For those of you who have been worrying about what appears to be my deteriorating state of mind, please put yourselves at ease. I’ve gone through all of this before, and will probably go through it all again, and it feels like maybe this ride is coming to an end for now. Like a tender ankle, I’m trying not to put my full weight upon my… well, that metaphor didn’t go as well as I might have liked. Let’s just say that I am tentatively optimistic that my psyche is on the mend, but I’m not going to commit to smiles and rainbows just yet. But I will say that when I woke up, I actually remained conscious for some time before going back to sleep, and when I got up for real, a couple of hours later, I wasn’t in excruciating pain, be it psychological or physical. I mean, my muscles were a bit sore, but nothing like the pain I’ve been feeling for the past several weeks. And I when I went back to sleep for my early morning nap, it was because I couldn’t sleep last night and was exhausted, as opposed to seeking solace in the nothingness of dreams. Again, it may not seem like a huge improvement, with the behavior remaining the same, but the motivations behind the actions are slightly more benevolent this time around.
It’s strange, but what I really think has been getting to me is the loneliness. Don’t get me wrong: I still even can’t stand the notion of other people, but I do miss seeing and speaking with my friends. Sometimes I forget just how much my friends mean to me. Most of the time, I prefer to be alone, thinking deep things and feeling the seductive torture of debilitating misery. Even now, when given the opportunity to spend time with people whom I have befriended in California, I usually find some reason or another not to go. To be fair, they don’t know me nearly as well as my friends who’ve known me since before I was Tex Batmart. Mostly, I just talk to Bad Leon Suave, though that seems moderately unfair to him. Then again, we have known each other for nearly thirty years, and I’ve done my share of therapy sessions with him, so I suppose that it all balances out. But even then, there is only so much that Mr. Suave can do. I don’t know what makes me think that I could survive living in a cave somewhere, no matter how attractive the idea has become.
But then I’ll post something on Facebook, something random and personal, and I see the names of friends from long ago joining together to let me know that I am still in their thoughts. I know that we have all gone our separate ways, and most of us have families and other grownup things to concern ourselves with, but there are times when I wish that I could get us all together so that we could engage uncomfortably in small talk for a while, and then find excuses to leave early. It’s probably not that bad, I realize. We’d probably talk about what’s new, retell some of the old tales of glory, and then proceed to get blind drunk, depending on how late we could afford to pay the babysitters. I suppose that I could just call some people up, but I just can’t get over how much of a failure I feel that I’ve become. I don’t mind letting Bad Leon in, but that’s only because we were in Cub Scouts together, and therefore the bar has been lowered for our standard interactions. And while I’d like to think that I would enjoy it if my friends were one day to call, I don’t know that I would even pick up the phone (I also wonder how long that phrase will survive in a world where a phone is answered by pushing a button, and has nothing to do with a handset and base).
I can see how it might appear that I am begging for my friends to call, or visit, or track me down and force a hug upon me. Please don’t. Well, I mean, if you really want to fly out here and embrace me, I guess that’s okay, but I can’t promise that I’ll answer the phone if you would rather call. Wow, that seems pretty messed up, even to me. The hermit proclaims his loneliness and sense of isolation, and then tells people that he’d probably rather be alone. It’s no wonder that I’m alone. That kind of nonsense is rather frustrating. And there’s the little matter of my wife and children. I don’t suppose that I am truly alone, but it still kind of feels that way sometimes. My wife has an entire life of her own, and her own problems to worry about, and my son is almost eight, and for all intents and purposes, completely devoid of functional empathy (idea for band name: Functional Empathy and the Infinite Bummers).
Okay, it appears that I was right: It looks like I’m not completely out of the woods quite yet. At least I can find the humor in my situation. I have the family which I wanted, am doing what I’ve always wanted to (though at a wage which is, generously, unsustainable), and what am I going on about? Feeling lonely. Oh well, I suppose that for my next trick I will look around at all the crap I have and decide that I am bored. Or look through the dresser and decide that I don’t really want to put on pants. Wait… strike that last example.
I guess what I’ve been rambling on toward, and yet manage to fail to reach, is this feeling of gratitude within me which I feel for those who I have been lucky enough to call my friends. Thank you for being there when I have needed you, whether I knew it or not. You have helped to ease my suffering, and for that, I am eternally grateful (well, grateful at least as long as I remain alive). Thank you.