you will have a better life if you just stay home (or maybe not)
I was invited to a small houseparty yesterday. I'm not terribly close to the host and would have only known her and two other friends at the party, but I fully intended on going anyway. I didn't have any reason not to. But when 6 PM rolled around, I struggled to get out of bed.
While in bed listening to the wrong song for the millionth time I came across an NYT video about the loneliness epidemic. It dawned on me that I could have contributed a long testimonial for the video with little to no preparation, which hit a little too close to home. Group gatherings of more than two don't do much to make me feel less lonely, but then I remembered my therapist telling me I couldn't keep hiding from the world and waiting to be saved.
Besides, I needed content. I've been running out of things to write about while sitting at home all day and doing the same things every week. Pulling stories from the memory vault and polishing them into stories is hard: I have to remake the memories myself as I recall them in bits and pieces.
House parties present all sorts of unspoken rules that I never learned growing up as the reclusive son of shut-in parents. Don't show up early, or even on time, because it puts pressure on the host. Never show up empty handed, even if the host says so. I have to decide far more than just what to wear: should I bring drinks or snacks? How much? How late should I show up?
I overshot it. I thought Indian house parties would start later, but I was the last one there, a hour after the official start time. Oops.
I also hadn't mentally prepared to meet new people. I knew in the back of my head that there'd be unfamiliar faces there, but after responding to the first What's your name? I got hit with a quick What do you do? and blanked. I had no idea what to say. (Small talk, dark and terrible trials indeed.)
It ended up being okay. I started telling people I was working part-time as a writing tutor, and the responses amused me. You must be a great writer! struck me as a hilarious response, because other than its factual inaccuracies, nobody ever said the same regarding my coding prowess when I was a software engineer. Teaching writing is almost certainly the closest I've gotten to having a noble job, and I haven't even started yet! (Cue fraudulent feelings.)
I brought my new copy of Wavelength that I bought as a birthday gift to myself, and it was a hit! We also played Coup and Mario Kart 8 on the Switch. All in all, it was a timely reminder that contrary to what my favorite sticker (below) suggests, I can't stay inside all day and expect to get better, and that things are rarely as bad (or good) as I imagine they might be.
One of my favorite stickers. I really like the store's other designs too.
It's hard for me to get out listening to lyrics like this all day, but I did it, and I'm proud! Baby steps.
Mis amigas hoy salieron y yo aquí en mi cuarto me quedé
My friends went out today, and I stayed here in my room
Escuchando nuestro playlist, viendo fotos que no publiqué
Listening to our playlist, looking at photos that I didn't post
Dicen que no está bien llamarte, pero igual aquí nada está bien
They say it's not okay to call you, but still, nothing's okay here
No sé si decir "te amo", que te odio, que te quiero ver
I don't know whether to say "I love you", that I hate you, that I want to see you