Processing

I discovered living alone (without other humans, that is) when I was 16, and with the exception of brief sojourns with lovers or short-term transitional situations, it has been my lifestyle of choice ever since.

Close Quarters

Leafy trees show through windows in a wooden door set in a stone wall.Living with other people was what I turned to when I first struck out on my own because it was what I had always done, but I soon realized the omnipresent relationships placed unmanageable demands on my energy. Sometime in my teens I redefined home as the place I go to get away from people and rest, and that is what it has been ever since.

I rarely invite people in. If I feel social, I go out.

Most of my friendships are situational, the sum of proximity + time. That used to feel inadequate, but perhaps my expectations have evolved as I become a better friend to myself. The differences seem less important. Sometimes, as friendships deepen, I discover there are more similarities than I suspected.

Then too, as my life feels more and more like my path, not someone else’s that I somehow strayed into, I am less afraid to reveal a truer version of myself. If someone doesn’t find value in me, that’s about them, and I am not diminished by it. I no longer feel as if I am on the outside of other peoples’ lives, pining to be admitted.

Close for Comfort

The 17 years I lived with my recently deceased feline companion is the longest I have ever lived with anyone, considerably outstripping the time I spent in my childhood home (homes, really. We moved a lot). Now I am rediscovering what it is to live truly alone, expanding into all the spaces previously dedicated to her use, following my own rhythms, answering my own imperatives.
Drawing of electrocardiogram wave paattern with the outline of a walking cat in the middle of it.
And hearing myself think. This could be double-edged, if ultimately healthier. Did I comfort myself with purrs and fur in the face of disturbing thoughts, instead of finding solutions?

Possibly.

We shall see.

Closing the Sale

A headline caught my eye yesterday — what employers value most in potential employees is warmth and competence. “Oho,” thought I. “That’s why I’ve always interviewed so well.”

Like many of my other HSP qualities, warmth is so natural to me, I wasn’t really conscious of it. When employers hired me for my ability to connect with people, I was surprised, and skeptical that I had what they saw.

But when they wanted to wield that ability like a tool, shaping and manipulating customers with it, turning it on and off, I realized they were right, and more. My connections were genuine, therefore I had to honor them, regardless of the interests of my employers. In my HSP sensibility, this was all of a piece. Employers were not so happy about that. No, they did not like that at all.

However, their opportunism made visible to me what I had to offer, and how I wanted to offer it. The authenticity of the connections I make with people is fully realized at last in my relationships with my own clients.
One giant bronze hand meets another, passing something round, against a backdrop of a mountain landscape

Close to Heart

But these are business relationships, cordial, yet circumscribed. I can’t imagine how HSPs successfully navigate intimate relationships. Literally cannot. Nary a stillshot in my otherwise hyper-envisionary mind.

It’s not news to me that relationships are one of my remedial areas in life. Or to put that less judgmentally, are highly challenging. I have become more conscious of my fear of letting someone else too close to the center of my self. It’s well-founded, emotionally speaking, in a harrowing history.

I recognized many years back that I was consistently attracted to the wrong people, and stopped dating. I haven’t missed it much. I realize I have sidestepped an issue rather than resolving it, but that’s the right solution at the moment. Now is not the time, and perhaps this life is not the life, and that’s OK. I have to trust myself before I can trust somebody else.

Closure

My mental life verbalizes its way through adjustment to change. Grief happens more subliminally, below words. And maybe, though analysis has its value, its furious activity is also a refuge from pain which I can only endure in brief bursts.

For all of my words, it is sometimes music that anchors me in a crisis, providing, seemingly at random, a song to characterize this unique passage of my life, and carry me through the tsunami of feeling to peace. This time, a single line from long ago surfaced to guide me to that song:

The shadow of a woman on a sandy beach strewn with stonesLittle pebble upon the sand
Now you’re lying here in my hand
How many years have you been here?
Little human upon the sand
From where I’m lying here in your hand
You to me are but a passing breeze

The sun will always shine where you stand
Depending in which land
You may find yourself
Now you have my blessing
Go your way

Happiness runs in a circular motion
Thought is like a little boat upon the sea
Everybody is a part of everything anyway
You can have everything if you let yourself see
Happiness runs, happiness runs

Why? Oh, because

You can have everything if you let yourself be

(Donovan)

Stages

My life has been in crisis for the past 2 – or is it 3? – weeks. Time is elongated, and the last time things were “normal” seems like a long, long time ago.

I knew my animal companions were getting on in years, and could not live forever, but I shoved that awareness to the back of my mind, because I couldn’t conceive of how to live with losing them. It’s been getting harder to ignore since a scare earlier this year, and now it may be unexpectedly upon me. And I still don’t know how.

Caretaking animals is not so very different from caretaking humans. Sometimes, all you can do is keep them clean and warm and dry, but it’s worth doing. After a day at the vet with one cat, I came home to find another hiding under the bed. It’s been almost 36 hours since she would eat anything, and she is a walking (or rather, stumbling) skeleton already. There is nothing left to do for her if she won’t eat. Continue reading

Life is Weird

So, after two months of no activity whatsoever in my newly chosen career, I suddenly have two clients this week, and both seem promising – that is, both will be good to work with, and need ongoing services.

This is also a week when I’m completing a project that put me in a highly stressful construction environment for the past few months. With the jackhammers shaking the building, and constant voices of workers shouting to each other over the racket day and night, I’ve felt like I was in a war zone.

It’s great to get away from that, but there are endless closing details to manage. If I could, I’d have chosen to do nothing else this week. Instead, I’m doing everything else! I wasn’t sure I could, but I am.
Busy woman at desk with 5 arms, typing, filing, and answering the phone all at the same time
And that’s a general theme of my life lately. I’m scrambling to keep up all the time. Continue reading