…number 1, perhaps
There is so much comfort in isolation. In loneliness and the unknown. There is a lot of sadness, too, but if I am to analyse this, I’d say it is worth it.
Life is the stories we tell to ourselves in our head. We are such a unique and wonderful manifestation of the Universe, that every story in our head is also fascinating, vibrant, captivating… and unique. Every story we tell about and to ourselves, consciously and unconsciously, is unique. It is our unique normal.
This is wonderful and truly terrifying, too. Because we all talk about “normal” and “reality” and “real“, as if these were concrete, proven certainties that everyone knows or should know, but they are not. Your normal is not my normal. Your reality is not mine. When there is dissonance – and there is almost always dissonance – trauma works against the traumatized, since we learned how to question and doubt our reasoning. So your reality trumps mine. Your normal becomes the normal I force myself to understand. This is the sad part.
What this isolation, loneliness does to me is give me ample time to contemplate and analyze my reality and its uniqueness. I do not get along with my family, and if I am to count how many people I interact with during these wretched times, I’d have my proof that I have, indeed, very, very few friends. I am largely left with myself.
Surprisingly, I learn that I don’t dislike my loneliness. I am on a quest of befriending myself and this isolation, coupled with the fact that I stay in touch with very few people and truly Speak with even less, gives me the chance to do just that. To befriend myself. To have long, ample conversations with me about what drives me, what makes me happy, what hurts me, what I aspire to and need help with, and much more.
So here is a list of stuff I’ve done/ I am a little proud of since the covid crisis. I’m writing this to future me, because I have a hope we are going to become very good friends, me and I. So this is a gift as well as a reminder.
I continued therapy even though I cry almost every time during and after it. I cry because I offered myself an opportunity to finally, truly say what is on my soul, and what hurts me, and it is very painful. I lived most of my life teaching myself to find strength in ignoring, forgetting, not thinking about my pain. In being very harsh with myself for suffering. But I’ve been through a lot and I coped with it by making myself responsible because this way, I could be in some control. I could have some justification. I could ignore or better yet, control my fear and anger.
Today in therapy I learned that I didn’t receive love, nor do I know how, but I also did not GIVE love, successfully. My love was not successfully received. It was just received, and then expected, and then punished, but never acknowledged. Example: Mom, Dad, the reason I called you everyday since the covind crisis started is because I genuinely care about you and I just wanted to know you are OK. You did very little effort to raise or care for me, so me loving you is not something you can force me to do, or are entitled to even though you always told me this is the Normal I should accommodate, or else I will suffer your wrath. But I do love you, which is why I started to call you every day. Instead of appreciating my calls, you started to become angry for not calling you enough, and failing to call you one day. This really hurt me. I wish you would have realized what I am trying to do and appreciate it.
I stopped smoking, again and alone, despite all odds, and for good. I like to attribute this to reading Carr’s Easyway, but I knew about this book for a long time and I also watch my smoker boyfriend *not* reading it, despite claiming that he wants to quit eventually. The evidence tells me that I did have a strong part in me quitting, and it is ok to be proud of this. The idea of being proud of myself is new and feels weird to me.
I walked over 10k steps most days, and discovered gorgeous places that give me a ton of joy. Most of the times I allowed myself to Notice. I love to walk, be with myself and Notice. I always did, until Sebi turned walking into a competitive sport and made me shift my focus from enjoying walks to questioning whether I am fast enough to burn enough calories in these walks. I started to walk in Sweden because I fell in love with my surroundings and wanted to Notice. My walks gave me love for a ton of magical places that I dearly miss now. But I know they are there, waiting for me always, and I also learned the skill of Discovering new places I can let my imagination run wild in and fall in love with.
I worked out 6 times per week for two weeks in a row, AND early in the morning, too! I woke up before 7am to do that. I love working out! It makes me happy. Sometimes, its hard to motivate myself to start, but it is always, always rewarding to workout. I love to feel my body moving, its muscles and strength and ability. What an amazing creation! I never thought about my body as Able, until I moved to Sweden. Movement was something my parents taught me to avoid. I believe I learned a bias that made Strength and Wisdom an either/ or. But the way I feel now taught me otherwise. I now feel more intelligently capable when I work out.
I will not walk my 10k steps or work out for a bit because I am sick now. I hope I’m having surgery the day after tomorrow. I am in pain. My persistent hidrosadenitis acts up and while its not in any way a great danger to my health, its an ugly annoying thing that causes fever and complications. I am harsh on myself, but my doc appointment is in a little less than 35 hours – I don’t need to endure a frustrated and critical me that long. Everything passes.
I’d like to be my friend enough to list work related personal accomplishments. But I am not there yet. Work is a constant gratitude where whatever happens is a factor of luck, and boy have I been lucky. I contemplate this luck every day. I am surrounded by people I admire immensely, who are there to help build a dream gamedev studio. I get dream clients and a leeway to test out utopian ideas. So every day is a reward, no matter how much I suffer, compromise, bow or struggle. I can asses the fluctuations of my happiness levels work wise, but I rarely dare to even speak about it because the worst of it, the lowest level, is more than I imagined I would ever experience and enjoy.