Even though I am generally an introvert, loner type and accordingly live a lot of my life in my own bubble, Covid isolation has upped the bubble strength to new levels.
2020, and especially the end of it was a hard year – all the more so because early in 2020 I moved out of an isolated, rural farmhouse into a town with a bustling tourist main street precisely so I could connect with more people.
Butttttttt….. I finished the move precisely 4 hours before our country’s first hard lockdown commenced in late March.
And since then I’ve vacillated between going out and meeting and hanging out with people, to not even answering my phone at all for weeks over Christmas. Through it all I can feel that mentally I’m not in a great space.
The growing aversion to connecting with people in particular, not wanting to answer their messages or calls, really bothers me.
At the beginning of Christmas I found myself rationalising it to myself in the sense of being able to be freed up and and then to do and achieve much with my music podcasts, and with my 3D art, and even with playing my drums. I painted a Michelangelo-esque picture of myself as a solitary artist locked up in his studio and being freed to do profound things with the masses of time and attention available.
But how much is enough?
I found myself with wounded friendships when in middle January I finally started calling people and sending out messages again, and that bothers me now.
I mean I really don’t care for Christmas, think New Year is pointless and pretty much hold all pre-existing traditions in contempt. We have a vexed, massively divided and hurting world all built on the old ways by the good ole boys, so I find myself in default opposition to and rebellion against “old ways”.
But the problem is that for other people, the old traditions are special and precious opportunities to connect. Thus, if I was to call one of my old, tradition-observing friends on Christmas day that would mean the world to them, even though it would just be an onerous observance to me. Connecting on this “special day” to them would convey a message of being part of a “special” level of intimacy and connectedness with me.
I get that now.
Experiencing the woundedness of close friends of many years in particular, has driven this point home more for me than anything else. I have thus learned that reaching out on special days can be viewed in the light of nurturing relationships, rather than as being sucked into old timey shit I don’t care for nor believe in.
And I guess that brings me to the ever evolving identity thing we as humans are constantly working on. Can I be secure enough in my own identity as a non-conformist to not be questioning my sanity in taking/not taking part in the traditions and observances of my conformist friends and confidants, and while creating the room for me to not participate, so that my friends also respect my motivations and desires in this regard?
The above in particular I think is my biggest work item for the next quarter.
To communicate more clearly with my friends and family the fact that I’m not like them instead of assuming they’ll understand. To clear up with them that they were not ignored for any malicious reason, and that I have my own valid non-conformist viewpoints on traditions and special days, that I feel also need to be honoured. To cultivate those relationships on other days and in other ways, in spite of, but in accordance to the Covid risks which may be present in one wave and mutation or the other.
Video calls in particular are the coolest things ever. Being able to see your friend/family member/whatever and participate in the full, natural inter-personal communication process which includes facial cues and body language works for me. I struggle with phone calls and the minefield of meaning and innuendo. As a non-participant in popular culture I miss practically all the clichés and cues. I’m also not a fan of text messages where important meaning can be misinterpreted easily in the selection and placement of words.
I like it.
It’s catchy and it’s clear. I have a new vision of 2021 and it’s this:
Communicate. Clear Up. Cultivate. And switch over to video calling as much as possible.
Thanks so much for listening.
I always feel better after talking with you.