It’s important to me you know that I know I’m being self-absorbed. That I think I have something to say you might be interested in. I googled “narcissism.” Now, I know the difference—narcissist think they are more important than everyone else. I don’t think I’m more important than you. I’m curious about my own thoughts, emotions, and the capacity of my interest.
I’ve been told multiple times this week I “owe” myself this experience of being alone, single, in solitude, deepening my understanding of myself, refining, considering my point-of-view, and "doing whatever I want".
The qualities I’m showing are bad, right now.
I can’t stop thinking about who I am and what I'm thinking. I’m too honest, even with strangers. I’ll share facts or experiences with anyone; part of telling you solidifies the story for me. I’m into things you’re unaware of; it makes me feel like I’m unreachable. I ask a lot of questions, and your answers matter. You will have to try to impress me. Must be ok with sarcasm, snark, and feminism. I must tell you, before you ask—I’m not interested in biking, hiking, stand-up paddle boarding, kick-ball, running, going to the gym to lift, or any other activity you think I need to know you participate it in attempt to make yourself more interesting. Or, the opposite happens—because I like reading, podcasts, and plants, I’m a “good egg.” The answers on your profile are suppose to excite me enough to prompt a chat, gain my interest, and invite questions. I ask too many questions for this context. I’ve learned I’m expected to show excitement and do the heavy lifting in making conversation. None of this is valuable, or good. I don’t want a fabricated connection over an in-app chat. My mind changes quickly, and not many can keep up with my thought pattern. Messaging isn’t the form for my quiet jokes. I’m extremely self-aware, perhaps too much. I’m aware when I have the upper hand in the conversation—“what was your favorite book you read last year?” You never reply back.
When you ask me questions, I answer honestly. My “fun weekend plans” include the same activities I do most weekends. I wake up early and attend a workout class each morning. I go to my coffee shop. I have favorite seats, a regular drink, I know everyone’s name, I know what the sound levels are like, the random music each barista could play on any given day, I have friends to momentarily distract me. I don’t have to consider the possibility of an uncomfortable chair or barstool, the possibility of bad iced coffee, or the possible distraction of tourist yelling at each other about how cool this place is. Knowing all of this comforts me; it frees my mind and allows me to focus. In the afternoon, I’ll read, swim with friends, or clean. At night, I’m unsure. I’m trying to be more spontaneous. Regardless, there is little room here for interest in another person (outside of friendships). I want to keep it that way. This allows me the freedom of paying attention to my own thoughts. I write them down, look at them later and consider if it’s trash or important.
This week I learned it is named “Frito Pie,” not as I was saying, “Frito chili pie.” I asked at least five people. Chili is understood as a key ingredient, and doesn’t need to be in the name.
Please do not show your interest in my writing—“You have the writing of a scribe.” “I’d love to support you in that.”
I don’t want to participate in any of this experience, the game or the story.
Friends encourage me to explore other coffee shops, meet new people, enjoy another side of town. This is advice seems applicable for someone trying to meet someone and experience a new life. I’ve found joy in tracing over the lines of the person who has been a light blur before now. My time, interest, excitement, mental and emotional energy should be focused on her. I’m sharpening who already exists.
This week I was told I am hostile, have too high standards for others, and too high standards for myself that I’m not living up to, which is probably why I’m sad. He went one step further to tell me I should see a therapist, and I’m not that interesting.
“Not hostile,” I replied. “I’m just claiming it (this goal I have) as something for myself for once. Not for the pleasure, approval, or support from anyone else. You have no idea what my history with writing is, the support I’ve been given, or lack of. I’m claiming this goal as something for me.”
(Telling someone you don’t want to be friends is a powerful thing. Be honest about your perspective and kind with your words. The reaction will solidify your decision.)
I don’t want to be asked, “what do you do?”
Monday night, near midnight, I sliced a piece of bristol paper into 3 x 5 cards. I taped this phrase I rewrite often over my desk—“The stakes couldn’t be lower.”
It’s the only thing that moves me enough to hit “send now”. Not even positive feedback from friends helps, whether they’re being genuinely supportive or are curious and ready to judge. The idea of the internet’s impermanence helps. Anything can be deleted and forgotten at any time. Writing on the internet has changed since I was absentmindedly posting teenage emotions onto Xanga, MySpace, WordPress, and Tumblr. In my late twenties, I crave the same aimlessness vulnerability. Writing whatever I want, rereading it once through, pushing ‘post.’ I want it to feel as reckless as deciding to drink a second cup of iced coffee at 1 p.m.—I turned to my friend next to me at the bar, said "fuck it" and hopped off my bar stool to get back in line.
The fact is the stakes are higher now. People could judge me, and I’m afraid of it. People talk shit behind their screens, or out loud to others. They could make assumptions about me, my state of being. Anyone could think I’m unintelligible, lonely, hostile, jaded, or boring.
I ruminate every day at 6:30 a.m. Light sneaks through the slivers of my blinds into my studio and I have a hand clasped around coffee. I attempt to edit. This is imperfect. I'm asking myself what is important right now and why you might care.
The studio feels like home this week.
Things I learned this week (in addition to “Frito pie”):
A pint of vegan Chocolate Chocolate ice-cream is very close to the same price as a bottle of rose from the corner convenient store. Ice-cream is sugar; vegan chocolate ice-scream will always taste the same. Wine is alcohol; wine will always taste different. Buy the wine.
If you want to go to a show, a movie, or event, buy two tickets and find a friend later. Otherwise, the show will sell out and you will be bummed. But! This is a good opportunity to go bed early, which I should do more often.
The common standard is that you can invite someone to hang out up to three times before it gets weird.