Friday, March 27, 2009

Working at Play

Today's entry may veer into ranting territory, and if it does, I apologize in advance. I'm trying to avoid ranting and trying to stay on the clean edge of my experience, but I am working through something difficult, and I need some help. I welcome and invite comments and insights.

I have a great friend who is a social butterfly. An Intergalactic Pixie, if you will. She is one of the most delightful people I've ever met, and she moves through the world encountering only friends. She knows how to have fun, and relishes doing it. No crowd is too loud, no party too hearty - she flutters in, sprinkles some pixie dust, and flutters out, usually with a few business cards in her pocket of the people she's just met. I'm very blessed to have this friend, and especially blessed that she invites me to join her. I WANT TO!!!

And I don't want to. I am so torn, to the point of rent in two, when it comes to the big, bad dilemma of "Going Out." I have a laundry list of reasons why I can't go out. I actually have a list of 40+ different things that I believe I "need" in order to be able to go out. The list ranges from "I need to eat 'normal' food" all the way to "I need to have the right clothes and accessories" and "I need to know the right places to go." I believe everything from "I need to be invited" all the way to "I need to go out by myself." The ideas are conflicting and contradictory, and while I know, intellectually, that none of them are empirically true, I believe that every single one of them is intrinsically true to my experience.

I'm not agoraphobic, although since losing my job I have spent a great deal of time looking at the world through the viewpoint of my bed, via my computer screen. When I leave the house, my favorite things to do are to go on long walks in the park, to meet friends for lunch, to meet friends for juice, to go to Whole Foods or a coffeehouse (and work on my computer or write in my journal), or to meet up with small groups of friends along with my BF. I love to go out in nature with my BF - we love to go hiking and riding his motorcycle or on a car trip; in the summer we go to the pool. We're very much daytime-hours people. Most of my going out happens during the day.

But I LOVE getting dressed up and going out. I love it. I love going dancing, I just hate crowds and I hate paying a cover and I hate the club scene. I just want to dance to good music. I love seeing live music, if it's good, and not too loud, and not boring cock-rock. I love doing things that are completely absurd, like dressing up in costume for no reason and being in character. It's easier for me to go out in character. But I also love doing hippie things like dancing around a fire. I love going camping. And I love art and theater and all that good stuff.

But when it comes to going out these days, when the call (or text or email invite comes through) I freeze. I absolutely freeze. So much on top of it, the innocent invitation turns into a horrific task, and then what if I don't have a good time on top of it? I can stay home and read and write and learn and have so much fun, even if I'm not interacting with people. But I need people.

Do you see the dilemma? Do you see how it has me torn? I'm such a workaholic - I'm the most workaholic unemployed person you've ever met. Even now, when I'm supposed to be taking a sabbatical to regain my creativity, I have fallen into a workaholic trap of trying to get someone else's project off the ground and feeling like I have to push-push-push to get my own projects off the ground. I haven't done any creative exploration, nor have I done any social interaction (ok, I've done a tiny bit. A teeny-tiny bit.) - I've been working. Because I don't know how to play.

It's exhausting. I want to be an Intergalactic Pixie, too.

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