On thinking too much…

… which really seems to be something I've been doing far too much of lately. Coupled with the utter exhaustion that has been plaguing me on and off as of late (I'm not sure if it's related to the arm numbness thing or if it's a symptom of academic burnout or something else entirely or just a lack of sleep due to the joys of my life continuing to be busy (when isn't it?) and working shifts at the grocery store) and the fact that I've been working at the self-scan checkouts (which give me much time to just think about whatever) and I wonder if even the overthinking of things is making me exhausted.

And that in a nutshell is a bit of my (somewhat circular) thinking today. Then again, that's probably only the tip of the iceberg: my life on a whole goes reasonably well (as it does most of the time outside of the small complaints that I have, being a female living in the first world etc.). But I've been a ball of stress lately and need to do a better job of relaxing and just having a good time. Today should have been one of those days: I only had to work 4 hours and then do my grocery shopping, but I have had a headache since waking up (I may have ground my teeth very badly last night or it might be a tension headache or something) and I've gotten far too little sleep I think as well.

While Friday was an awesome day and I tried my best to make Saturday into one (on Saturday I went to CornFest, visited Roast, browsed idly at the various markets before prepping for the usual board game evening of fun), the lack of attendance at my board game event disappointed me worse than it ought to have: I mean, even one attendee was better than nothing, and we did play a bunch of games and had some good conversations, but I think I build myself up to become ready to host a group gathering like this and to see it not become a gathering of three or more persons is disappointing. I'm not angry or disappointed with any specific individuals, really: life gets busy and the regrets that people had along with their reasons were really worthwhile! I can't expect everyone else to be free and available when I am, just like I can't plan these events for the dates when everyone is available (when EVER is everyone available?).

And having an event with 20+ attendees isn't necessarily optimal either: For me it's never quite as simple as the introvert/extrovert equation: while I have a lot of acquaintances, a lot of social media friends, a lot of people I interact with on a daily basis in the public sphere, I don't tend to have that many close friends, and I really value the time I do get to spend with folks, be it in a one on one situation (which I generally enjoy) or in a small group gathering (that inevitably includes smaller conversations etc.). I'm pretty damn loyal to the friends I have when I do get close, and even separated by distance or time I think of these people often, but I've long ago learned that there's no way I'll ever be able to keep up with even those that really matter. Sure I send Christmas/holiday cards, sure I COULD write physical mail (not that anyone answers in this time and age) and I do read all the emails that come in and reply to these as appropriate but my continued phone shyness often prevents me from contacting or interrupting folks' lives more immediately with a message of what I was thinking or wanting to tell them. Texting is great but it, like email, can be asynchronous and well, I think sometimes I just crave that interpersonal interaction that comes with the immediacy of being together in the same physical space. But at the same time I often crave and/or need solitude to recharge my own batteries, and it's a damn fine line between being lonely and wanting a hug and an ear to listen, and losing myself in a book, watching media, playing a single player video game or otherwise doing something purely for ME, rather than because there's a looming deadline, or because I have an obligation to attend something.

If anyone knows me well they know I like rules and order, that I'm pretty damned good at following them, provided that they're useful or appropriate to the situation, to the time, to the age. Looking back at the past year or so I feel like I've been pulled a million directions by other people, and spent far too much of my own time hiding away from the world in productive and unproductive ways. Sure, some of the reason was political, and I will admit that I still feel a bit of pain from what some folks have done to me in the past year in the name of an organization or in the name of their own personal goals. Some of it is purely because I tend to be a pretty busy person, knowing that in staying busy I can help prevent myself from feeling as lonely, but it's not as if being in a crowd prevents loneliness, just as being alone doesn't necessarily mean I'm lonely — I'm pretty often content to hermit myself with a book, some good food, media, writing, or (more often than not) the Internet. But, societal rules or expectations often stress me more than I expect them to, even though I'm so often good at following such expectations if they're known; I ought to be better at following my OWN expectations and taking my life into my own hands: which means of course less thesis procrastination, but also the understanding that if I'm this exhausted, I ought to just allow myself to sleep, and not let my brain get into the way.

I am not stupid enough to think that I don't still take criticisms and off the cuff remarks from others far too personally on occasion, or that I don't still base some of my self-worth on the opinions of others, but I like to think there are a few things I've been working on my whole adult life and where I'll improve as time goes on. I'm doing my best to not build up the metaphorical masks that I used to wear where others couldn't get at the real me, but also not be beholden to the related emotions that too easily well up. It's not so easy as turning off and on my emotional and my rational brains… though life would be a whole lot simpler if it was!

So I'm in some pretty odd headspace today. And when I think about it, it might be related to my not eating much for much of the day, eating one large-ish meal and not eating much since, or maybe to lack of sleep, or maybe stress, or maybe a myriad of other factors. But I do think that sometimes it helps to type, even if typing doesn't always result in comments or responses from the assumed audience of this blog or of my social media profiles, or really my friends or family.