August 18, 2006

I Didn't Mean to Make Anyone Sad

It's not that I'm trying to make anyone sad, or depressed, I'm just sort of musing aloud about a comment that should never have taken place. (see previous post where past life best friend almost didn't want to write because her life couldn't 'compete' with mine. Whatever...) Life isn't a competition, it's a series of choices. I've made mine, she backed into hers. But who's to say one is better than the other? And why should that keep anyone from saying hello to an old friend?

I'm quite happy with my life, I really am. I'm living the choices I've decided are in my best interest. The idea of going home and settling down to raise a family only depresses me. As it would my family. I'm not cut out for that life. Never was, never will be. So why try to fit myself into that role? I'm a gypsy, it's not for everyone and I realize that. I don't need a base, I don't need to be grounded, I prefer not to know what's next. Not many people can live that way. I know this, why don't others? What is so glamorous about having my belongings in 4 different US states? Every time I embark on a new adventure, I lose things. I pack them, leave them with someone, ship them somewhere... if I'm lucky, the person who is minding them gets sick of my crap and nags me until I retrieve said items. If I'm not lucky, well, I believe this is why eBay was created.

I used to have a house filled with things that I loved. And those things went with me from apartment to apartment over the years. My brother even remarked upon it on visit: different place, different part of the city, but some things don't change. And then he laughed. I believe he was petting my sofa at the time. (not so strange, that sofa was the most comfortable thing many of us have ever been on and was actually the focus of many heated custody battles the night before any big move. College Boyfriend still mourns the loss of the sofa. He spend many happy hours napping there. Rest in Peace Blue Sofa) When I made the move to Los Angeles for grad school, I decided to chunk it all and start fresh. Actually, the idea was to go on as many exchange programs as possible and just not come home. Didn't quite happen that way, thanks you Bob. Anyway, before I left I had a garage sale, which all my friends dropped by and contributed to my education by purchasing stuff they had secretly been coveting. It was an odd day. Haggling over books and pillows while sipping champagne out of crystal flutes. (no one said I couldn't liquidate my life in style) Overwhelmingly, the comment from friends was "are you sure about this? If you want it back later, just let me know." People were just generally uneasy about the idea of me not owning STUFF. Sure, I miss my kitchen gadgets and my books but not enough to ship all that crap to Ireland. Maybe the Doonesbury Anthologies. And really, for the amount of time I spent in my studio at grad school, I only needed a sleeping bag, coffee maker, and toiletries. I ask you, where was Pimp My Ride then, huh?

I am compelled to throw things out. I have a unhealthy need to throw things away and simplify. How many people do you know that can say that? So getting rid of those things that tie me to a place or a time aren't as powerful as perhaps the average person would feel about such things. I keep the important stuff (pictures, wine glasses) but the rest can be better used by others. That doesn't make me glamorous; that makes me... wasteful? ... light? ... in the world not of the world? I don't know what that makes me but I know that my life, how ever it is to be described, is not for everyone. Just as many lives are not for me. So why the constant comparison? And why do I feel so defensive just now?

4 comments:

Mikeachim said...

I'd imagine you're feeling defensive because you're not following the general pattern, which is something some people genuinely can't seem to understand.
I certainly feel like that sometimes - and I think I'm very similar to you in the ways you've listed in this post.
......
'Stuff' stresses me out dreadfully. Necessities, yes (useful things), but not stuff (nice but unnecessary) and junk (useless). And it pleases me greatly to minaturise. Deep down, there's a part of me that is a hardened hiker, and likes doing things like sawing my toothbrush in half to cut down the weight of my backpack. (It's never manifested as extremely as that, buit there's always time). I like having a room filled only with things that I use or will use in the immediate future. It pleases my sense of space.
This gives....
A freedom of mind. An ability to decide to leap, with both feet: like a healthy bank balance gives financial freedom. It makes me much more able to think "f*** it, why don't I just [harebrained scheme] instead of just talking about it?".
Stuff and Junk prevent that. They have mental weight. They're diving-boots of the soul. I frigging hate them....at least at this point of my life.
.....
There are things I want, sure. They drive me onwards. But it doesn't stop me feeling like I've made my bed, and I'm lying in it, and never mind that the pillows are at the wrong end to most folk's expectations or that it's lower to the floor than some people would feel easy with, or it's actually a hammock.....I'm quite comfortable, thankyouverymuch.
That's the vibe I'm getting from your post, too, if I'm reading it correctly....

D-Vaz said...

Life is full of comparisons. Whether you direct focus to it on purpose or accidently stumble upon it, human nature is to compare one's life to everyone elses. Those things that do no exist in one's life tends to draw stronger feelings and emotions to those in which one does have. Best scenerio I can think of right now came from the greatest program to grace the Fox Television Channel, you know what I'm getting at, "The Simpsons." There was this episode where Homer meets his long lost half brother Herbert and he is a stinking millionaire (I don't know how much he stinks, but he is millionaire nonetheless). Homer's first impression of what his brother's life is is that of WOW! I wish I had his life. But before Homer can voice his opinion, Herbert tells Homer he is the richest person he knows. Without knowing anything else of the person he just met, an analysis is made comparing their lives with each other. Back to you B. I'm just using money as an example. I know it is not a direct issue you have brought up B, so readers, no need to send any hate mail. Anything that is different from the norm (covered by your friend Mikeachim) is automatically compared with oneself's life and seen as "glamorous" just because it doesn't exist in "MY" life. Your friend doesn't know if you are truly happy or truly miserable. She just sees that she wishes she could expand her life like you have. If it makes you feel any better B, I'm not involved in any competition with you.

B said...

THanks Vaz. Its' nice to know you will never covet my life. Until I win the lotto and buy my villa in italy. And even then, I think you'd be happier for me to live there knowing you'd have a free place to stay. :-)

Mike, very astute and a little deep. I've thought for awhile that you and I are quite a bit alike, I'm rather glad to hear you remark on it. Mind you, I'd never saw my toothbrush in half (it's a lovely sonic one, there'd be battery acid all over and hell to pay) But yes, stuff, as much as I like my things, can always be re-aquired if need be. Even though I'm whining now about missing things, I'm stil much happier to be here without than back in Texas with. But my life? So far from glam. It just amuses me when people remark on it. It annoys me when they compare. IT's not fair to either of us really and that's what bothers me most. By comparing squares and circles, the comparer is always selling themselves short, denigrating the things they hold most dear, for the idea of what another's reality is. I really had wished my life would be more glam than it was in DFW. And it is in a couple of ways, but overwhelmingly, I still have the same boring job, hang out with friends on the weekends, do my laundry and grocery shopping whenever I muster the enthusiam or run out of stuff.

Dunno. It just depresses me that people compare hypotheticals and then see themselves on the negative side of things. And I feel like I have to go out of my way to let them know that my life is just the same as theirs. Even if there are some fundamental differences.

Nichole said...

I really love you for this post, Beth.