If We Were Having Coffee // People Exhaust Me

Hello dear readers! Happy Sunday, welcome, and thank you for stopping by for a bit of caffeine and catching up. I apologize for the lateness of today’s post, and for the absence of last week’s.

My sister and her kids were in town and I didn’t want to do anything but spend time with them. And then, when it came for them to leave, I was too sad to write. I didn’t know how to get back into it and I didn’t know what to say when I tried. Slowly but surely I’m returning to the version of myself I am without them here and finding the will to write again, starting today.

So, pull up a chair and fill up a cup, we have a fresh batch of blond roast cold brew, or, as I recently saw it referred to, “anxiety gasoline“. Let’s talk about last week!

“I never laugh until I’ve had my coffee.”

— Clark Gable

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that the world has been overwhelming lately. I have been cowering inside my little bubble more and more and this week managed to reach levels of introversion that I have never experienced before.

Around midweek the old “nausea and the urge to run away just before I turned into my workplace parking lot” feeling returned and by Friday, I was struggling to leave the car and walk in. I remember at one point turning to my girlfriend, sighing, and saying to her, “People exhaust me, even the people I like, they just wear me out” before shutting the car door and walking in.

My headphones have been a life saver, allowing me to pop in and out of the world as I want to or am able. The pets have helped too.

The cat comes and goes from around me as she wants, and the dog is available to bring me out of myself, making me feel loved and appreciated in a way that humans can’t. Of course, my main source of support is my fiance, but this time of year is her most stressful and she needs more from me than she can give back, and that’s okay. My problems aren’t always the most pressing and I, like almost everyone, need to be reminded every once in a while to pull my head out of my own ass, put my own sufferings aside, and be a source of support and empathy rather than continually seeking it.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that not all is so bleak as it sounds. Work has been a bit tense sure, but my team and I are killing it! We’ve tackled every task thrown our way with no complaints or drama between us. See, my main job is riding on school buses with special needs kids, keeping the kids happy and safe, but that is only part of what I do. The other part is teaching new employees how to do it too and keeping our existing staff trained and knowledgeable.

This time of year is very busy for us too. We want to make sure everyone has the knowledge they need to start the school year on the right foot and we have new people starting too. We also have to get ready for our own routes and get used to coming in early and going home much later again. Still, my team and I, we’re doing our best to be our best and we can only get it done by showing up, with positivity and determination. I’m grateful for at least that.

Even if I can’t always love what I do, I can show up and find, even on the worst days, an encouraging environment and the motivation to do my job well.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that, as far as writing goes, things went as they usually do. I wrote plenty and posted almost nothing, and as usual, I hope things go a little bit better in the coming week.

I want to get back to posting my “journal” posts and finish up a couple of found poems I started the week before last. The trick will be finding the energy to work in the evening. I will be too busy during my usual “writing hours”, 9:30 to 11:00 AM or so. I don’t expect to produce very much but anything at all would be better than none and that is all I am asking of myself before Friday.

I didn’t get my newsletter out as I had hoped to but I’m hoping it will be ready next weekend. I may send it earlier if it’s done. I think opening up the schedule and allowing for dispatches whenever I can get them out might help me send them more often.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that despite all the stress and depression around me, I actually had a really good weekend. Friday night we went out to find a place where we might get a few good oysters and a nice bottle of wine. We found the place and proceeded to shack off the stress of the week and enjoy the first date night we’ve had in weeks. Afterward, we walked over to Whole Foods for a few sweetie treats and then back home to pick a romantic movie to fall asleep to.

Yesterday we checked out the Museum of Contemporary Art during their “$0.01 admission fee for local residence” event. Walking around art galleries has always been one of those activities that I want to do, but feel like I don’t know how to do right. What I mean is, I like looking at art, but I’m not very good at analyzing art. I’m better at finding the beauty, less at meaning, but for one cent! I couldn’t pass up the opportunity.

I’d never been to the MCA. I’ve been to the Denver Art Museum plenty of times, but this was something very different and I quite enjoyed it. Plus I learned about new programs and found out about the “Octopus Initiative“, a chance for Denverites to borrow artwork the way you might borrow a book from the library. I signed up immediately and can’t wait to find out if I’ve been picked to take home a piece, to hang and enjoy for a while, before replacing it with another.

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that I spent a lot of my time bingeing the newest season of Orange is the New Black on Netflix. It was…okay. I like that the show brings to light much of the injustice found in the American judicial and prison system, but it’s hard to immerse yourself in that feeling and awareness when you have Piper, the shows main character, walking around being idiotic and completely ridiculous with little or no consequence.

I’m still watching Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown too, but I’m not rushing it. I like watching one or three episodes and then letting them sit with me for up to a week before diving in for a few more.

I also watched the first episode of the new HBO show, Random Acts of Flyness. I don’t know how to describe to you what this show is about. HBO has said it’s a “fluid, stream-of-consciousness response to the contemporary American mediascape.” It’s surreal, dark, and overwhelming which makes it hard to decide at first whether you like it or not, but eventually, you get it. Think of it as a kaleidoscope of black experience but from the inside looking out rather than the outside in. It’s a must watch for sure!

***

If we were having coffee I would tell you that it’s getting on toward dinner time, which means it’s time for me to panic over everything I haven’t accomplished yet. It’s time to rush around to get the laundry done, the dishwasher loaded, and emotionally prepare for the coming work week which is somehow already impossibly packed with assignments to complete.

I hope you had a good week. I hope you were productive. I hope you found a way to stay cool and to take care of yourself. I hope you were able to relax this weekend and that your coming week will be better than the last in whatever way you need it to be.

Until next time.

***

Thanks for reading! If you like this post check out my weekly-ish newsletter for inspiring reads + existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering. Or help support what I do by sharing a virtual cup of coffee.

Written for the #WeekendCoffeeShare link-up hosted by Eclectic Alli

Photo by Alex Loup on Unsplash

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200//365 — Introverted

I used to think I was an extrovert type because I love people so much, but I didn’t understand what extroversion and introversion meant. I thought it was just a fancy way of saying you were more confident or shy.

I love people. No matter what I have ever said in the past out of frustration or disappointment, I truly do love people. I love the way people inspire me. I love who I am when I am with people. I love watching the way people socialize among themselves. People, for better or worse, are the most exciting beings in this universe, and the only life forms who know what it’s like to be a human, alive, and aware like me.

But there is something that happens when humans get together. We use each other up. We don’t mean to, but we can’t help it. We swap out what is inside of us for what is inside of others, trading emotions, and ideas. We give away what we want to get rid of and take what we wish we had. Some people are energized by this. Others, like me, are drained.

People wear down my defenses. They get in under my skin and into my head. Their emotions get mixed up with my emotions, and their actions pull me along to places I’m never sure I want to go. After a while begin to panic. I feel I have to get away or else I’ll be lost. I feel convinced they’ll take everything in me and—knowing from past experience—that what they give back I won’t have the first clue what to do with.

I want to be alone to find myself again.

Still, I love them, and I keep going back.

Sigh.

***

I’m doing something new here. In addition to my regular blog post, I’m adding these journal entries. The goal is to post one every day hence the title of each will be the current day number out of 365. I was inspired to try this by Thord D. Hedengren.

Oh, and, as always, thank you for reading. If you like this post check out my weekly-ish newsletter for inspiring reads + existential musings on life, love, and inevitable human suffering. Or help support what I do by sharing a virtual cup of coffee.

Writer’s Quote Wednesday // Franz Kafka

Hello, hello, and welcome to the middle of the week, dear readers. If you are feeling a little run down or if Friday is feeling a bit too far away, I encourage you to check out Writer’s Quote Wednesday, a weekly event hosted by Colleen of Silver Threading and Ronovan of Ronovan Writes.

For my contribution this week, I have chosen a quote from the poet Franz Kafka.

***

kafka

Czech writer Franz Kafka [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Franz Kafka was one of the major fiction writers of the 20th century. He was born to a middle-class German-speaking Jewish family in Prague, Bohemia (presently the Czech Republic), Austria–Hungary. Kafka’s first language was German, but he was also fluent in Czech. Later, Kafka acquired some knowledge of French language and culture; one of his favorite authors was Flaubert.

His unique body of writing—much of which is incomplete and which was mainly published posthumously—is considered to be among the most influential in Western literature.

His stories include The Metamorphosis and In the Penal Colony, while his novels are The Trial, The Castle, and Amerika. His work, which fuses elements of realism and the fantastic, typically features isolated protagonists faced by bizarre or surrealistic predicaments and incomprehensible social-bureaucratic powers and has been interpreted as exploring themes of alienation, existential anxiety, guilt, and absurdity. The term Kafkaesque has entered the English language to describe situations like those in his writing.

Kafka’s writing attracted little attention until after his death. During his lifetime, he published only a few short stories and never finished any of his novels, unless The Metamorphosis is considered.

Prior to his death, Kafka wrote to his friend and literary executor Max Brod: “Dearest Max, my last request: Everything I leave behind me … in the way of diaries, manuscripts, letters (my own and others’), sketches, and so on, [is] to be burned unread.” Brod overrode Kafka’s wishes, believing that Kafka had given these directions to him specifically because Kafka knew he would not honor them—Brod had told him as much. Brod, in fact, would oversee the publication of most of Kafka’s work in his possession, which soon began to attract attention and high critical regard.

Max Brod encountered significant difficulty in compiling Kafka’s notebooks into any chronological order as Kafka was known to start writing in the middle of notebooks, from the last towards the first, etc.

Kafka died on June 3, 1924. The cause of death seemed to be starvation, as laryngeal tuberculosis had caused his throat to close and made eating too painful for him.

“Writing is utter solitude, the descent into the cold abyss of oneself.”

— Franz Kafka

***

I used to think I was an extrovert. I liked being around people, and I found talking and interacted to be easy. Yeah, I was a little shy with new people at first, but once I got talking, I could go on and on and on. I thought introverted meant you were very shy or found talking and interacting with people difficult or uncomfortable. That wasn’t me.

But I realized that after a few hours of being around other people, I felt exhausted. Their questions and expectation begin to irritate me. I start to wish they would all go away or that I could escape. If I can’t leave or if they won’t I usually end up putting my headphones in and choosing to ignore people so that I can pretend to be alone.

Recently I learned that being an extrovert or introvert is not about how easy it is to interact with people, the terms “actually relate to where we get our energy from.” Extroverts gain energy from being around people, introverts, on the other hand, get energy from being alone. I realized I am actually an introvert.

Looking back over my life, it all makes sense. I don’t like group activities or sports. I don’t like working as a team. I never feel very excited before seeing friends or going out among crowds. I like people, but I like being alone more.

That may be part of why I like writing so much. It’s something I can do alone, something other people cannot be a part of. After being alone and writing I feel better. I feel like I can jump back into deep and lively conversation, for a while.

I am lucky that the people around me understand and accept that I need to be alone. They don’t take it personally, and they don’t try to force me to talk or laugh with them. They think it is just because I have to write they don’t know, or understand, that I need to “recharge.”

I need the world to slow down. I need the world to quiet down. I need to be with just myself so that I can adjust myself to myself and absorb, contemplate, and categorize all that has happened to me and around me. I need to process everything slowly and deliberately and note the ways I have changed in the past few hours.

It might sound unnecessary to an extrovert, but for an introvert, and a writer, it’s important that I not let my own thoughts and feeling be overshadowed or forgotten in the flow of conversation and events that happen whenever people gather.

I need time to think about what it all means and how I feel so that I can use it in my writing and then return to the world, surer of who I am and where I fit in this world.

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Biographical information via Wikipedia and Goodreads

Featured image via Adam Lofting