I like being alone. Which is the story of the day. But first, how about Tatiana Maslany in the Season 2 finale of Orphan Black, and the amazing – AMAZING – sequence in which some of the clones danced together? How am I going to wait another year for the new season? Watch.
I watched this last night, alone. You see, I’m doing my annual end of June/early July short-long-term house/pet sitting gig out here on the lake. Now, in the interest of actual fact, “out here” and “on the lake” and “alone” require some quali- and or clari- fication.
OUT HERE & ON THE LAKE
This lake at which I am looking is not a natural body of water, but, rather, a 216 acre designer construct around which have been built Maryland’s version of upwardly-mobile, middle-class models of Disney-esque Celebration communities. Out here, where I am, tucked into a protected copse of crepe myrtles reached by winding and upping and downing a few (but truly “wind-ing” as in both twisting and of elevation enough to kill a fledgling cyclist like me) hills, is only twelve miles from the neighborhood in which I usually reside. But here, despite the premium paid for housing and community dues used to maintain the illusion of bucolic nirvana, the signals connecting one to the rest of the world are sketchy at best. The internet is slow, texts often don’t send and calls are dropped.
There is an enforced isolation. Which, after a day or two of connection withdraw, I enjoy. Almost too much.
I arrived at 6p.m. on Friday evening and sent the family away. Yesterday, Saturday, my first full day here, was rainy enough that I couldn’t (didn’t) take my scheduled training bike ride. So, I knew I had to go to the gym and do two hours of cardio and some strength training instead. I could barely move myself from the sun room (although, yesterday, it was more the overcast room) with its three walls of arched windows, there, where I spend my time tucked into a couch; one dog, Jill, on the pillows by my shoulder, another, Rocky, on the pillow at my feet, me, petting them both, listening to them snore, slipping into easy naps myself, magically relaxed and removed from the pressure of life I feel the rest of my days, in exquisite, ecstatic, nearly erotic bliss, reading one of the tens of books or piles of New York and Sunday New York Times Magazines I’ve brought along.
Going to the gym required me to surrender my bliss, get off that couch, get in my car, and leave this Eden. Funny thing is, thanks to the lousy traffic patterns and over-development in Frederick City, even though it is twice the distance, it take less time and traffic for me to get to my gym from here than it does from my house. It is an easy, pretty ten minutes. And I did it. But, here’s the thing, when I am other places, the gym is my escape. When I am here, I don’t need an escape and so the gym is an imposition, an intrusion into my freedom and peace and quiet and semisolation.
I like being alone. He says. Again.
Yes, I do. Which is a mostly good thing because I mostly always have been — on an existential level, anyway, if not a practical, day to day, hour to hour, get the hell away from me way.
Now, this isn’t an indictment of those with whom I live or have ever lived, it is simply an acknowledgement that some people are naturally social, require and do better in a buzzing hive, while some are naturally solitary and are better in reclusion and retreat. I am of the latter ilk.
I have always known this, but the past two nights brought it home to me again. I had invitations Friday and Saturday night to go and to do, but, since a few hours after I arrived here and saw the family off, I have been exhausted. Not just tired and yawning, but, in danger of collapsing, all Garbo in Camille, reclined and consumptively reposed. Indeed, at first, I thought I was coming down with something, some wasting disease, so intense was my fatigue and so acute my desire — nay, my urge, the demand of my body with its throbbing knees and elbows, its drooping eyelids, its desire for dark stillness — I thought I had somehow contracted mono. Then I remembered —
I have not allowed myself to relax into the privilege and luxury of solitude in quite a while. It has only been in the past forty-eight hours I’ve come to realize that since October, I have been overwhelmed by life. So much has happened, so much come at me, so many events, emotions, experiences, distractions, disturbances, disappointments, and disasters, that I did that thing I do to cope; I shut down the main me, dissociate, and all the multiples come out.
It isn’t a calculation. It’s a response. I don’t know I’m doing it. I don’t know I’ve done it. I don’t know what’s happened until much, much later — sometimes years later — when I finally let go a little and relax again, when, somehow, my psyche determines I am going to be able to cope with processing whatever it is I’ve suppressed, and, bit by bit, I open the locked doors and explore what and who was hidden away in those closed-off rooms.
Since October, one could say, I have been hoarding emotions. I have realized in the last forty-eight hours just how much I need this short-long-term gig to give myself the space and time to just be no one but me for anyone but me, because, as soon as October happened, right away, my clones took over. My Mom needed me. Other people needed me. Like everyone else, I play a lot of roles for a lot of people and, somehow, I was born having been programmed to try to fulfill whatever it is others want or need or think they want or need, and I have — repeatedly — ignored what I wanted and needed in order to do that. And so, the clones come out. And not just the good ones.
And the juggling of them is exhausting. I need this break. So, I should be riding my bike or heading to the gym or catching up on reading and — oh god — writing. Equally importantly, I need — sooner or later — to deal with the things I’ve not dealt with — the practical, day to day details of my messy life on levels of physical and economic reality as well as psychological and emotional reality — yes, I need to do all those things. But first, I must — and I want to — take the time to welcome all my clones into this one room, to reunite myselves into one, again, a one I haven’t been since — I don’t know when — so that everyone shares one name, and tells that name to everyone in his — in this — one life, until I am doing my own dance — at last, with no one but myself — one version or another, LOL.