Saturday, July 13, 2013

Where do they all come from?

Leigh wrote an important series on finding community recently (first post here), inspired by her feelings of loneliness in Nashville.

I could second most of that first post, except for the part about having any friends in the first place--something my husband and I have long lamented (I think I've mentioned before that we're both shy introverts, so making friends is not exactly easy for us).

But Jennifer left a comment that made me stop and think about my own situation a bit more:
You mentioned that you wouldn't notice it as much if your calendar was more full, and that's just the thing. People don't know they are lonely cause they've made themselves so busy. But the deep ache for community doesn't diminish with a full schedule. I make a living (as a yoga teacher) of asking people to lay on the floor and just be present with themselves and their thoughts. I hear, time and time again from people that this agitates them. To which I lovingly reply, "no - it just forces you to see the agitation that is already there, that you have perfected the art of ignoring."
Well. The DDH and I have long semi-joked about how we don't have any friends we can do things with, but it's always been as much joke as problem. Lately, however, I've been realizing just how deeply lonely I really am.

Something has forced me to "see that agitation" that I had "perfected the art of ignoring," and I think I've figured out what.

As an introvert, I lose energy quickly when around other people. As an extreme introvert (100% I and 0% E on the MBTI), I lose energy extremely quickly, and it doesn't take many people to do it. Telephone calls tire me out.

The office where I worked was one big room where the three of us had our desks. The CEO had his own office but was in and out of ours (and we of his), and other people were always coming through--contractors, clients, the IT guy, the UPS men. Though it was a small office, with few people, there was no getting away from them.

I came home completely drained every day. My dealing-with-other-people energy bucket was bone dry by every evening. I usually got home an hour or two before the DDH, which gave me enough time (most days) to build up just enough energy to deal with him, and no more.

I was lonely, I had no friends--but I also had zero energy to deal with any if I had them. The fact that my interaction-with-others quota was being exceeded every day masked the loneliness.


Then I started staying home with T-Rex. Most days, the only person I see is the baby, with the DDH for a few hours in the evening and the occasional encounter with a cashier. While there are some days when T-Rex's demands still manage to drain me (even the dogs take their share from that energy bucket, I've discovered), my dealing-with-other-people energy bucket rarely runs dry anymore.

While I was working, I thought I had friends via the internet. See, introverts also hate small talk--it's a big waste of our limited energy stores. And you don't need to small talk the internet. You can read blogs and leave comments and discuss the sorts of deep issues you might get into over an evening coffee date with a good friend, without all the hi-how-are-yous-nice-weather-we're-having-isn't-its.

So with my energy bucket empty and my discussion bucket at least somewhat full, I thought I was doing okay.

At first while staying home I spent even more time on the internet, until finally I realized--these people weren't my friends. I read their words and I wrote mine in the comments, but I didn't really know them and they didn't really know me. You. I don't really know you, and you don't really know me, and as much as we might enjoy our conversations, I can't call any of you up for a picnic in the park or a baby-free evening at a coffee shop. (Which doesn't mean I don't enjoy reading and commenting. You know what I mean, I think.)

I stopped reading a lot of the blogs. Or I would read them, but not comment. It just seemed pointless. And now I'm to the point where I have dozens of people liking my cute pictures of T-Rex on Facebook, but no one who will come to my house for a dinner party, even when I offer to provide all the food. There's no one I can talk to about my frustrations or work out a problem with.


This week I learned that New Mexico does not reciprocate with any other states for bar passage. In other words, the only way the DDH could ever work there is if a) he got a federal law job (unlikely, but always possible. maybe.) or b) he takes the bar exam again, which at this point he has sworn he will never do (and he's really bad at standardized tests, so that's probably a good plan on his part).

In other words, we will never move back to my hometown. We will never live near my parents or the friends who live there, who are still friends, or would be, if we lived close and our lives could better include each other.

I don't really know what to do about it. I've tried for five years to make friends here, but the one I succeeded in making moved away last month. It's hopeless, I guess. As an INTJ who's not that into Feelings, I don't really know how I feel about that.

But I think it's sad. I think how I'm feeling is sad.

Friday, July 5, 2013

Red white and blue like the fourth of July

Dressed for the day. ;-)
July is my favorite month.

Of course it is. It's my birth month. I was due June twentieth, and I was born next week. Well, next week twenty-seven years ago.

Clearly baby-me knew that July was the best of months and desired to firmly declare it as my own.

Watching firecrackers.
T-Rex is still not back to sleeping all through the night but he's doing a little better and I'm trying to just roll with it. The DDH does not take quite as relaxed a view, but then, the DDH has to get up and go to work every morning.

Yesterday we spent the day at my in-laws' lounging around, eating hamburgers and setting off fireworks. T-Rex took these completely in stride. You could practically see him saying, "Ok, this is a thing that happens in the world" and adding it to his little mental Encyclopedia of Life.

My mother-in-law's sister and her husband are in town, and I do love them. It's nice to see out-of-town family.

I cannot believe this weather. Last night, while watching fireworks, I kind of felt like a sweater wouldn't have gone amiss, when the breeze rose. I needed a blanket while nursing T-Rex in the hammock. We ate lunch out on the porch. This is usually impossible in Oklahoma in July. But yesterday was beautiful.


My stepfather-in-law's father (got that?) and I share a birthday, so we celebrated that yesterday as well. We have 110 years between us. I love sharing a birthday with him.

Next week and the week after, T-Rex has swimming lessons! Because he is the first child and I'm already preparing reasons for subsequent children to declare he's my favorite. Also because he loves baths so I think he might like pools.

Family portrait.
The DDH's brother is supposed to visit sometime this month, and then my dad and brother are coming at the end of the month. T-Rex and I plan to take off with them to help move my brother to his new home (he's entering a doctorate of music program in Mississippi), and Dad and I plan to swing up and visit family in Austin on the way back. Then my sister and her boyfriend are coming to visit.

Some of that will be in August, but still. July is always a good month, and I'm hoping this year will not disappoint.

Stop! Hammock time.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Seven Months

We're having kind of a rough go of it lately.

T-Rex stopped sleeping through the night a couple months ago. He went two weeks never sleeping longer than two hours and mostly it was between sixty and ninety minutes. He was teething and we had started giving him Real Food, which seemed to cause him stomach troubles. We stopped the food and he's gone back to sleeping between two and three hours at a time. Which at first seemed great compared to one hour, but now is terrible, especially when he used to sleep nine hours a night. All three of us wake up angry and yelling over and over again.

T-Rex has gotten grumpier, too, though he only has the two teeth. He's quicker to get frustrated with being left to sit and play. He whines a lot. He's heavy and he's grabby and he's only happy being held while walking around. Which is an exaggeration; he's happy most of the time still. But he gets grumpy and he doesn't want to be held while you're sitting. He doesn't want to be held while standing still. He has to be moving around. I vacuum a lot.

In the middle of that, after the two weeks of basically no sleep, I got really sick. I had pink eye in both eyes, a sinus infection, and then two rounds of a stomach bug. I had a fever for a week straight. I would sit in bed staring at T-Rex while he screamed because he was bored of playing in the bed, and I would pick him up and stagger downstairs and it would take me half an hour to change his diaper.

I don't remember much of that week and what I do remember I'm not entirely sure is true. Fevers are like that, I guess.

We ran through our entire stash of frozen pumped milk sending T-Rex off to spend the day with his grandma or having his dad watch him overnight so I could sleep. When the stomach bug hit at the end of the week, I stopped producing entirely (not to mention was completely incapable of sitting up to nurse him at that point), and we had to give him formula. Apparently he made awful faces and refused to eat it at first, but eventually he did, and then he even slept through the entire night while at his grandparents' house.

He seems to be waking up because he's hungry, but our forays into feeding him Real Food mostly seem to give him stomachaches. I think my supply is still low from being sick, and it doesn't seem to matter how much oatmeal I eat or fenugreek I take. So I don't know. I guess we'll all just be tired and short-tempered for awhile.

I guess this is a lot of complaining. But if you could hear me saying this, instead of reading me write it, I'm not whining. It's just facts. It's the way things are right now. So it goes.

There are lots of other things to complain about, too: work, friends, church. But I'm sure it's boring enough to listen to my problems with the baby, so I'll spare you the rest.

At least I'm reading a lot. So there's that.

Here's a picture to make up for the complaining:

Eating eggs.