Burn after reading.

Jennifer is living on a steady stream of Starbuck’s French Roast and ibuprofen.
Jennifer is displeased at the constant 72 degree temperature in her office environment.
Jennifer’s excessive caffeine consumption is resulting in persistent leg-bouncing and frequent non-sequiturs.
Jennifer is having a pronoun crisis.
Jennifer needs to taper off of Facebook.

So, the 35th birthday is Thursday. Over the last few years I’ve come to dread the birthdays. When you’re single, no one really plans anything for your birthday. And unless I beg someone to hang out with me, or have a drink, I end up spending the evening alone. This is really pathetic, because I have a ton of friends (?) who, thanks to the marvel of Facebook, are aware it’s my birthday. Yet they’re supposed to magically know that I don’t have plans. Because I’m the center of the goddamn universe, dontcha know? Did I mention that I hate my birthday? (Insert pity party here ______). Jesus, I feel like I should be doing this on LiveJournal. Anyway. So yeah. I say friends (?) because it’s one of those situations where I’ve known these people for years, I’ve camped with them at Burning Man, I see them at parties, hug hug, kiss kiss, but I feel like I’m just not one of them, you know? Don’t get me wrong, they’re kind and wonderful and loving and amazing people and I adore them immensely. I just wish I could spend more time with them without feeling as if my requests to do so weren’t so bloody philanthropic for them. As in, “Oh, Niff’s feeling left out…” rather than, “You know, I think it’d be great to spend more time with Niff…” etc etc…
The funny thing is, in this massive community, there’s quite a few people who feel the same way I do, it’s just no one talks about it unless I bring it up, and then they’re so relieved that they’re not alone in how they feel. We’re the most popular lonely people in the world. It’s an amazing social paradox.

Of course, there is a high probability that I have created this entire situation by isolating myself, that my theories are flawed, that my lack of self confidence has led me to the conclusion that people do not prefer my company and this has infiltrated how I relate to others. I do tend to clam up in social situations in public when I want to impress people and oddly enough, for some reason as of late, I’ve been trying to improve my friends’ opinion of me (mostly due to past drama which I will not delve into here…). I do also tend to talk too much when I’m nervous, which turns people off. Perhaps I should send out a survey and see what people like about me, what they don’t like, and see if they are personality traits that I, too, believe need tweaking, and work on them for the next half-decade of my 30’s. I already know I talk about myself too much. Even I find it annoying…I see myself doing it, I see their faces when I’m doing it, and it’s something that needs to be addressed. I’m also very critical. I need to work on that as well, but I think I’ve been getting better as I have been making a conscious effort on that front. But I feel like when I’m at a party, and I try and enter a conversation, the participants look at me with that, “and just who do you think *you* are??” look. Sigh.

I think most of this self-realization (criticism) has spawned from the reflection that comes from the hours spent alone when one lives on their own for the first time, ever. I moved into my own apartment back in June after having never living alone. I went from my parents, to my ex-husband, to housemates, to an ex-boyfriend’s, to housemates again. I knew the living alone would be beneficial. I knew I had some last bugs to work out and that this would be the good kick in the ass that I needed. It’s a good kick in the ass, to be sure. I’m finally getting used to it. The solitude is becoming a comfort rather than an inconvenience, even though I do still miss having default company around. I strategically opted for an apartment near my community so I’d have my friends nearby and also so I could still commute bipedally, (Microsoft is telling me that’s not a word but fuck ‘em) to Capitol Hill so the solitude wouldn’t be so devastating. I do entertain the idea that this new living arrangement contributes to my belief that I am less than included in my community. When I lived with my housemates, I felt included by default. I spent time with friends just by living there. Now I spend time with no one unless I’m part of a mass email invite. It requires adaptation on my part, which isn’t a large part of my particular skill set.

Fortunately I do have this amazing new job which has directs my focus elsewhere and energizes my self-esteem. I’m starting to feel truly independent, which is incredible for me because since my divorce almost five years ago I’ve felt as I’ve been floundering, not quite sure what the hell I’m supposed to be doing exactly. I do feel immensely fortunate, however, to have fallen into such a community of amazing people such as the one that I have. I have seen and contributed to amazing art projects being built, I have participated in shenanigans and tomfoolery of such hilarity that I’d never thought possible, I’ve been exposed to music and art and dance and love and beauty that makes me value being who I am and where I am. So I do appreciate that I have them in my life at all.

Ok. So, I’ve done a whine-post. Goddammit. My claim to fame is that I don’t do whine-posts. I hate that my birthdays affect me like this. Maybe I need more coffee. Maybe I need bourbon in my coffee. Anyone got some bourbon?

Voulez-voulez-vous 11-11.

4 thoughts on “Burn after reading.

  1. Harpie

    >I don't live alone, and I often feel precisely the way you do. I get so ensconced in my cocoon that I tend to believe most people don't think of me at all and would rather just leave me there. That said, you are loved and wanted around. I knew it is your birthday Thursday, because who could forget that you're an Armistice baby? Just assumed you would be busy with the hill people. I'd love to cook another family-style dinner with a Niff-sized guest of honor whenever you're game, but since you are constantly bemoaning the Stanker family's lack of lead time on our invitations, we will need to finagle when you would like to see that happen.And by the way, one of the "finishing touches" I'm most looking forward to once the infrastructural demands are completed on the house is figuring out where exactly your sketch is going to hang. And I can tell you now, it's going to be very public, because I bloody well love it.Like I love you, dear.Miss you.


  2. Jennifer Lankenau

    >Bollocks Harpie. You made me cry at work. =)I would be honored to come over whenever you would have me (Though I do have tickets for Bolero Saturday night at the Symphony).Lack of lead time? That husband of yours calls me 2 minutes prior on a Saturday night. =PI adore you and miss you muchly.


  3. Harpie

    >I'll have to look at my calendar (as you well know, I'm a scheduling Luddite and only use my white board at home for such things), but I'm pretty sure Thursday (Happy Birthday!), Friday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday are all immediate-future openings.Bolero = *swoon*


  4. tiko

    >http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4Qm9cGRub0I agree with this lady that feeling included is mostly one's own feeling of self worth. It's true for me, maybe it's true for you too. We all have different ways of being social. I don't reach out that much and am often busy or ill so either don't accept invites or cancel them. The friends I have are persistant. I'm saying that to let you know I dig you and that it's quite possible that the actions of these friends of yours have little or nothing to do with you. ❤


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