Thursday, December 11, 2008

Getting close

I haven't bought a Juliana Hatfield CD since sometime around 1994, but for some reason, I've been reading her blog lately. A couple of days ago, I came across something she wrote back in June that really spoke to me:

The idea in this song was the push/pull of ambivalence — my simultaneous attraction and repulsion toward potential love objects. Feeling a longing for a connection to someone but pulling away before getting too close. Or not being able to get close. Being more than just afraid.


I’ve only ever been truly at ease when I am all by myself. For the longest time I thought this meant there was something really seriously fundamentally wrong with me, but now I have begun to accept this truth about myself: I am most comfortable (most myself) when I am alone. And I am fine being alone. Happy, even. When I tell people this, they usually think I’m fronting or being defensive, and they say, “Oh, you just haven’t found the right guy yet.”

Maybe that’s true. Maybe. But if I am willing to concede that, okay, maybe I have never met anyone with whom I am compatible, then you who say I haven’t met the right guy yet must be willing to entertain the thought that maybe what I claim to be true is true, and that maybe I really want to be alone. And maybe I like being alone more than I’ve ever liked being with anybody.

On some level, I understand this. But I'm starting to feel otherwise.


DSL said...

I thought this post was really interesting and made me think a lot (which I'm prone to do). I was going to comment but am, yes, ambivalent (no, I don't do puns intentionally. ask Dan). But I will just say this. If you'd like to become more comfortable and more "you" around others, you should definitely works towards that because it can be really rewarding, at least for some. On the other hand, if you're thinking about it only because others think you should, then it doesn't make sense. Either way, try not to do something just because it's easiest and most "comfortable." Sometimes the best things take work. You just have to figure out what you want.

dara said...

I think I was intentionally vague on my note on Juliana's thoughts, which might be misleading. I don't think that I feel that I am not myself when I'm with others -- I am a relatively social person, and I'm comfortable with people. What I think I meant is that in the past, in certain romantic relationships, I've felt the ambivalence that she talks about -- and that, similarly, I've felt that I'm most content by myself, and what that translates to is that maybe I'm meant to be alone. When I say that "I'm starting to feel otherwise" it's that I am suddenly finding that I might be wrong about that last part.

Still, there are other parts of Juliana's observations that I did not quote with which I still strongly identify. For example, she wrote that she finds that her writing suffered when she was in a relationship -- and I see that behavior in myself. I also have felt the thing she described as "more lonely than being alone," which, other than losing my mom, might have been the worst feeling I've ever experienced.

DSL said...

Yeah, I can only speak for what her sentiment means to me. In past relationship, I've definitely felt a lot of need for time to myself. I'm not sure if that was my mind set at the time or the person I was with. Maybe a little of both. Still, I can get very lonely when I'm alone (the worst is when I feel lonely in a dark crowd full of people) and very much need to connect with people. I don't think there's any "meant to be"; I just think life can be very difficult and very difficult to figure out, at least for me. Everything is gray; I majored in English Lit not Economics. ;-) If you figure it out, let me know.

DSL said...

Better question is why do I discuss things on an open forum?

Sara said...

It is so interesting that a person feels the need to defend being happiest on their own. Have we become a society so focused on coupling, the self assured choice to be alone is perceived as 'fronting'. So thought provoking, thanks for sharing this.

mad said...

Wow, Juliana Hatfield is 41.