It's been a while, friends—fortunately I have not yet shuffled off this mortal coil. I'm visiting Seattle this week, staying with two good friends. I opted to work this week rather than taking time off, since I usually enjoy the modified workday1 from 5 AM to 2 PM and the half day it affords me to go out and explore, but staying up late chatting, playing word games, and singing karaoke has made it difficult to muster up the energy to capitalize on the three free hours in the early afternoon.
Seattle is breathtakingly beautiful. On the whole car ride to my friend's apartment I was mesmerized by the trees, skyline, ocean, the houses built on hills, trying hard to take it all in. With mountains, ocean, and forest surrounding the city, you can get whatever you want here, provided it's not sunshine. Rain aside, it's not hard to see why people up here in the Pacific Northwest are so outdoorsy; how could you not be with such stunning landscapes and welcoming temps? I could totally imagine myself living here (I've already kind of gotten used to the incessant drizzle), though my friends tell me that's because I haven't lived here when the sun sets at 4 PM in the afternoon and everyone gets seasonal depression. (Though, maybe I'm inoculated against it by having, you know, plain old depression?)
I've spent around two full days wandering around the city now, in neighborhoods including Ballard, Fremont (sadly), Capitol Hill, Pike & Pine, and downtown. I spent about half of that time with friends and the other half on my own, and thoroughly enjoyed both sides: I love the tranquility and unfettered curiosity of exploring alone, and the solitude helps me better appreciates the treasures of company. I've ambled my way through lively farmer's markets, quiet bookstores, and eclectic record stores, grazing on good food (read: cheese) and picking up knickknacks2 and gifts for friends along the way. My friends have taken me on great hikes and out to eat in Seattle's very diverse food scene, which has surprised me with its sheer quantity of Eastern cuisines, especially Chinese. I hear even more Chinese here than I do at home or in San Francisco.
Speaking of my friends, they've been great hosts (which seems to be a common theme among all my friends). They've fed me, showed me around town, and welcomed me into their home with open arms, and I realize I'm very fortunate to have a warm place to stay in most of the big American cities. It feels weird reconciling this overwhelming gratitude with my nagging sense of deep loneliness, because how can I feel so isolated and lonely when I have such great friends who love me?
This paradox sometimes spurs me to read promising articles like the 8 types of friends you need to be happy, which sounded simple enough until I read it and realized the findings were largely useless to me. I know I don't need a Builder, a Champion, or a Collaborator; I just want someone to talk to regularly, which I guess means I need more/better Companions? Or maybe the amount/depth of human connection I desire is set unrealistically high?
When I try to reason my way through my loneliness I often come to the conclusion that there must be something fundamentally wrong about me that keeps people away, some character flaw everyone else can see that I can't, so I do my absolute best to make up for it. I've spent my free time in Seattle cleaning up my friend's apartment, washing dishes, wiping down tables, mopping the floor, even taking their broken vacuum apart to fix it. I've started to appreciate acts of service as a love language more and more, and in fact I thoroughly enjoy helping my friends tidy up as a show of my love. It feels great leaving their place better than I found it, and I hope it means that this won't be my last time visiting.
I've spent the past day worrying about people no longer in my life, which feels stupid because I know my worrying is for naught, but I can't help doing it. I know my suffering is just a foolish way of holding on them, and I also know loving can mean letting go sometimes, but knowing is one thing and doing it is another different thing entirely. If you need me (what for, I can't imagine), I'll be somewhere in Cap Hill.
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yourstiramisu 🐌 proton dot me
I can work from wherever I want as long as I'm online from 8 to 5 Eastern.↩
I feel conflicted getting people souvenirs because I often feel burdened receiving them (what am I gonna do with this trinket?), but my friends really like being thought of and getting little gifts, so I've been trying to get them things that they'll use and that don't take up much space.↩