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Solving for One...

I think I have been attempting to solve this issue since I was a very young child.  I feel alone, a lot.  I AM alone a lot.  And I have always felt it acutely.  And the problem is not that I am alone, the problem is that I have always seen this as a problem.  

Somewhere deep in the past, I made a decision that being alone was something to get over, around, away from.  Time spent with my own thoughts, and then the attendant behaviors was something that I just had to get away from.  So I sought relief, solace and escape in any way I could.

I am pretty sure my first addiction was sugar, but then getting unalone came in a close second.  I learned to use people to change the way I felt.  If I was feeling down, call a friend and now I was distracted from my sadness.  If I was in despair or hurting, call a friend and get out of that feeling immediately.  I used people the way I used substances.  And I think while I have known this for a very long time, I never really saw where it came from, that this was just another form of running away.  I disappeared into other people so that I would not have to deal with my own inner turmoil and pain.  You were the solution to my angst and existential crisis.  You would do.

Except you didn’t.  Ever.  The relief I got in the company of others was always fleeting and never long lasting.  It was so easy to define you right out of the equation:

“Not the right kind of you”

“There is a better you, just over that horizon, and that you make me happy...”

“If You would just be more _____ or less _____ then you would be perfect”

But the joke, like so many I am finding lately, is actually upon me, because it was never about you to begin with...It has and always was about me and my inability to just be me. Nothing added, nothing subtracted.

See I have always felt like too much and not enough at the very same time.  And this is how I have felt the whole of my life.  And you were the thing that I used to attempt to balance me out.  I say attempt because it never really worked.  I mean I got some temporary relief. And when I stopped getting the relief, I left.  Leaving you to wonder what the fuck just happened.

I don’t like this about myself, but I must own it because it is true.  I use people.  It isn’t that I don’t care about others, It Is just that I cannot seem to care and not lose myself In the process. And I have this absolute fear of being trapped, take over and occupied. So I have accommodated by seeking to get something out of it, but not really ever be able to give without conditions and strings.  I guess the best way to describe it is that my motives have been questionable...always.

And I didn’t want to see this.  And I couldn’t own it either.  I just kept lying to myself, and you (sorry about that) with this idea that you weren’t just the right one and if you could be the right one then you would do this or that or the other thing...but I see now you were never really the problem.  You were the solution.  And somehow I missed my own problemness in the whole ordeal.

See I have always been trying to solve for one. Trying to survive this intimacy with myself while also trying to get you to save me from the depths of hell my own head puts me through.  But you can’t do that - fuck, not even I can, most of the time.  So people and relationships have become just another form of addiction for me.

I never wanted to be alone.  When you are alone, bad shit happens.  And I made a decision when I was very little that if I wasn’t alone, then bad stuff wouldn’t happen.  As an adult, I can see how untrue this actually is.  Bad shit happens to people in groups all the time.  Look at the coming election!  Bad things are going to happen to a great many of us...and there will be far reaching consequences.

So the problem wasn’t being alone, the problem for me was being able to feel safe.  And alone felt unsafe, and with others felt unsafe so I just decided to do my best to not think about it.  And I have to applaud my efforts because to a large degree I have spent the last 50 years doing just that - avoiding being alone or having to confront my unwillingness to deal with how lonely I feel regardless of whether there was anyone there or not.

I guess I am coming to terms with my own addictions in new ways.  All the ways I attempt to self sooth and comfort myself. And I can see now that in reality all I think I have really done is make myself feel more alone and lost all while I attempted to hide away from myself by escaping into people with this idea that what I was really trying to do was build intimate relationships.

Well, I can’t.  Because I am never really wholly there.  Or honest.  I am always hiding myself.  Lying about how I feel or what I think.  I am not sure I have the capacity to be honest about how I feel.  I varies so much and is such a twisted and tangled thing.  And I think, that I hide it because I do not want to own these harder truths about myself. So if you are always the problem, then I am just fine to continue as I am.

What I see now is this setup so that no one engaged with me ever really gets what they want, me included.  I want closeness but I am not really capable of it.  So I give what I think passes as closeness but I always have one foot out the door, so how present am I really?

I do not want to be alone, but I don’t really feel like I can be with others.  So I continue to do this dance that promises more, but I never really find myself capable of delivering.  I am always defining myself out.  Always fault finding so as to expedite the exiting process and inevitably so it goes in all of my social endeavors.  I end up alienating instead of cultivating.

So I have this problem that feels unsolvable.  I can’t be alone with my own thoughts because they plague me and disturb me.  But when I am with you, I find only a very temporary happiness that always devolves into fear and panic and dread that I then need to escape from.

I first attempt to escape myself by using you, then I need to escape you to get back to myself, whom I miss quite desperately.  It is a viscous cycle and I can see it in my life now with such crystalline clarity that it shocks me and scares me at the same time.

So I am hitting bottom here.  My lifelong attempts at solving for one, have left me exhausted and hopeless.  I don’t know how to do it differently, so I think I am just giving up.  There is no other out there capable of surviving my dark twistyness.  Because even if you hang in there with me, I will eventually decide you are the problem and then promptly exit you from my life.

What to do?

Well, it has been a very painful process.  I am trying to stop solving for one and find some acceptance with the idea that perhaps I am just alone.  And that is my best effort. My head torments me still with endless ideas of some other way to live, but I have enough experience under my belt at this stage of life, that I have to interpret the data as it stands...I do not do relationships well.

Perhaps the saddest thing about all of my efforts thus far is that the more I have tried to get closer to people, the worse the reaction, the worse I end up feeling and I hurt people in the process.  I never wanted to be alone or to hurt people...but I think it is time I just accepted that as my fate. The way I seem to need to do things like relationships really can have no other conclusion.  I attract avoidance people because I am avoidant myself. I want you to come close, but not that close.

Right now I am in that place of just allowing all this swirling shitstorm of thoughts and feelings to just settle in.  I am in the acceptance phase.  And I have to tell you that this work, though it looks like nothing perhaps from the outside, is exhausting, excruciating and so very lonely.  But I know this is yet another bottom I need to hit.  I am tired from struggling so hard to avoid the truth I do not want to tell.  I am tired of all the effort required to maintain a status quo I don’t even like.

Sometimes the hardest thing you ever are asked to do it to accept the things that you have spent the whole of your life running away from.  I thought the love of others would make me feel wholer, more complete.  But it hasn’t, not one single time.  Oh, sure, yeah in the beginning.  I feel that you are the most wonderful person in the world.  But then you become real and lose all your luster.  Leaving me searching for the exits...and I find them, every single time. When I look around my life, those lasting relationship I have sustained, while not many, are distant and in that distance I find enough safety to remain.

I have been solving for one, by adding one or some combinations of ones.  And it hasn’t worked, not one single time.  I feel the most alone I think I have ever felt, partly because I am allowing myself to feel it.  And it is brutal mostly because I have spent my lifetime not feeling it so there is quite a bit here to unpack.  And I am coming to a place where I am investigating that perhaps I might need help. I mean more help than I am currently seeking.

Solving for one doesn’t ever seem to work in mathematical equations.  Addition doesn’t work.  Subtraction just always leaves you with the one you were seeking to solve for...multiplication only compounds the issue and division, well that is every addicts idea of solution: disconnect to connect...divide and conquer. And I can affirm that doesn’t really work either.

It is a lot to take on and in when you find yourself pretty far along in life and you just feel so completely alone and unable to do it differently.  It is like my own interior has created a problem that is unsolvable because the interior of me is always going to redefine the terms which always and forever result in me coming back to the only place I feel safe...alone.  Which is the last place I want to be, but the only place I know. I retreat into the interior of myself where the problem of solving for one is always resolved...even as I stand in relation to others, in rooms filled with people who may actually really care about me but I can’t feel it at all because I am too busy over here solving for one.



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