (And because you’ve developed a survival mechanism that forces you to subconsciously mirror the people you spend time with and give them the reactions they want so that they’ll like you, but you know, how do you explain any survival mechanism developed from traumatic conditioning without sounding like you’re playing the victim and making excuses for yourself?) Why is it that, despite my not wanting to be around other people all the time, I still want to share exciting news with as many people as possible?
Would it be rude or in any way unreasonable to develop a manual to help users better understand my operating system? That way, whenever I meet a new person or come across a persistent misunderstanding with an old companion, I can simply direct them to the manual and they can learn what they’re doing wrong and determine what input I require for best operating experience. I just feel like this would help to clear up so many misconceptions about myself that I’ve never been able to articulate because I didn’t want to seem selfish or demanding, or hurt anybody’s feelings because I can’t make them understand that my wanting to be left alone has exactly nothing to do with them and everything to do with my own requirement for isolation and private reflection to “recharge my batteries”, as it were.
And this concludes my Christmas contemplations for the year. I’ve learned a little more about myself, gained something of an understanding regarding what I want from life, and am now faced with a new personal project in self-care and relationship management. When all I really wanted was cash and weed. Go figure.