Lately, I’ve been feeling lonely. There’s a difference between being alone and feeling lonely, because, well, I’ve been alone for a greater part of the last 14 years. Most of that time, though, I haven’t felt lonely.
After two tragedies struck my friends and family in Indiana over the last six weeks though, I started to feel homesick. I left Indiana at 18, headed South, and really never thought I’d turn back. And yes, I’ve had some great times in these parts, and met some great people – but is anyone ever quite as great as the friends you’ve known since middle school? Doubtful.
I still don’t know if I’ll ever go back to Indiana, or the Midwest, other than for quick visits. Although in times like these, I can’t explain just how much I wish I could hop right on over to Indiana, to spend a Friday night with people who know me; people who make me excited to be alive. Regardless, I’m trying to make the most out of my life in Austin, and I know it’s one of the most entertaining cities in the country.
But my attempts at making friends here have left me feeling more lonely than when I started. People have flaked for things I’ve invited them to do – movies, concerts, brunches – and even things they’ve invited me to do. Everyone is looking for the Bigger, Better Deal (the BBD), and apparently I am not it.
After years of suffering from breakup after breakup, I quickly learned that a man was not going to be the source of my happiness, and I’ve basically given up on that part of my life. I know I can still live a meaningful, happy, and fulfilling life as a single person.
But I can’t do it alone, can I? I suppose I pictured my life as a single person much like the lives of the women on “Sex and the City” – only, minus the sex and designer fashions. Or perhaps like those on “Girls” only minus the sex and easy-going careers. You get the picture: I need a few friends to do shit with.
Because you know what? No matter how cool I think I am, hanging out with just myself gets old. I cannot tell you how many times I’ve tried to surprise myself with yet another great, home-cooked meal. These days, I’m so over myself that I buy all of the organic, pre-made goods I can because then at least I have time to read or to build a plan to get friends.
During the week, I don’t have much time for social outings given my job, my dance schedule, and this blog. Some weekends, I am busy with chores or writing projects, but other weekends it would be nice to meet up with friends for drinks, a sporting event, or simply a movie.
Holidays, though, those are the worst. I hate admitting this, but I spent Thanksgiving and Christmas by myself last year, and as much as I tried to make it pleasant for myself – baking a pie from scratch & mixing craft cocktails – it was a very depressing time.
Because the truth is, when you’re not close to family, and your friends live 19 hours away, it almost seems as if I’ve built so many walls around myself that my only choice is to be alone, even for the moments when being together is all that really matters.
This is not the first time in my life I’ve felt lonely, of course. In fact, it is during these times when I have fallen into a dark pattern of meeting friends, or sometimes, men, who are terribly wrong for me. Because of this, I am very weary of my actions during these times – I don’t want to fall for the wrong people out of desperation.
But it is also during these times when little things hurt even more than they would on a good day. The cat call of a construction worker (“You have a fat ass”) on your morning walk to the Texas Capitol stings more; being ignored by a crush cuts a little deeper; and getting ditched by a girlfriend calls for a bottle of wine to keep all to yourself.
I struggle with gathering the courage and confidence to do things alone, or to simply just curl up on my couch and accept my fate.
After a week of debate, I braved downtown Austin and went to see Big Freedia in concert, alone. I put on my best twerking outfit, dark lipstick, and treated myself to a beer (or two). As I was standing at the bar alone, a few ladies approached me and asked if I’d come alone. Yes, I did, I said.
So had they. All of our friends had ditched us. And so, we danced the night away, together. It was great, and just the night I needed. I had done it for Freedia – her positive attitude and awesome music got me off my couch, and her presence sent me floating into the night.
I am still trying to make friends; and to figure this whole thing out. Until then, perhaps I’ll just live by a new set of words: What Would Freedia Do?
“All I can do is do what I do and make it do what it does.” -Big Freedia
Last week, I was under the weather. It’s been a LONG time since I’ve been sick; I’d like to think it’s because I’ve been really good about taking my vitamins, eating healthy, getting rest, and using my essential oils.
But, lots of people in my office have been sick, so despite all of my efforts (and slathering my body with antibacterial gel), I got sick and was out-of-commission, no matter if I wanted to admit it or not.
By the time Thursday rolled around, my sick coworkers were all, “Oh, you just have to get through one more day!” But… I use my weekends to get SHIT DONE! I didn’t necessarily hope to be chained to my couch for days (even though that’s what I usually do while writing blogs and editing freelance work).
Either way, I woke up Saturday morning feeling stuffy and exhausted. Luckily, I’d equipped my apartment with cold supplies (did you know there’s such a thing as Kleenex with Vicks?!), and after a few hours on the couch under my electric blanket, I was feeling much better.
And thankfully so, because I knew it was my only chance to craft up some cute Valentines for you guys! I got out all my supplies – some leftover from last year’s batch, and lots of new fun stuff.
After 5 or 6 hours of crafting, and watching rom-coms, including Sleepless in Seattle, Paper Towns, 10 Things I Hate About You, and The Longest Ride, I had crafted about 30 Valentines. I’m really proud of this batch, if I do say so myself! I cannot wait to send them to you guys!
Sunday, I was feeling much better, and was ready to venture out of the apartment (I’m suuuuch a recluse). I went shopping for books, a new moisturizer, and other Valentine’s goodies for care packages I’ll be putting together in the coming weeks. I also changed my turn signal and washed my car, inside and out. Like I said, I get shit D O N E on the weekends.
I know all of this Valentine’s hoopla probably makes it seem like I’m obsessed with the holiday. Truthfully, I’ve hated it for years. But, I’ve been a relationship writer for 10 years. Each year, when February rolls around – and each time I’m single – I wonder how to approach it.
There’s been years I’ve tried to ignore it; years when I’ve tried to just be cool about it; times when my girlfriends and I have worn all black and drank ourselves stupid; and times when I’ve been really, really sad over it. But the honest truth is, none of that makes me feel any different about the holiday.
And now, I just feel like the only thing to do is embrace it and celebrate the love I do have in my life. It is not romantic love, but it’s still meaningful and it makes me smile. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t know that everyone – single or not – could probably use a little more love every now and then. So, that’s why I’m sending the cards and care packages.
I love you all, and I cannot wait for you to see tomorrow’s post!