I don’t know how it happened but Christmas is here again. I’m not quite sure I’m over the last one to be honest, but here we are. As you’re aware it’s not really my most favourite time of the year, in fact it fills me with dread and I feel terribly guilty for not really liking it anymore and that makes me hate it more. That said I’m managing to get away relatively unscathed this year – it’s the 17th of December already and I have only had to go to a work’s Christmas party, that I organised, so expectations on how jolly and festive I have to be have been pretty low this year.
I’ve not been feeling too great the last couple of months. Whether it’s the changing of the seasons and the dark nights that’s to blame I’m unsure, but things sure have felt a lot harder than usual. I started the year having made a huge life decision and in search of my independence and I found it for a little while. I went on my first ever holiday alone and I felt confident in my new life. Fast forward to now and I’m feeling anything but confident. For the last couple of months, I’ve barely seen anyone outside of work. I’ve spent most weekends alone in my tiny little flat and not been able to muster the energy or inclination to do anything. I’ve had to cancel plans with friends and trips and it’s left me feeling somewhat withdrawn from the world. The weekends have become a bit of a ‘thing’. Whilst I look forward to them in so much as they’re a welcome break from work, the vast emptiness they provide has become problematic. In fact it’s not even the emptiness that’s problematic, it’s the everything-about-them that’s a struggle. Even if I make plans, I barely go through with them and then beat myself up for letting people down and retreat a little further.
The thing is, it’s never that I don’t want to see people. It’s the stuff that comes before it. It’s the rigmarole of over thinking everything and putting pressure on myself that sometimes makes it impossible to leave the flat. And there’s been a lot of that recently. I hate myself for using this massively overused cliché, but I feel I have lost myself. I don’t really know who I am, what I believe in, what I like or what I want to do. I feel like I’m drifting (and now I’ve got Travis’ Driftwood in my head). I feel like somewhere along the way I have become someone I didn’t really want to become, someone I don’t particularly like very much and someone who is becoming a little hardened to everything.
I sort of know why the latter happened – it was a bit of a fight or flight moment, this time last year. For a short time I thought one of the most important people in my life had died – I spent half an hour in this otherworldly place where one of my biggest fears had materialised – and I never was the same again. Thankfully the fear wasn’t a reality but the change in me was very real. It’s almost like I went to the very depths and subconsciously decided that I could never ever go back there so had to toughen up. So the majority of this year has been spent, trying to be tough and get on with life. And it now feels a little like all the sadness and fear has caught up with me and I’m caught in a tsunami of emotions.
I feel like life is passing me by a little. I want to start living and feeling things, I want to be able to look back on my life and think that I didn’t waste it being sad or just locked up in my flat all the time, too scared to embrace everything that’s out there. Because maybe that’s it. Maybe this loneliness and sadness is actually fear. Fear of meeting new people and fear of new experiences and fear of feeling okay again. There’s a large part of me that doesn’t believe I deserve to be happy or to be liked or loved by anyone and maybe that is the key to why I am feeling alone. Perhaps it’s far easier to sit and write about being lonely than it is to be brave and try to make those connections with people.
I throw myself in to any sort of relationship, be it romantic or platonic. I get emotionally invested at the drop of a hat and easily part with my deepest darkest secrets in an attempt to show people I’m open, honest and trustworthy. Sometimes it pays and everlasting friendships are made and other times I come off looking like a needy bunny boiler. Mostly the latter. But to me being open and making myself vulnerable comes easy; if I feel something I’ll say it without really thinking about the consequences and I’m not afraid to tell someone how I feel even if it’s not reciprocated. The problem being though, perhaps that can be quite off-putting and overbearing for some. Perhaps going head first with the feelings is weird for most people. Perhaps that makes me quite uptight and not fun to be around as I’m constantly thinking “what does this mean?”, forensically analysing everything and therefore in need of constant reassurance. I long to be someone who can float around making new acquaintances and not constantly on the look out for someone who is going to get me and deeply understand all my nuances. It’s unrealistic and puts such high expectations on people.
Maybe we spend time cultivating the friendships that are never meant to last and ignore the ones that could be what we need. When I look back on all the cities I’ve lived in and all the places I’ve worked and the shared houses I’ve lived in, I always think of certain people who I wished I could have spent more time with. It’s only now with the ability to look in to people’s lives through things like Instagram that I realise they were actually the ones I had most in common with. Same goes with university – I see so many people with such a good group of friends from their uni days, arguably our most formative years, and I wish I had strived to keep stronger, lasting relationships with the people I met. I was too concerned with my first proper love interest to realise how important those bonds were and how important they would become later in life.
Maybe next year I need to try to reconnect with people; throw away the fear and the self-judgement and see what happens. Here’s to going for that drink or coffee and seeing what happens, being spontaneous and living a little.