Less Talking, More Isolation

Tonight I am feeling lost. This weekend was busybusybusy with people and pubs and movies and restaurants and parties; I am tired. I need time alone with no one around to make a sound or speak to me or touch me. I need time alone to let the false things fall away. The noise in my head is overpowering.

No one is at fault but me. I wander through life forgetting what it is that I need, because I fall into the habit of letting myself be swept along by other people. It can all be very fun and exciting for a while, and it continues to be fun even when the first signs of my self-assertion start to give me angry flashes in fits and starts. I have been well trained in the art of ignoring anger, so I always know that I have some time before the real meltdown occurs.

Friday, P, the Fiery One, and I went to a Mongolian grill for supper on Saturday night. The whole experience was farely lukewarm from the bland soup to the truck stop coffee to the rice that tasted like our city's chemically fortified water, but it was somewhat redeemed by the fortune cookies given to us at the cash register. I love fortune cookies, not for the cookie which is always left uneaten but for the anticipation of that little piece of paper inside that may or may not present some moment of synchronicity, giving back a piece of the mystery and wonder that my cynicism steals from me. My first fortune cookie had no fortune inside. Undaunted, I grabbed a second cookie, which surprisingly enough had two fortunes inside of it. The first of the two fortunes was this:

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That brought up a whole can of worms for me that I would prefer not to get into, so I folded it neatly and put it in the back pocket of my jeans. The second fortune had this to say:

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Gah, what a horrible thing for me to read. It sounded sarcastic, taunting, malicious.

I have been afraid of opening my mouth. I tend to open it quite a lot, and I am full of opinions, pronouncements, advice and the like. It bubbles out freely before my mind gives any pause to consider censoring it, and it shames me. Lately, I have moments in which I never want to speak again.

I also go for stretches during which I barely speak at all. I sit still and silent, looking from person to person, listening and observing and committing myself to no individual. My lips feel as though they are sewn together, parting only for a sip of this or a bite of that.

There is a strong sensation of being in control that stems from maintaining a stillness about yourself, from being an observer in the middle of the event. There is also fear. There is the fear that if I open my mouth my voice will be either too loud or too soft, my words will be either judgmental or sycophantic, I will either talk on at great length or struggle to find the end of my first sentence.

I look back and want to gather it all up and hide it. I want to take it all back to the point before it even hit my throat, I want to believe that knee-jerk statements went unheard, I want not to be the woman who always has something to say.

When I have spent very little time alone for weeks on end, as has been the case lately, this affliction worsens. It is as though my muscles of suppression have simply grown weak with the constant social onslaught and can no longer control my reflexes. I just want the whole go-round to stop, but I spent so long away from myself that I loathe the idea of getting reacquainted.

I am beginning to think that I may be an angry person. Or I may be a person who is angry because she hasn't been taking care of herself. I point into the firm meat of my chest and pick out the person who knows what to do.

I will hide out in bed, in hot baths, and in books. I will not go out after work. Phone calls can wait. The next week is mine, and I will let no sense of obligation keep me from my purpose. Somewhere along the line I feel like I have lost the authority over my own life. I haven't, of course, because no matter how little authority we feel we have over our lives, it is always ultimately in our hands.

I guess this goes to show you just how much regular time alone can mean to one Ms. Schmutzie.

I will isolate myself, vocalizing as little as possible, and in a few short days I should be a little less jagged around the edges. I'm sure the Fiery One will appreciate reconnecting with Schmutzie the Mostly Well-Adjusted Human. I personally don't give a rat's ass if Schmutzie the Jagged Voicebox hits her ass on the way out.

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