Thursday, February 05, 2009

Party of one

Some of the best memories I have about my trip to SF revolves around the times that I actually got to spend with my brother, just him and me. Those moments I still relive in my head over and over again, precious moments which I will always treasure deep inside my heart. Those moments are so rare,... too rare. It pains me to live so far away from him, and yet there is where he lives, and here is where I have my life.

That is where he lives with his family, and here is where I'm attempting to build my own life. You'd think it would be easy for me to relocate, but it's more complicated than that. Even if I wanted to, there are many reasons I can't. It's complicated, and I'd rather not go into it.

For 26 days, I got a taste of what it feels like to be part of a family. It's not all rainbows and butterflies, sure, but it felt good for the most part. I still had my baggage around relationships, but I got a taste of what it feels like to have many friends, what it feels like to go out and have fun with other people. I even got jealous of my brother's friends because they got to spend so much of their time with him and his family. But it's healthy - it's healthy for a family to open themselves up to other people - because the kids learn to socialise and become more confident around relationships and other people. This contrasts so starkly to the way we were raised.

But I've been home a couple of weeks now, and I've reverted back to my lonely, isolated life. It's back to the old party of one. I spent last weekend entirely on my own. I spoke to one person all weekend - an ex colleague whom I happened to bump into in town, for all of 5 minutes. And of course - the grocery check out lady - but that doesn't really count.

It's not so bad to be honest - I can spend large chunks of time on my own as long as I have a TV. But there is a part of me now that wonders what it would be like to have friends around me. The kind of friends my brother has. Strangely, there is also another part of me that simply craves being alone, that needs to be alone. That part of me wants to get home from work tonight and disappear into the long 3 day weekend only to emerge on Monday again. That part of me is saying I need no one. I need to be alone. It's a bit of a contradiction if there ever was one. I'm still trying to figure that one out.

The photo below still makes me laugh. Yes, that is me in a heap on the snow. It was in Yosemite National Park where we went snow-shoeing. I was backing up so my brother could take a photo of us but I ended up falling over (because of course, you DON'T try to walk backwards when you have snow shoes on). And yes, on my right, the lady in red (a friend of my brother's whom I really got to like) was pointing and laughing at me. There was another shot taken immediately after where the two of them were pulling me up.


Anonymous said...

I do that too PB. If I spend time alone it feels like I am missing out, but when i spend time with others it is great fun but i can't help thinking i'd quite like to be lying quietly in bed playing on my laptop :) I think it's about a balance. You don't have to spend every weeked alone, nor is it wrond to spend some time by yourself.

Lola x

Anonymous Drifter said...

I also find isolation painful at times. I'd like to be surrounded by friends but a part of me is quite the hermit.

Wandering Coyote said...

I'm so heartened to hear of you wonderful experiences with your brother. Thanks for sharing the picture!

Perhaps this experience in SF might inspire you or motivate you to get out of your shell a bit and try to meet some people around home? I hope so. I can tell how painful the isolation is for you...

Aqua said...

Hi Polar Bear,
I so understand the confused feelings of wanting more companionship, but being exhausted when you are around people. When I was working I would be up, bubbly and really enjoying the people I worked with and then the second I touched the door to go home I would almost collapse I felt so fatigued. I don't really understand the dynamic, but I know those you are not alone. It is great to hear you had a good visit with your brother.

butterflies said...

Great insightful post Pola.

The thing that was different between you and them..was that you were on hoilday.They were living their daily life.
I used to feel the same thing when I was overseas and came home.You always miss family because they anchor you to your childhood which determines who you are NOW.

Maybe you are exactly where you want to be and dont even realise it.

Stephany said...

What fun the snowshoeing looks! Just give yourself the space to make an even balance of solitude and companionship. (easier said than done I know)Thanks for sharing the photos, I love looking at photos that remind me of good days and or fun times.

Sid said...

I'm glad you brought home some good memories. Someday, if you're ever willing to share, I'd love to find out how your family got spread so far out across the world.

It's tough to figure out which is better...having family and/or friends around or just being alone. There are times when having both would be ideal, but it's so hard for others to understand the times when you need to be alone.

Enjoy the fun deserve it.


Polar Bear said...

I think you're right - it's about balance. Finding that right balance can be tricky too.

There's certainly something appealing (to me at least) about the hermit persona. I think I like to think of myself as a loner, someone who can take care of everything myself. But I think V has started to break that down for me a bit, and I'm starting to recognise maybe I'm not necessarily happy when I'm doing the isolating thing.

Yes, I'm hoping to come out of my shell a little more.

Yes, that's that as well - feeling exhausted when you've been around people a lot. Maybe as Lola commented, it's about balance.

Thanks for pointing that out to me - yes I was on "holiday" and certainly there is an element to wanting to try new things when you're on "holiday" and definately having more energy for that sort of thing.

Snow shoeing is loads of fun! You should try it sometime if you haven't already tried it. Yosemite was very beautiful too - the trees were all leaden with snow - it was amazing.

Thanks, Sid. I'll think about sharing that. I'm only reluctant because I don't want to be identified easily (let's just say once bitten twice shy). But there may be ways around that :)
Let me think on that.

Thanks everyone for your support.

XOXO Polar B.