Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Doin' the Happy Dance

Got the house to myself, doin' the happy dance...  Don's off to Jersey to do a re-mix of his solo CD, so I have four days and three nights of being alone!

Although, this time, it's REALLY alone.  One cat died mid-December, the last died Friday.  Unless you count the ghost who occasionally makes an appearance in our dining room, I am really and truly alone, for the first time in... well, I guess it was January, 1993 when my first cat, Evinrude, joined me in my one-bedroom and very blue (it looked like someone had shaken a 7-11 slushie all over the walls) Kingston apartment.

So... this is the first time, in almost exactly nineteen years, that I don't have to look after another being's needs, or even take another being's needs into consideration.

My Happy Dance is getting downright ecstatic.

Not that I don't miss my husband or my cats, but... WAHOOOO!!!!!

This is what freedom feels like.

I'm not a horrible person, really I'm not.  Don recognizes that the happy dance has nothing to do with him and everything to do with me.

You see, I'm an introvert -- a needle-firmly-entrenched-in-the-extreme-pole-of-introversion introvert.  I NEED my alone time, or I become a nervous wreck.

Not only am I an introvert, I am an emotional sponge with horrible boundaries issues.  Growing up with parents who needed me to be their parent, who, it became obvious by the time I was three, would inevitably die or be sent to an institution if I didn't identify and anticipate their every need and forsake my own to satisfy theirs -- well, I've been pretty much hard-wired to know people's needs before they even know what they are.  And if I'm not absolutely, positively, one-hundred-percent centred (read the above paragraph about needing my alone time!), I am also hard-wired to dump my own needs and look after everyone else's.

If I'm grounded, centred and relaxed, I can sometimes catch myself before it happens.  But -- as my sister-friend Ali commented last night -- the past year has not had a single lull for me.  I have been in emergency-fixer-upper, problem-solver, here-let-me-look-after-that-for-you mode since October, 2010.  There has been no hope of being grounded, centred or relaxed.

It wasn't so bad when Don was still working at the fire hall.  Then, I knew there were seven 24-hour shifts (plus errands and driving time) every four weeks when I would have the house to myself.  And yes, there are days when I regret encouraging him to follow his heart and leave the job he was no longer enjoying...

He tries, he really does try to give me my space and alone time, but... in this year-plus of total frazzlement, I don't think he completely understands that in order to give me that true space and alone-time, he has to either leave the house for an extended period of time, or hold perfectly still and silent and not breathe for an extended period of time.

This is part of the reason why we're looking for a house with either an out-building or a soundproofed basement apartment.

Because in this old house, no matter where he is, I can hear him breathing.  Not to mention moving, or listening to music, or creating music, or... well, all those various things (such as respiration) that Don has to do in order to be Don.

If I'm meditating, for instance, and I hear him shuffling around in the kitchen, "man-looking" for something... my concentration is gone in a split-second, and before I can stop myself, I'm shouting out the exact location of the thing I already know he's looking for.

Pathetic, really.

My creative process requires total silence and no interruptions.  Don's creative process involves spending the day noodling on the guitar and seeing what sticks.  These two processes are completely incompatible.  He's told me to tell him when I need him to be quiet, but... I never know when something will sneak into the silence, so the answer to "when should I be silent?" is really: always.  Which, of course, is not possible or desirable.  Hence the need for an out-building.  And an out-building with no intercom, because another part of his creative process is the need to talk it out with me instantly.  Which... again... Totally Incompatible.  (I keep telling him he's got to know I love him, because otherwise I'd never tolerate living with another human being!!!)

A few years ago, when I was playing an extended run in Prince Edward County, I was offered an apartment for a weekend, to get away from my friendly yet multitudinous billet hosts.  The woman who owned it had her own house, but kept this apartment as a personal getaway.

I have been fantasizing about having such an apartment ever since.

Because, much as I try, much as Don tries... remember that television ad that said "the years before five last the rest of their lives"?  They weren't just whistlin' Dixie, people!!!  Hard-wired is hard-wired.  It may be possible to short-circuit every once in a while, and continue to work on tricks to overcome my hard-wiring, but... I don't think I'm ever going to be able to get rid of it completely, let alone to a point where I can stop keeping a vigilant eye out for my own knee-jerk.

Apartment, out-building, panic room... I'm afraid at least one of these is necessary, especially in such busy years.  Or, perhaps, some really good earplugs.  :-)

In the meantime, though, I'm going to happy-dance my way through four days and three nights of silent, solitary bliss.  Don't even think about calling me to make sure I'm not lonely!  I ain't gonna answer.  :-)


  1. LOL -- I don't tell Charles how much I like his being away during the week :) we'll just keep that between us girls, ok?

    And you make me laugh and smile and do the happy dance.

    You are amazing.

    and btw -- there's nothing wrong with needing alone time!

  2. Hopefully Charles reads my blog as often as Don does. ;-)

    I love my alone time. I revel in my alone time. I cry (not really) when my alone time is over.

    It ends tomorrow... sniff... but I already feel so much better. And I just heard that he might go away again next week. Was it something I said???