For some reason, I have always thought of myself as a loner, self-identified as an introvert. I’m not quite sure where I came up with that, but I’m realizing lately that it’s not at all true.
Perhaps it was because I’m an only child, and I spent a fair amount of time playing by myself as a kid. I wasn’t the most social teenager, and I did need my at-home time, away from my friends — but even then, I wasn’t by myself. I spent the majority of my time from birth to age 18 with my parents; we always have been and still are extremely close, a team of three. They’re my best friends.
In college, I had my first taste of living in a larger community. The freshman UHC floor put all of my pals within bedroom-door-knocking distance, and I spent every minute with them — there was always someone who wanted to hang out. My summer in San Francisco was hyper-community — I was never alone, even sleeping each night in a room with 3 to 4 other girls, and spending every waking hour talking, working, praying, and otherwise connecting intensely with the people around me. I continued to live with roommates after that, and even had another very community-intensive summer working in LA; but I think more monumentally, I entered into a relationship and developed a very strong emotional connection with another person. That was a new kind of community, but it’s one that I’ve realized is basically the most important one to me — the community formed with a partner.
I have this urge to share my life, all the details, mundane as they may be. Perhaps I’ve just been conditioned to be like this, and now I expect it; I still talk with my parents almost every day to give and receive updates. But I don’t like keeping things to myself; I want perspective, opinions, advice, thoughts. I want to include people in my life, and I want to be included in other people’s lives. I want to feel connected, needed, involved.
And now I find myself living alone, not as any part of community. And I also find myself “single,” not part of any one strong emotional partnership. And thus, I’m finding it challenging to navigate the landscape of my various friendships, disperse my need to connect, and still find that sense of community that I crave. I worry that I get too clingy or invest too much in friendships that aren’t ready for it. I don’t like feeling this way, being in this place. I know I need this time to be on my own, to introspect and figure certain things out, but I miss feeling connected.
“She says wake up, it’s no use pretending; I’ll keep stealing, breathing her. Birds are leaving over autumn’s ending; one of us will die inside these arms.” – Iron and Wine