This afternoon I opened my journal, turned to about the 75th page and started writing. It was bad, bad writing. So…I looked back and found this, written September 8, 2008:
“I think that something is definitely up with me – I’m sure it’s some form of depression, but exactly what’s brought it on or what could make it go away are beyond my recognition at the moment. Weekends have become a time of complete laziness for me, and not the helpful, re-energizing kind but more the negative, what-am-I-doing-with-my-life kind. This is particularly pronounced on weekends home in Nashville, where it’s no small feat if I even leave my house in 24 hours.
About five years ago, introversion decided not so much to sweep over me like a breeze as crash upon me like a tidal wave. There were two months that were pretty bleak, and then all seemed to get better (the reason for which I recognize, and also recognize that it’s a story for another day). I became my usual, teetering-toward-extroversion self and everything seemed to go back to normal. But…changes crept in. I began to use the excuse “Well, if I’m not going to enjoy myself anyway, I just won’t go” far too often. I don’t feel like I ever completely fell off the face of the planet, but more than one person commented on a change in my demeanor. I remember a pretty vivid conversation with [a good friend] ending with “You’re different now” and this had to have been at least two years ago. This weekend, though, I decided to skip the birthday party of a friend…[content deleted]…and I kick myself even harder for missing out on things like that. Everything clicked when I got a voice mail this afternoon saying “Yes, let’s meet for supper…I always need to remind myself to get out of the house on Sunday nights.”
Having spent some time thinking about it, here are a few things I’ve fleshed out:
1) Is it because I don’t journal anymore? In my current journal [the same one I wrote in today, 2011], the first entry is November 14, 2005; ten pages later is June 7, 2007 and then 14 pages later is this entry. By not writing anything down, am I hoarding it all? Does the physical act of putting pen to pad and pouring out thoughts open up space for peace? I don’t know, but I’m willing to give it a shot and I vow to write at least two or three times a week beginning now.
2) By pointing out my lack of journaling first, I haven’t overlooked the obvious spiritual need in my life. We are called, as the Church, into fellowship and community, something I’ve definitely stopped putting energy into. A couple of courses of action:
a) Actually commit to a church community group. This hasn’t gone well for me in recent groups and it’s been easy to blame others. I plan to commit more of myself – my attention, my time, my compassion and my service – to the people in my community, whatever my initial (and, more than likely, secondary…because I’m that shallow) thoughts are.
b) Commit to my personal “chosen community” – the group of friends I’ve made here in Nashville. As hard as it will be to get past my preconceptions. As hard as it will be to get past my preconceptions of a sponsored community group, I know that this second one will actually be more difficult. What I’ve been doing, basically, is taking people for granted. Not treating them badly necessarily (although I’m sure someone might think so), but rather taking for granted what our relationship is – and could be – due to limitations I’ve already placed on it. I know that I have a tendency to do this for several reasons. First, there are friends whose actions I can predict and who I figure can also see right through me. I convince myself that it’s not always necessary to seek out their company and, more importantly, advice, because I can pretty much predict the outcome. As embarrassingly corny as this is, it’s like that scene in National Treasure (yes, I’m going there) where the girl says “Just because you know my answer doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask.” In my instance, on a friendship level, I need to remember that just because I know what someone will say or do doesn’t mean I don’t need the actual company of that person.
Secondly, I can revert back to high school when dealing with that “outer ring” of friends – and you know who I’m talking about. Surprisingly, they always seem to stay in that outer ring…funny how that works. These are friends that I would do anything for…except, apparently, try to engage in deep, one-on-one conversation and interaction. The reasons for this are many, and include justifications like “Well, they were this close friend’s friend first; I don’t want to come across as competitive.” Seriously. This is what runs through my head. Seriously.
It’s not that I’m balancing precariously on the edge. Or agoraphobic. Or a mean bitch (because, everyone knows, it can come across this way). I just need to snap out of it and re-enter the world. And I need your help.”
At another place and time, I’m going to hash out what New Year’s resolutions mean to me, but reading over this old journal entry, I think I’ve got a game plan mapped out for me.
Opening the door…
*in the non-deity sense of the word, of course