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My Destiny - Crazy Cat Lady?!

Posted 11-27-2017 at 02:52 AM by Ludlum'sDaughter14
Updated 11-27-2017 at 11:34 AM by Ludlum'sDaughter14
Have you ever opened a book and just known it was the one you need to read, right this very minute? That happened to me with three books this past week. I pulled them out of the living room bookcase in the house where I was cat-sitting for the week, and I got permission from the owner to take them with me when I returned home yesterday morning.

I had mixed feelings about living alone at first. I've never actually spent a whole day - much less four - with a house to myself, able to come and go and do whatever I wanted. The first couple nights, I was tired and thrown off by the sudden change in schedule, which made me a little depressed. But after that, I found I enjoyed being all alone with only cats for company. Really enjoyed it. Therein lies the connection to one of the books I picked up while I was there, called Party of One: The Loner's Manifesto.

I've only begun the book; I made it through the Introduction and maybe to Chapter 2. But it gave me some food for thought. It describes a loner as someone who doesn't need to be attached to people, doesn't like doing what everyone else is doing and being part of groups - essentially, someone who functions most comfortably, efficiently, and/or creatively when alone. The freedom from a need to live in collaboration with others seems to differentiate the loner from the mere introvert. And the author claims that, just as there is a socially-skilled (in some way) person hidden deep inside every loner, there is also a loner deep inside every other person.

At one time, I learned to think of myself as a loner. Then I unlearned it. But a couple weeks ago I came out of a relationship in which the guy broke off contact because I wasn't as emotionally invested in the relationship as he was. Based on the surrounding circumstances, I understand why he did that and am trying not to hold it against him, but it forced me to see my life in a new way.

Historically, I've been the one on the wrong side of unrequited like, up until I got to college. And this recent relationship as well as the one with my ex-boyfriend ended because of the same thing: they were more emotionally invested than I was. In fact, they looked to me for stability, because I'm confident and motivated and I have direction. But they failed to plan for my independence. I don't just hand over the reins to anybody, and I won't hitch my wagon to somebody else's until I'm certain they're heading where I'm already going. (And I have no idea where all the horse metaphors are coming from.)

With individuals and in groups, I learned not to sell my soul to those who might abuse it. That means most of the time, I get along with almost everybody but don't get terribly close to anybody. When I went on a trip with seven other college students last year, two guys and five girls, I predicted before the trip even started how people would click. The two sisters would stick together, so would the two guys, and the three remaining "firecracker" girls would bond, while I would get to know each person on an individual basis without joining any of the groups. And I was right. Even in the inside jokes and shared confidences, there was an invisible line on my end that never was crossed. It was that trip that made me realize how bad I was at getting close to people and motivated me this past year to start trying to be honest with people, since real friendships only come with vulnerability. Also, I stopped caring as much whether other people thought I was weird, because as long as I had a few good friends, no one else's opinion mattered much.

To sum up, even though I try to be open and genuine, I don't warm up to people easily. That's part of who I am due to personality and background. I'm deliberately friendly because I like to get to know people, but the outgoing side comes from temporarily shrugging off my introversion. When my energy runs out, I have to go back to my most basic state: alone, not talking to anybody, and not getting involved in long conversations over texting or social media. The two guys mentioned above didn't understand that, and as a result, I fell short of their expectations. They liked me as the friendly and super-perfect person they mentally saw me as, the person whom it would be an honor to have love them devotedly. Unfortunately for them, and as they came to find out, I'm no Supergirl. Not only am I flawed in clear and visible ways (just ask my family), but I don't fall in love on cue. And just because you like me doesn't mean I owe you anything. I'm still free to keep my beautiful, independent, no-strings-attached life all to myself. If I'm too tired to talk, I won't respond to your texts. I'm not going to pretend you're all I ever think about when you're not, and when I have a life to live and goals to pursue and necessary tasks to accomplish.

Going back to the book. In light of recent events and based on what I've read, I think I would call myself a quasi-loner. I'm an introvert, and I have a strong need for the freedom to work alone and undisturbed a lot of the time, but I also need some form of people-time as a regular part of my life. People keep me sane. They give my life structure, help me get out of the convoluted paths my mind takes me down, and because of all that, they (the "safe" people) help keep me from getting depressed and nihilistic. This is especially important when I'm tired and emotional. In addition, I'm convinced that my career and social function lies in a field of helping people. Right now (i.e., as of three weeks ago), I'm thinking of conflict mediation or group facilitation in a business context as potential careers. My natural empathetic tendencies and problem-solving abilities would go well in that kind of social service.

However, I instinctively seek to stay separate from "the masses." Mainstream interests largely fail to interest me. I spend most of my time behind a door with a "Do Not Disturb" sign, and I crave the ability to exist in a place with no one clamoring to talk to me or ask me pointless questions with obvious or useless answers. I really just want a way to get out of social obligations and ensure that people leave me alone when I want to be left alone.

I live a conflicted existence. There's a dialectical tension between my need to interact with people and my need to be alone. People simultaneously keep me sane and drive me crazy. They're a large part of the reason I've fought depression these past several years, but sometimes I need them around to help me find my way out of depression.

In all of this, I think I've found my mission in life. I've always felt like I existed for a purpose; what frustrated me to no end was not knowing what that purpose was. I don't know if this is actually my mission in life (or more likely one of many demi-quests), but it seems possible. I know that every part of my history, personality, physicality, and circumstances exists to support the destiny I'm called to fulfill. And this dichotomy between independence and dependence, community and solitude, is one that confronts me at every turn. It's in the marrow of my bones. And maybe, just maybe, I'll get to spend the rest of my life figuring out where the two extremes come together. Humans are designed to need both in order to reach their full spiritual potential. The key is viewing them not as ends, but as means. And the means will find their place as I pursue the spiritual end - to know, love, and live for the Creator of the Universe.

Man, this gets me excited. And until I get to move out (hopefully in May!), the spiritual and psychological exploration of these realities will help me cope with confronting them in a tiny one-story house every day.
Total Comments 2

Comments

  • Old Comment
    Wow. I'm curious about the books. I love to read. Always have.

    I am a loner. I have no problem being alone for long periods of time. I also tend to take care of my family, which can be really draining for me as an introvert.

    I think we have a good friendship. All the Dirkettes. We care about each other as individuals and are there for each other when needed.

    Btw, I have no idea why you got into horse metaphors. You've been cat-sitting, not horse-sitting.

    I think your career choices are good ones. You are very good at reading people and understanding them. Can't wait for you to get your own place. Maybe with a cat or two to keep you warm at night.
    Posted 11-29-2017 at 08:50 PM by Vballspieler Vballspieler is offline
  • Old Comment
    I've only started each one, so I can't evaluate them completely, but they all look really good so far. The books are Party of One: The Loner's Manifesto by Anneli Rufus, Believing God by Beth Moore, and The Gifts of Imperfection by Brené Brown. I'm hoping to have time to finish them or get close before I need to return them.

    Now that you mention it, I can definitely see you as a loner. You enjoy helping other people but you also need a lot of time to yourself to function well. Honestly, I like being friends with loners because the fact that you take more time to get to know provides a challenge, and when I do get to know you I find it was worth the effort.

    We do have a good friendship, and I appreciate that we all understand each other's needs for various amounts of interaction. Like you said, even though we're all keeping different schedules and sometimes go AWOL for a bit, we're there for each other when needed.

    Thank you, I'm glad you approve. When I get a place I'll invite you over to meet my cat(s).

    In conclusion, a meme for you:
    Posted 11-30-2017 at 07:54 PM by Ludlum'sDaughter14 Ludlum'sDaughter14 is offline
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