Sunday, November 15, 2009
The Beverly Project- Six weeks in
I'm actually doing okay. While it pains me to admit this, I'm much better off over all that I was in Cambridge. There are many reasons for this but I think a major one is that while I live alone, I see more people socially than I did when I lived in Cambridge. This is not just better for me in the, general "laugh with friends and you'll live longer" way, but it also makes me less afraid of people in general. This is probably a good thing. While I still have some free-floating social anxiety, I also have concrete evidence that I can in fact interact with other people without annoying them or pissing them off or boring them.
For this I have Mike and Ellen to thank (and thank them I do-every morning when I wake up on the bed they donated to my cause.) Ellen came with me to look at this apartment (she actually found the apartment on Craig's List) and hugged me and took me to the beach when I started crying after visiting it. Mike took me to Target and BJ's (and made me laugh until I fell down at the ridiculous stuff they have there. I believe the killing blow was "Wow-here's enough Splenda to get yourself a flipper-baby."), helped me get furniture and took me to Sugar Magnolias and Dom's Trattoria. He also killed the big spider that I found on the bookshelf they're lending me.
There's more to this than just Mike and Ellen being wonderful people. (Or people just being nicer in general in Beverly than they were in Cambridge-my upstairs neighbors are friendly guys-I have no idea what my upstairs neighbors in Cambridge looked like.) And some of this is, in hind sight, so obvious that I kick myself.
In Cambridge I had given up on people-except for a few. I decided that since I wasn't any good at dealing with people I just wouldn't. I'd "outsource" people-dealing to Sean, who was much better at it than I was, I thought.
But (although I admit I may feel differently in February) I feel much better dealing with people now. Perhaps it helps that even if I don't yet (and may never) feel completely comfortable in my own skin, I'm a little more grounded now that I have my own place by myself. Perhaps it's that the people I meet socially through Mike and Ellen are people who I would have got on with better anyways (and therefore I should have spent more time with them anyways-der) than the people that Sean introduced me to. Perhaps it's the sea air (that certainly helps.)
It's still also kind of terrifying-having friends that are my friends-not Sean's. But I am cautiously optimistic.
This afternoon I was in Ellen's car (she was driving) with Ellen, Mike, Hiro, and Elisa and Mike started singing "South Australia" by the Pogues. I threw in an attempt at a Shane MacGowan scream (which Ellen said sounded like a Velociraptor) and then I found the tune in my iPod and Mike plugged it into their car's stereo system. We sang the Pogues (and Mike made the dog dance) while driving to Newburyport. I didn't know I was allowed to have this much fun anymore. And then it occurred to me that for some people this is the norm.