Sunday, September 21, 2008

The blogger returns

So then, a step back into writing after not feeling like it for quite a while. This blog is at least partially a chronicle of my life, and in every life it’s normal to go through ups and downs. Still, I hesitate to bring my blog into the “down” with me, because then I might have to rename the blog as “Annette’s Daily Depression Report” or “Annette’s Daily Rant against the World.” But anyway, in the interests of finding a voice again, here we go.

My last year of grad school was seriously the best year ever. If I had it to live over again, I would. The main reason was that I became acquainted with a bunch of funny, smart, awesome people -- the kind of people who knew a lot about literature and listen to NPR and had been to law school and knew Latin, etc. The kind of people you could talk with for hours at a coffeehouse and not get bored. I think the real magic of friends is that they make you feel like you’re worth knowing. Being around them I felt funny, smart, and awesome myself.

It was an amazing year, but it was followed by a hard summer. A summer where I realized just how much I had come to depend on those friendships to feel OK about myself.

The thing about friendships that I didn’t consider is that they sometimes (actually, most of the time) don’t last forever. Even with the best intentions, with people I saw every day and had come to know like the back of my hand, the connections are always as delicate and tenuous as paper chains.

This summer my friends scattered and were nowhere to be found, and a serious of horribly long, lonely days began when there wasn’t much to do but ask myself, what the hell am I going to do with the rest of my life? It was as if the demons came into that empty spot in my life and I started doubting myself.

And of course my lonely trek only became harder when I got a new job and realized I wasn’t going to be returning to the academic life I knew. Going through a job change with all the people I used to count on basically out of the picture was really overwhelming. I was in shock at all the changes I was going through. Some might even say depressed.

During this period I found that I, a person who had been very much a loner for most of her life, couldn’t deal with being alone anymore. I now thought of aloneness as a failure. If I was worth knowing, why was I alone? So my thinking went.

The eventual discovery during this time was of how shallow my life had become.

Me, shallow? Me, the supposed “intellectual”, who is supposed to be above all that vanity stuff?

But there I was last year, taking pleasure in the latest office gossip and addicted to text-messaging. I had glommed on to Facebook, that mecca of social self-absorption. I had started to pay more attention than I ever had before to my hair and clothes. I desperately wanted to be pretty enough, witty enough, smart enough to impress people.

It wasn’t like I was being dangerously self-destructive, but in this whirlwind of socialization more meaningful things had been forced out. True introspection (something I used to be a queen of) had gone by the wayside. So had prayer and my religious life.

It has taken these long months to go back and really relish being alone. Friends are important, but they’re not everything. I don’t regret the things that happened in the last year, but I do wish they had been balanced out with more reflection and more grounded-ness. Take away all the so-called friendships, all the appearances, all the talk, and who am I, really? It’s the one question that matters, but it's a question I haven’t asked myself enough in the past year or so.

Introspection is back (clearly). So is religion. Is it the soul I’m in search of? Possibly. Eventually. But for now I will settle for a sincerity in my life that has long been missing. I’m back to my wholesome loner roots and I’m not changing for anyone.


La Brown Girl said...

I'm glad you're out of the depressive state. I can identify with you on so many levels. I hope you find a comfortable balance.

Annette said...

Thanks, La Brown Girl.