August 26, 2001

Cocooning


I do this at times, particularly in the summer.
(Ever contrary...)

I sometimes call it hibernating but I'm not really asleep.

This summer has been one of the most extreme. Days can go by without my leaving the house.

I'm perfectly content to exist within these walls, doing minimal household chores and being close to the computer at all times.

I'm not afraid to go out. If I have an appointment or need to go shopping, I go. No anxiety or panic attacks.
It's not agoraphobia, fear of being out in the open. I like open spaces.
If anything, I tend towards the opposite, claustrophobia. Sometimes in school I needed to walk out of the lectures (mostly those in the large auditoriums) and go outdoors. Something about not having a ceiling overhead makes me feel free.

But yet, I stay at home.

I began to be a little concerned about it but then realized that I'm cocooning. Perhaps not in the exact sense that the word is meant nowadays, as making the home into a bunkered refuge from the world, but in a more literal sense. Dare I hope that there's a metamorphosis going on?

It's been a long time since I reinvented myself. Each time I do, almost everything gets left behind. When I left school, I left those friends and associates and picked up new ones at work. I took commerce courses at night then, and found another group but that disappeared when I began to stay home with the babies, as did my work relationships.

Even in the same physical community I've gone through several incarnations; in the late 80's - early 90's I immersed myself in local institutional committees - school, library, community center. When I left that (due to an excess of politics) I ended up in a small support group that had playing cards as an excuse for getting together. Of course there's been bowling for the last 15 years or so, and school committee (not the same one as previously) for the last five.

But the point was reinventing myself. For me that's easy. I do it in real life and I've done it a few times online.
Just find a new arena and start over.
Why?
To see if I can; also to shed old problems and conflicts and start with a new skin.
For me starting fresh is the easy way out. I can tolerate solitude and the sense of not belonging for awhile, if it's the alternative to dealing with conflict.

What's confusing me now (perhaps) is that it's time, again, to enter a new stage in my life; but now I can't just be reborn with no baggage.
I have kids.
Practically adult kids, but kids all the same.

Kids who don't need their Mommy to be physically present at all times (although they might LIKE that to be the case) but who unquestionably are part of her life.

I don't know how to juggle all this.

Hence, withdrawing, not to wallow in depression (I'm not depressed) but to allow the greater part of my brain the space and time to sift through it.

Is this a rationalization, an excuse for inaction?

I don't think so. If it persists much longer I'll have to reevaluate that but at the moment I feel there's an awful lot going on under the surface.

Besides, I have been getting out some - I've begun walking as exercise. Not strolling to the corner for an ice cream, but walking. Half an hour the first day, 45 minutes the second, over some gentle hills. And my leg muscles feel it. I'm embarrassed to admit that but there it is.

I prefer walking in the hour or so before sunset. The sun doesn't beat down and the light is softer. I don't bring a radio or cassette player because I prefer to listen to the sounds around me, and because the headphones (or even just those ear-button thingys) create the illusion of being in an enclosed space. Yesterday I heard birds, cars, lots of Greek music, and people. I wondered what it's like to feel settled in one place. Perhaps the people who sit on their patios as the sun sets, chatting with family and neighbours don't feel that way; but it looks as if they do.

I don't envy them - I'm a little afraid of them.
Well, not of them but of ending up like them.
Now all I have to do is figure out what I do want.

One thing I want is to wish a HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Stephanie, who recently (after much hinting, cajoling and outright nagging) launched her own journal:

Linque Du Jour:   Yer Blues

Stephanie and I have known each other over five years (forever in internet time) and although we first met on IRC (Internet Relay Chat) we have since met in person so I know she's not a twelve year old boy trying to divine the secrets of the middle-aged woman, nor a perverted businessman who has nothing better to do while commuting back and forth between New York and Hong Kong than play email lady.

I'm not sure when it began but we've been emailing daily for at least four of those years.
Daily, barring vacations and power outages.
With between about five and fifteen email threads going on at any one time.
She is so much a part of my life I can't imagine not having her there.
In fact, she is probably the only part of my life that I have never imagined parting with no matter what incarnation I take on.
I love you, Stephanie!

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