Claustrophobic ~ or ~
Same Theme Different Day
I’m feeling hemmed in. Watched. Monitored. Claustrophobic.
How did this happen?
A house in the woods. On the mountain. On a gravel side road, a private road, where no other houses are even visible – at least in the summer. More of a trail, really. One marked No Trespassing at that.
It should be the perfect get-away.
The perfect hide-out.
The perfect escape.
But it’s not. It’s a stopping-off point. Stopping-by. Stopping-in. Randomly. Without notification. Without a call. Just because.
And I’m caught. There’s no back door, proverbial or otherwise.
It’s mostly never locked. People just walk-in.
I find it rude, inconsiderate. And a bit disrespectful.
I do lock the door when I’m alone. And ignore the knocks. Just because I can. But I am not alone all that often.
Something else that adds to my feeling that everything I do is being witnessed.
Oddly, this seems to bother my very private husband much less than it does me and I wonder if it’s a question of age.
He is reserved, yes. He has his ticks and lines and boundaries.
But he also grew up in a time and place where cell phones didn’t exist and he and his mates never had the money for a land-line. So stopping-by was just what one did.
I, on the other hand, have spent the better part of my life in small apartments, with various levels of entry.
With easy communication. Communication and alerts that have just become easier.
Phone calls. Emails. Texts. FB messages. You name it, we have it.
Something. Someway to be warned of impending company. Or, more importantly, a way to defer when just not wanting visitors.
In other words, I could be left alone when I wanted to. I could have my privacy and this is something I value and require – both in great proportions.
I have always been like this.
Well almost always.
There was that period of my life, I was 21 years of age or so. Not a good period, in retrospect. A horrible period. There were good times, mind you, but overall I was just a lost kid, drinking too much and mimicking what I thought to be a fabulous Bohemian life of free love and no boundaries. This experiment turned out horrendously, as one might guess, but that is another story.
I shared a one room studio with a man at the time. More of a boy. Loft bed. Large windows. In a hotel turned brothel turned cheap student living in an isolated college town. I lived out extremes then. I never knew who I would awaken to, either in my bed or on my couch. Or on the floor. This was normal then.
But I was young, and drunk, and acting out the part I thought I should play.
And it didn’t work.
In fact, it all ended quite badly.
So I picked up the pieces, which took years of work, and moved on.
And in that moving on I discovered important things about myself. My true nature. Who I am without pretending. Without the act and fantasy and bending to the will of others.
And one of these things is that I am a bit of loner.
I can play the social butterfly. I can interact, engage, go out, meet up, have dates, and play host. I can stay out all night, on the town, soaking up the city summer nights. I can do it all well. Quite well. I enjoy it.
But then I need to be alone. I need to be left alone.
Which means no surprise visits. No impromptu and unannounced company. No people. Just me and the dog and my work.
There are a few people in my life who understand this and I love them more dearly for it.
The others, though. I do care for them. I do. It’s just that they don’t seem to understand me.
Which is irrelevant, in the end, when I’m living in the conditions of my choosing.
But not here. I can’t have that here.
Here I am subject to drop-bys that happen on a daily basis, at the very least.
The casual, oblivious just showing ups.
It’s driving me wild. Girl interrupted.
Partly because it means I am put in a position I would rather not be.
I either suppress my emotions and play nice, or I act rude and hide away.
Maybe it triggers something from my past. Those years when I lived without privacy. Without purpose.
Worse, I know that at some point I will have to say something, and you just know that isn’t going to come off well at all.
I wonder if this is an unusual desire – the desire to be left alone?
To not have one’s personal space invaded on a frequent basis, let alone at all.
To be able to relax and know that I can spend the day by myself, doing what I like and need without interference. However well-meaning and/or brief that interference might be.
And the rub: how well-meaning is it anyway? I have the sneaking suspicion that the good intentions are simply a ruse. A way to override my desire for theirs.
But then my somewhat-repressed emotions might be getting the better of me.
I might be reading too much into these visits as I work to suppress the feelings of complete exasperation they bring about.
Is it so odd? So strange?
This desire for privacy?
Others simply must feel the way I do and yet one would think that would deter them from inflicting the sort of annoyance on you that they would never seek themselves.
And yet it doesn’t. Not in the least.
I hate confrontation. I almost expect others to just know when they are intruding or acting negligently. Not mind-reading per se. But a general tone, if you know what I mean. An awareness of the atmosphere.
I’d hate to have to become a lady version of a Hunter S. Thompson figure. Shotgun within reach, protecting his, my, compound.
Here’s the thing:
I know how I am and what I need to work and create and stay balanced.
I have boundaries that I now safeguard and protect. I have become a master at drawing and redrawing the line in the sand.
Those free-wheelin’ years weren’t wasted. I have come away with valuable information and life experience. Valuable insight.
And it has taken me a decade to get here. Years of practice.
So when my lines and walls are trampled, disregarded, and ignored almost every single day…
Well, something must be done, right?
Which brings me back to the forced confrontation I so despise.
I have another solution.
I keep trying to adopt the lifestyle of an “upstate girl.” For the sake of convenience, mostly. But it’s just not working.
Not like this.
And I don’t mean to sound discontent or ungrateful.
Yet I know that in three months or less I will have a small baby to mind, to care for. Well. This only aggravates my feeling of complete and utter, almost helpless, encasement.
I fear the visits will only increase.
Baby’s are magnets.
And where does that leave me, but at the beck and call of other’s whims.
The unprepared host.
Soon, simply the darling child’s mother. Her keeper.
Someone to clean her up and bring her out for others to ooh and aah.
So, back to my solution.
Because there are certain parts I can’t play.
It’s not that unreachable or fantastic.
It could be done.
It won’t please people. But it isn’t meant to.
Selfishly, it’s meant for me.
Me and the baby. I have an idea she’ll thank me later, when her naps remain undisturbed.
When she is not passed from person to person to be ogled and played with as though she were a doll.
I know I can do this. I know I can make it happen.
I just have to be patient.
And as hard as patience is it beats the hell out of running into the woods screaming wildly to myself as I often picture. The end result. The madwoman driven to extremes. The madwoman howling in the forest. Or in the white-padded room.
I’m not really exaggerating. This won’t happen, but it depicts quite clearly how I feel.
So, patience and a bit of circumstantial manipulation and I can have my life back.
It’s not too much to ask, is it?
It’s not too much to work for.
I’ve been here before and I’m sure it can be done.
6th May 2013
10th May SIDENOTE: I recently came across this quote which I feel sums up a great deal on the subject of being alone, and its importance:
I think I’d like to say only that they should learn to be alone and try to spend as much time as possible by themselves. I think one of the faults of young people today is that they try to come together around events that are noisy, almost aggressive at times. This desire to be together in order to not feel alone is an unfortunate symptom, in my opinion. Every person needs to learn from childhood how to be spend time with oneself. That doesn’t mean he should be lonely, but that he shouldn’t grow bored with himself because people who grow bored in their own company seem to me in danger, from a self-esteem point of view. ~ Andrei Tarkovsky (Russian Filmmaker)