Strange feeling

For quite some time now I’ve been leaving Monday night band practice with a strange feeling.  I’m not really sure what it is.  I can best describe it as Disappointment.  I’m not sure what I’m disappointed with though.  Is it the rehearsal?  Is it myself?  Maybe it’s not even disappointment. I don’t know.

I just feel like getting out of there right away without talking to anyone when it ends.  I then wish I had never gone.  It doesn’t make sense because I enjoy playing music.  I enjoy playing with a group of people.  It’s a special experience musically.

I hate to bring up the idea, but maybe it is the shallowness of the social experience.  I get little to no feedback from the director so I don’t even know where I stand.  I’m either a crappy oboe player or a musical genius.   I feel like a hack and I probably am.  Fortunately most of us in a community band are but you kind of want to feel like you are someone special who matters.  I’ve considered just not showing up to see if anyone cares.  Maybe it’s a good thing because I’ll have to give it up when I move out of town.  It might be easier to let go if I’m not satisfied.

I also still have a problem with being social.  Forever an issue, I spend the break standing alone drinking some water and wishing for rehearsal to resume.   Sometimes I’ll speak with someone but small talk is not very fulfilling.

I don’t know.  It’s just the world I live in.  It is as it is.   Let it be.

I guess as long as they aren’t telling me to get the fuck out then I’m contributing well enough.  We’ll go with no news is good news.  Yeah.  Let’s go with that.

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I think he could see me

I’ve been spending the memorial day weekend working on painting the garage.  Yeah, maybe not an optimal use of a three day weekend but I can’t think of anywhere I would rather be.

I had a weird experience the other day at Home Depot.  I went up to the paint counter after picking out the color I wanted.  An older man asked if he could help me.  I handed him the sample and told him what I wanted.  He gave me a very strange look.  I gave my standard smile to show that I was alive and friendly.  He went to work on mixing the paint.  A few more times he looked at me strangely before handing me my gallon of Antique White.  He didn’t smile.  It was more of freaked out glance.  He barely spoke.

It was like he saw something weird.  It was almost as if he could see what I actually am.  Nobody’s ever seen my true form.  To regular people, I’m invisible.  To those in the service field, I look like a normal human.  This guy seemed to have the power to see through my disguise.  I’m not used to that.  It kind of freaked me out.  I don’t think I’ll buy my paint there anymore.

 

Better now

Sleep is often the best cure.  I went to bed last night at 7:30 and slept hard for 11 hours.  I finally felt somewhat refreshed.  It doesn’t help to have to push yourself so much that you lack sleep.  It keeps you from thinking clearly.  Soon I will leave my 8:30-5:30 job behind and time will do as I please.

I got over this incident fairly well thanks to the lessons I’ve learned in the past.  Remembering them is always the problem.  One of the primary lessons is to notice that your thoughts are in control.  Control your thoughts and you will be in control.  Sometimes you need to let it out though.  Repressing thoughts can only be done for so long before it builds up to explosive levels. Google Mindfulness.  It’s not an easy technique but it is very powerful.

If the problem is chronic like loneliness due to invisibility, thoughts are not the solution, only a band-aid.  However you have to use the tools you have on hand.

Fortunately I have things to look forward to like my new land purchase, retirement and house construction.  It helps a lot to have a purpose and goal.  I think my personal social life may best begin after I move to my small town destination.  People are friendlier in a small town and I feel confident that I will have time and motivation at that point to find someone to share some my life with.  Working full time really takes it out of you.  I don’t know how the regular people do it.

Big shout out to Phillip in the UK who wrote to me about being in the same boat.  Wish you were here, Phillip. (Or I was there.)  A boat full of people is not a lonely place. (Unless you count the last cruise I went on.  Bunch of ignorers.)  Hang in there.  Our time has to come eventually.  Right?  Surely.  A wise man one said, “Patience you must have.”  I certainly hope he was right.

Later today:

I’m feeling much better now.  Perhaps it was just being around people at work to help one not feel lonely.  I may be in trouble when I retire in this respect.  Fortunately there are other ways of being around others.  I will still get a part time job to help fill the lonely hours and there’s also volunteering at places.  I just have to make sure I don’t end up sitting at home alone with a gun in my mouth.  Nah. Never happen.  I’ll never own a gun.

 

Letting go of bad friends

Sometimes you just have to let go of things that are bad for you.  Today I decided to let go of an old friend.  I met her many years ago on Craigslist.  We were looking for dive buddies.  We’ve done a lot of diving and other traveling over the years.  I would consider it having been a very good time.

It’s really a shame because I’ve never met someone who was so similar to me in so many ways.  In an alternate universe we would have been amazing friends.  She is virtually the perfect friend for me.  The only problem was that she is very difficult to get ahold of.  She has been very depressed because her life has not gone too well.  She hates her job but has to stick it out because she has a rare pension plan.  Her mom is also sickly and living with her.  These things are no doubt depressing.

I’m not so cold that I don’t care and have done my best to offer my ear to her trouble and my assistance many times.  She doesn’t return my emails or texts so I can only conclude that she has no interest in my company.  I’ve tried as best as a socially inept person can over the years.  There comes a point where you just have to give up.

I wrote her one last email today briefly expressing that I understood and will respect her wishes. I will always be here for her.  She could contact me in the future if she ever wanted to.

It’s probably better for both of us.  I won’t be bothering her anymore and now I can let go and move on.  When it comes to friends, I have a fault of being a faithful friend.  Having too many of them dilutes their value.  Now I am free to look for another and stop waiting for something that isn’t coming.

I have no idea how.  Perhaps Craigslist again.   Maybe not.  I’m pretty sure my destiny is to just die alone.  It’s a strong destiny that may be too powerful for me to battle.  I think I will just continue to complain about being lonely.  It’s what I do best.  I’m hoping for a fresh start when I retire and move next year.  Time will tell.

 

How American Masculinity Creates Lonely Men

I just heard something incredible on my trip home today. One of the podcasts I listen to in order to pass the time on the long commute is “Hidden Brain” from NPR.

It’s a podcast covering psychological issues in today’s world.  Today’s subject was Lonely Men.  Something I am all to familiar with.

Studies find that American men are shackled by masculinity rules that often result in loneliness.  I guarantee this is a thing.  Even children indicate that they are expected to act in certain ways that prevent the forming of friendly relationships.  This problem continues to become a stigma in which single middle-aged men even find themselves poorly judging others in the same situation.  Studies also find that lonely men have a shorter life expectancy.

Personally, I’m excited to see that it is not just me.  I thought there was something wrong with me when it is actually a sociological issue.

If you are a boy or man struggling with loneliness, you have to listen to this short podcast episode.  You are not alone. (No pun intended.)

Somehow the American way has become more socially isolated.  This is bad. Make it stop.  I need to find sources for more info.  The podcast just left me desperate for more.

The Lonely Issue

I thought I had it under control but I seem to be slipping back into loneliness again.  Damn!  I don’t need that.

I’m not entirely sure it is actually being lonely.  I think maybe the feeling is more of an indication of underlying issues.  It’s a very tough feeling to analyse.

It bothers me immensely that nobody else cares.  It is possibly the most painful aspect.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve hinted on Facebook that I am lonely.  I’ve hinted mostly because I’m afraid to just come out and say it for fear that if, still, nobody cares, it would cause maximum pain.  At least I can consider their ignorance of the hint as an excuse.  I’m not sure what I could expect should someone bother to help.  What could they possibly do?  It is likely that jousting at windmills would be an ineffective method of obtaining friendship.  I keep hoping that someone out there is also lonely.  If they are, they are obviously too stupid to take a hint.

I also fight myself on the issue.  I’m pretty sure that what I want from a relationship is not what normal people want.  Women looking for a relationship don’t want a “Friend”.  They want a real relationship with a future of marriage etc.  That’s not my desire.  I want a friend in the true meaning.   I am looking for someone to go out and play.  Purely a real live BFF.  Come out and play then go home when the streetlights come on.

I guess it doesn’t have to be a female either.  I would probably be happier with a male friend because men are more active and adventurous. Men know what men like.  On the other hand, I would be nice to have a female buddy.  Not that I really care much about what other people think, but it would be nice if people saw us and thought we were a regular couple.  That’s what fits in best in this world.

It would be nice to have someone to confide in.  I have a number of close acquaintances but I could never be open with them.  Hence the rift.

None of this would have been an issue if we had a culture of arranged marriage.  You don’t even have to agonize over the issue.  Your elders assign you a wife and that’s that.  What a wonderful simplicity.  This free will thing is not as cracked up as it appears to be.

I also feel that since my time in this town is short, maybe it’s not worth the trouble to find someone now.  Just wait until I move then look around.  Tick… tick…

There’s also the fact that the things I need will eventually come to me.  Either I don’t need it or the time is not right yet.  I kind of like that philosophy.  It has worked well in the past with everything else so why should it be any different with loneliness?

So I’ve rambled on enough but it feels good to let it out.  I may not have a close friend to talk to but the internet can be a partial substitute.  I have plenty of inanimate friends but they don’t always satisfy.  Thanks for being there Internet.

 

External Validation

I’ve spent most of my life experiencing low self-esteem.  I blame it on the loss of my father when I was a boy and the subsequent loss of friends and family.  Yeah.  Sad story but who cares.

Even though my last job sucked, I at least had a good source of external validation.  This job lacks even that.  All I hear about is what I’ve done wrong.  There’s no appreciation for all the great things I do every day.  Perhaps because I’m not the kind of guy who toots his own horn.  I’ve always been a person who works in the background to make the world a better place for everyone else.  I don’t go out looking for appreciation.  If others are happy then I’m happy.

However… Sometimes it’s nice to be appreciated.  When you are lonely the chances of being appreciated are minimal.  The answer here is to realize that external validation, though nice, is not really necessary.  Confirming your sense of self-worth is best accomplished through inner appreciation.

I’ve done a pretty decent job of appreciating my own incredible accomplishments but I’m sure I could get to be better at it.  I’m going to make it a point to celebrate my awesomeness whenever it appears.  How, I’m not sure.  Maybe a verbal attaboy and pat on the back.  Food?  Better not.  Shopping?  Meh.  Better keep it psychological.  The point is to make something of it and make it memorable.  Maybe an achievement log.  That sounds like a good idea.  Something to refer to on those low days.

I’m not to the point of depression.  I successfully beat that a few years ago.  I think, overall, I’m handling things rather well.  I know that I am my best admirer and that’s all that counts.  Yes, it hurts when others don’t see it but you can’t force it upon them.  If they don’t get it then they are not worth it anyway.  Now I’m just rambling.  Time for bed.