Tag Archives: antisocial

Last year's Boxing Day sunset.

An End to Christmas Pantslessness: A Tale Of Introversion

You, dear blog reader, are my delay tactic to avoid walking for a little while longer. It’s 1:24. A little over an hour from now, I can leave to photograph the sunset. Last year’s sunset from last night was breathtaking. Tonight, we’re on the cusp of a cold and sunny front. Wispy clouds, blustery winds, moisture in the air. Beautiful things could happen. It’s worth a trek.

Along with this keen desire to shoot a sunset comes a little trepidation. I get sucked into my periods of isolation, like I am now. I haven’t left the house since the 24th. Going out today is the start of a slippery slope. I could have plans for coffee tomorrow, resulting in the tragic wearing of pants yet again. I have acupuncture on both Monday and Tuesday to use up the last of my medical coverage for the year (free acupuncture! why not?). Still more pants. Ugh!

I mean, there are only so many days I have available for pantsless slacking. It’s not like I’m scared of humans or anything. I just have this apprehension of talking to people because sometimes I just really fucking like being inside my head. It’s not an awful place to be.

I pity people who dislike being alone. What an awful way to live. Me, I like this.

It’s not as if I’ve sat stupid on the sofa. I’ve done some little domestic things. Plus, I’ve written 4,000 words in two days — inspired words, fast words, the kind of fat, juicy writing a writer likes to do. The kind I never get to do, because I get caught in the cycle of working for money, not for love or passion or spontaneity. The curse of adulthood and life in one of the world’s more expensive regions — money matters more than art, and it’s what makes the difference when deciding between paying the bills or satisfying the soul.

As for the woes of ending pantslessness, well, I think anyone who’s a true introvert has flashes of agoraphobia and/or anthrophobia. Fear of people, crowds, unavoidable encounters, that kind of thing. I don’t have it in a crippling or even inconveniencing way. I can talk to crows, I can work a room at a party, I can host an event — all quite comfortably.

I do dread people nonetheless.

Not in a collective EVERYONE SUCKS kind of way, though. Just in a “many people annoy the shit out of me and I’d rather be at home in fat pants” sort of way.

There are people I enjoy talking to. They’re the ones I find time for, who I enjoy seeing and even look forward to seeing. They’re people who not only talk but listen. They’re well-read, curious about the world, generally positive, interested in more than just themselves, and typically know how to focus on the moment.

But it’s unlikely to find that in the average person. That’s not snobbery or arrogance — it’s attention to detail.

The thing is, everything that makes me a good writer also makes me a tough friend to earn. I’ll notice inconsistencies. I’ll notice waffling, small hints of hypocrisy, insecurity, pettiness. And I can’t stand stuff like that. I’m definitely not imperfect — I’ll dislike people and let it show a little, but that’s just honesty. Not everyone will like me, either.

Take as an example when I see someone without the guts to say something to someone’s face but yet they delight in saying it behind their back, I’m repelled from wanting to be friends with that person.

It’s very true that my eye for detail and memory for odd facts, coupled with good intuition, all make me apprehensive of making widespread friends.

I don’t need a lot of friends, though, is the whole point. That way, I can afford to be picky. The people I like, though, I really like ‘em. People who inspire me, make me laugh, and let me blow off steam when I’m talking to them, man, they’re keepers.

If I’ve ever seen the far side of midnight with you because: Good Conversation, you’re in that group. If you’ve dined in my home more than once, yup, you too. If I’ve gone out of my way to find the time for beers with you, then you’re in that crowd too.

It’s not really a small list, either.  I just see people infrequently, so it can seem like a fickle or short list. Not really. The world’s full of groovy souls, but as an introvert, I like to spend about 90% of my time alone. Literally.

Introversion isn’t a curse. I like being an introvert. It can be weird, because being around the RIGHT people, for me, is a super-energizing thing. It fills me with ideas and gives me the desire to write, which then flips the switch to me needing to be introverted and isolated again. Being around the wrong people can drain me and compel me to get lost in TV and movies. It’s a cyclical existence when one is a sometimes-social introvert.

I just had a few such great days over the holidays. I’ve seen many people this past week, but unfortunately it followed a really brutal three-week schedule, and I lost my social steam. (Which I saw coming and prepared for by committing to zero plans following Christmas.)

All this has made me think a lot about how introversion informs my life choices.

Like right now. I actually have enough money to sort of go somewhere, have a couple day adventure. Maybe rent a car, see the countryside. Me having “enough money” at Christmas is a remarkable change in historical trends, and yet I’m more than happy to spend it at home with Netflix, naps, fat pants, booze, and bedhead.

I realize that this dream I have of living around the world for five years means I will frequently have to rely on the kindness of friends and strangers more than I’ve ever done before. I know it’s a tall order — someone as introverted as me having to make that shift for a half-decade. That’s why I’m so enjoying this time alone now — because it won’t be a possibility for a long time, once I go.

I’ve enjoyed more seclusion than ever, living here in Victoria. It’s self-imposed. It’s lovely. I could have more friends here, I could have made an effort. I chose not to do so. I understood then, as I understand now, that this period of self-isolation might be a rare opportunity in my life. Will I be able to live in a city while enjoying almost complete isolation again in my lifetime? Likely not. Even falling in love and finding someone wonderful will mean that all comes to an end — the ability to self-isolate.

I am enjoying isolation today with the distinct knowledge THIS may never be a lifestyle I ever enjoy again. That’s not fatalism. It’s just choosing to enjoy the moment and appreciate it.

Of course I’ll still have periods of this. That’s very different than having three years of it. I’ve learned more about myself in this silence than I ever thought I could. It’s a wonderful thing for a writer.

My future travel life will require people, but I’ll find periods of isolation. I’m thinking of a house-sitting ad like “antisocial hermit writing books who likes wearing fat pants and bedhead seeks remote, isolated cottage for house-sitting opportunity” or such.

In the meantime, I fully understand this may be my last homebody Christmas for a long time. I’m savouring it. So, despite the weather having turned, despite pants being required for the next three days, despite it all — I shall venture out into this blustery winter day now.

I’ve begun my ebook write about my travel ambitions, things I’ll need to achieve beforehand, logistics of how I plan to live for five years abroad, and more. If you’d like to be on the list for when it comes out, sign up here. I’m too busy to send out frequent newsletters, so don’t worry about getting bombarded.

I’d Like To, But I’m Writing

I get a lot of pressure to go to events sometimes.

I usually don’t go, in the end.

Sometimes I’m just burnt-out. I get that a lot. Being a genius is hard work. All those thinky-thinky hours, whew!

Or maybe it’s just the ADHD, the five-years-straight of working like a fucking dog, or only having one real week of vacation in those years, or the fact that I’m okay hanging out on my own. I dunno.

Maybe it’s that I’m really apprehensive of getting into a new social mix where I’m the new person and lotsa people are intrigued or want to be my friend. It’s a bit overwhelming. Being funny, too, is hard work. It’s a great party favour, so are inappropriate comments, and I’ve got both covered.

Me, I’m the same person I was five years ago. Happy to take a bike ride, or hang out alone and drink some wine, write, that kinda thing. I enjoy the quiet life. I REALLY enjoy the quiet life. I’m the “yeah, I’d like to live in a cabin in the woods, write the rest of my life, and avoid the mailing list” kind of person… but blessed with a good personality and disarming grin.

Actually, I’m kinda despising that my picture’s gonna be in a column for the online version of a paper that has 700,000 readers. My tummy’s turning.

Why? I really fucking love my privacy.

Know why I write well? I remove myself from life a little. Hang back. Watch all you people. I judge you. I pick up on your mannerisms. You don’t know it, but I’m there, people-watching.

For a bit there, I was using a “full” picture of myself on Twitter.

Then I got approached on the street. I was in a completely different mindset, thinking of something I wanted to write about, planning talking points. It freaked me out. Someone I’d never met before, exchanged maybe a dozen tweets with, but they read me.

It became about why I wasn’t following them. Well, I don’t follow most people. I’m not on Twitter to ratchet up my “friend” count. I don’t care if we have “the same friends.” I don’t give a fuck about being invited to parties and making mailing lists. I don’t want my drinks comped or my credibility propped up.

I just don’t care. It’s not ABOUT that for me.

I’m proud I’m getting featured in a column tomorrow. GOOD ON ME. Fucking right! I’ve worked hard on writing over the last five years. I WANT to be read. I WANT to have have resonance.

Sure, I’ve only JUST thrown my hat back in the sex-blogging ring, but girl’s got game. Just you wait.

But do I want my picture on it?

Yikes. Jesus. That’s new. I liked anonymity. I liked intrigue. All that’s gone. Now I won’t know if someone on that train read that column and noticed me doing X.

I  think I deserve a decent audience. I think my voice is needed on the subject of sex, just because there are people like me who think no one else is doing the talkin’ for them.

But being social?

Is that part of the job?

Seriously?

It’s SEX blogging. It takes ONE person other than me to do subject research, but there are workarounds for having that additional party, y’know? Why do I need a crowd, huh?

What ever happened to reclusive writers with addictions and surly dispositions?

Can’t I just be one of those but use my sense of humour powers for good on Twitter?

Do I have to gussy-up and come to your party?

I suppose there’s a balance.

I have friends. Good friends, time-and-dead-body-removal-tested friends.

And now lotsa people claim to want to be in that role. Eek. Take a number, there’s only a few spots, and everyone’s health is good!

So who do I befriend? Which of you is coolest — with “cool” being relative? Who among you has the most to offer ME as a friend — the right ideas and thoughts and plans for fun? Who among you can be goofy in my kinda way?

Friendship isn’t about who YOU want to know. It’s about what people best bounce off each other and bring out the most elements of who/what we are.

I’m seriously good with a handful of friends — people I can let down all the walls with, be myself, talk comfortably, and not apologize to for being absolutely inappropriate, which happens a lot.

Trust is a big thing for me. If you’ve read my stuff over the years, you’ll know that I think it’s probably the most important element in any relationship. It’s the be-all end-all of how I judge people.

Online, people have infinite ability to hide their true selves or be the biggest asshole in the world. Anonymity is an empowering thing.

Me? This penchant to blurt just about everything that comes to mind, and a total comfort with immortalizing all my idiocy on the web? Makes me pretty much the most honest person you’ll ever meet. I don’t dress my words up pretty for anyone, and I won’t say what you want me to say. I’m honest to a fault, and as trustworthy as the day is long. I think that speaks for the kind of person I am.

Maybe you can imagine how toughly I judge others.

I’ve had more than a few friendships start, and end, in the year that I’ve entered the Vancouver social media scene. People who collect social engagements like they’re status cards, or who have little moments where their overly-selfish self shines through, or inconsistencies in things said and behaviour — they’ve all come and gone on my watch already.

I enjoyed the attention at first, but then the variety of people befriending me increased and I didn’t know who to trust.

Pulling back? Smart. Judging folk? Brilliant.

If I’m happy with six friends, yeah, I can raise the bar pretty fucking high and see who clears the top. Especially when I know I’m that kind of friend. I’m not always “there” there, but I’m there in the right ways.

I’m good with people when I want to be.

But I’m good alone, too.

People still just don’t get it. Anti-social types aren’t all defective or socially challenged. I sure as hell am not.

You want me interested in attending? Make it a bonfire on a summer night — beers and hot dogs, flip-flops and fun people. No pretensions, no business cards.

I like people who see moments for what they are, who prefer to be on the outside of walls rather than inside ’em, who see the big picture and have big hearts, who laugh often, and who generally give/don’t give a fuck about all the things I care about, too.

Pretty simple. I’d rather dress down than up, laugh than schmooze, be under bright stars than bright lights, and hear the roar of waves rather than the crowd. I’m also better in living rooms than lobbies.

Keep your canapés and coat-checks. Those are special, rare events for me,  not a life fit for regular consumption.

Sociable? Sure. I got moments.

But you’re not HERE to be my friend. You’re not reading me on Twitter to be my friend.

You’re here for content.

If we both remember that, it’s for the better.