Friday!

This week has strangely tossed me about. Moments of clarity followed by moments of fog, hopefulness followed by helplessness.

I think the last few weeks have been marked by one clear thought though: It's just going to be me. I've been alone a long time now, but I've never really realized how fully autonomous that makes me. There's always been a sense of another, even when I've felt isolated. At times it was a wish or hope. At others a memory. And sometimes a more vaguer conjuration.


Of course, there are others; family and friends, many loved ones. I don't mean to let you think that I'm so desperately isolated or lonely. But what I do next, where I go, the decisions I make, the holidays I take, the work I do, the writing I do... I have to stop doing it with the idea of another who doesn't exist. More... I need to stop not doing it because I'm waiting for somebody to bear witness to it.

And I know many people will think I'm talking about romance here. I'm not. Sometimes it's a parental figure, sometimes it's that childhood idea of being looked down on from a vantage up on high. Even at my most bolshie I've thought about what anonymous others think, if I become more loveable or admirable in the eyes of others because I make certain decisions and not others.

This is hard to admit, because I put on such a front of defiance of most expectations: I'm sensitive to what people think. It's likely why I react so strongly to be "shoulded" in comments, to readers who express parental ideas towards me, even though they're not possibly equipped to make such judgement. And so this idea that it's just me isn't as lonely as it sounds. It's liberating. Because the idea of another I was carrying was something felt strangely beholden to.

There's no Team Jane, there's only Jane. I don't think I've ever really embraced that.

I hope you have a lovely (Thanksgiving!) weekend.

24 comments:

  1. I could have written this post, it's so me! Especially when you write "I'm sensitive to what people think".
    I really like reading your blog.
    Greetings from Italy. Ciao!
    Francesca

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    1. Thanks Francesca! I wish I was in Italy too - I've been craving all things Italian this week!

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  2. In Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal Dreams" there is a part where she talks about being a hero in your own story. This is what your post made me think of. The difficulties and responsibilities that come with trying to do this.
    Gabi

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    1. I haven't read this, but I think as well as difficulties and responsibilities, there's also elation. I mean, it's not easy elation, but realization of being alone has its upside too.

      Have a great weekend, Gabi!

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  3. Jane!

    I have been struggling recently too. I don't know how it feels to act without anticipation of acknowledgement from another. I am almost always motivated by this feeling even if such a person doesn't exist. I don't know how it looks or feels to live and do just for me. It troubles me often.

    Thank you as always for your writing and insight. You're a special lady!

    Samantha

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    1. Ah, thank you Samantha. That's lovely of you to say. It's hard to know how to be alone in this way and not project an idea of "another" to motivate and praise and criticize... I'm not sure how it feels either, but I'm interested in trying it out...

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  4. "Moments of clarity followed by moments of fog, hopefulness followed by helplessness."

    I think we had a very similar week.

    Your posts always give me something to think about, but I'll be ruminating about this one in particular.

    Have a good long weekend!
    -Michelle x

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    1. Thanks Michelle - have a good weekend too!

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  5. My friend from another coast and I concluded the same thing today: to team X.. it's a head scratcher, but it just seems right, for what ever it is..part of my development to build an identity...my path. I see lots more ahead, each day. my best to you.

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  6. I have never had this feeling you describe, Jane, but I often think about it, and boy--what I would do with it!!

    Not to say I'm not happy being married, I hasten to add, but I do think about what it would be like if it was only me, and sometimes what I imagine is excitement.

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    1. It's easy to romanticize the one or the other. The truth is both have their highs and lows. For single people, the up-side is rarely expressed, dominated as our blogworld conversation is by all-things related to the traditional family structure (weddings and babies, weddings and babies).

      But I hasten to add, I wasn't only talking about marriage and partnership in this post.

      Have a good weekend, Steph!

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    2. You're right, you weren't. Which makes your post all the more exciting! And my reaction interesting to me and something more to think about.

      Enjoy the rest of the weekend, Jane!

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  7. Jane, I've come back to this post many times since Friday.

    I keep telling myself that not every happy ending has two people in it. (Yes, when I say that, I'm thinking of a romantic partner but I know you're speaking more broadly in this post.)

    It is liberating to embrace the philosophy of the team of one, I agree. Sometimes I am conscious of that, but not at others.

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    1. I know exactly what you mean. I do battle with this all the time, sometimes embracing it, sometimes feeling like things will never be "complete" without another (and, I am talking about a romantic partner here).

      And even when it's not romantic, that sense of doing things to be seen by others, to be loved and approved of. Maybe it's the only way. But maybe that projected voice is too judgemental and limiting at times. I sometimes find it hard to do what I want because I think too much about what others will think.

      I don't think this is a realization that I'll ever rest comfortably in for long. This team of one will sometimes feel lonely and hopeless, at other times liberating. I think that's the thing to embrace... the mutability of it. And I think that's the same for any size of team...

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    2. I'm not a self-helpy person by far, nor a reader of self-help books, but I recently saw a couple of TED talks by Brene Brown on vulnerability and, well, basically worrying about what others might think. They made me pick up her book The Gifts of Imperfection, which I found helpful. Daring Greatly is another I'm going to read by her. This may not be exactly the same as what you're referring to, but I too want that freedom to act--and blog--as me, without worrying about the response.

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    3. Thanks Steph. I'm not at all "self-helpy" either.



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  8. This is a really inspiring post. I'm married, I have kids, I'm definitely not a team of one, and yet... I feel like there are big lessons here for me. There are definitely 'anonymous others' that I think about when I act too and I would dearly love to be able to let go of them. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this, it's a big brave post to write.

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    1. Thanks Cara. I'm not sure it's brave, just honest :)

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  9. Yet another beautiful post, echoing exactly what I've been feeling these past few days. Mostly I feel stoical, with occasional flashes of exhileration. I think your post will make those flashes last longer. Thank you!

    (Margaret from Glasgow who e-mails you occasionally)

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    1. Hi Margaret! Thank you for your comment.

      These feelings are a dance... And as you well know precisely the kind of two-sided emotional dichotomy I'm drawn to digging around in. I'm happy to be fully feeling all both sides of it - it feels real, if that makes sense.

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  10. Yes, Jane, that's a lovely way of putting it.

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