Like most people, I struggle with loneliness. I’ve never been an extreme extrovert, though I spent most of my time at college with lots of people around me. Since I have come home from Brown, however, loneliness is an emotion that I deal with on a day-to-day basis. I went from having a huge number of people immediately at hand to having none.
I had a long talk with my parents about loneliness last night after dinner. The only way I knew how to vocalize my struggles was in three tiers. Most immediately, I am no longer living with my family. Instead of a walk down the hall, I have a thirty-minute drive when I want to see them. Next I have my friends, most of whom have left town for work or grad school. Though I spent college surrounded by people, my high school experience was significantly less social. It would be easy to blame it all on other people or internalize it and absorb the fault myself, but like most things in life the truth is somewhere in the middle. As a result, I have only a scattered few friends left in town and not much time to see them. The one that I’m struggling with most, though, is losing my characters. When all else has failed me in the past, I drew, I painted, and I wrote. I got to know and love my characters, and now that I am in grad school and working, they have been a necessary sacrifice. It’s hard to swallow, but it is the reality of my situation.
|My father, based on Facebook profile pictures|
It wasn’t until last night that I realized my parents had been leading me to the solution for the past couple months. My father goes through phases in which he adopts different sayings. Some are ridiculous and you can’t wait for them to pass (currently he can’t get over saying, “Wheels Up” before holding out his fist for a pound). That being said, my dad is an incredibly bright man, and most of his sayings are very wise. One of his recent sayings has been, “When it’s important enough to you, you will find time to make it happen.” I never really put much thought into the saying until recently.
When my mother suggested that I start keeping a blog, I was fairly skeptical. I’m not a techie, I didn’t know much about blogging, and I’ve never written much besides fiction. As anybody who knows me would tell you, I’m a bit of an art purist. Abstract art makes my skin crawl and archetype plots bore me to tears (sorry, Stephen King). Neither is bad, the message simply is lost on me. Consequently, I needed more than a little convincing before typing out my first post.
While my dad is fairly left-brained, my mother is the opposite. Only after talking to them last night did I realize I needed to combine their logic to find my solution. My dad was right; I needed to make time, I just didn’t know how to balance grad school, work, and writing. My mom made the solution accessible and introduced me to a new art form in blogging that is surprisingly cathartic and caters to my time restraints. Instead of Elizabeth from my first Sunday Stories post (which you should read if you haven’t yet, and let me know what you think), I’m exploring myself. After all, fiction characters are really just a projection of their author. I’m just being a little more explicit.
So here’s to family. Here’s to friends. And here’s to figuring out what’s important and making time.