Should We WANT To Lose Ourselves?
We all know the sayings: Lose yourself in the moment. Lose yourself in your work. Lose yourself to find yourself again. But should we want to lose ourselves in the first place? Lately, I’ve been wondering what good can come from losing oneself. I hate that moment in a relationship when you suddenly realize that you’re not happy being alone anymore, or, at the very least, have come to expect that someone else will be around to entertain you. And when that’s not the case, then that thought becomes an obsession, and it’s like you’re suddenly a half of a Siamese twin severed, who feels like they’ve lost their identity, or what was special about them. In many way, identity theft may be kinder than the moment in which you find yourself realizing you’re losing yourself, or, at least, losing the things that used to make up your life or define you as an individual or Single Person.
The existential crisis started around 56 hours ago (and counting). Thursday morning, I was woken up by a text from TGIS, and we continued correspondence from afar until about 5 o’clock that night, after which, I haven’t heard from him since. (Granted, I haven’t been trying very hard, but that’s because A.) I’m under the severe impression it’s just better not to nag, and B.) I’ve always thought it gives you a better symptom of your relationship to see when he finally gets back around to you.) One day was fine. But when I woke up this morning, I felt odd, disoriented. And that’s when I realized it was because I’m so used to waking up beside someone. Noon came, and I found myself still in bed, because no requests for brunch out had been made. By this evening, I was in full-out obsession mode about not only the state of my affair, but also, about what the FUCK I was supposed to do with myself and all this free time that had suddenly (and unwelcomely) been found on my hands. So while I may not be neuros-ing about it all over him, I found an outlet for it elsewhere: With my girl friends. Obviously. Because some things never change, even if your established weekend routine suddenly does.
I’m in my twenties. I’m so close to having my Bachelor’s Degree in hand I can almost feel it; I paid for the insanely expensive and insanely luxurious Ralph Lauren sheets on my bed myself; I’m paying down my credit card; and I’m giving a presentation at a national writer’s convention in Boston in March. My life is pretty fabulous, and yet, all it takes is two day’s worth of silence, and I find myself acting like I’m 16 again, trying to occupy myself by making a list of things to do with items like “Wash dishes,” “Moisturize entire body,” “Watch a ‘thinking’ documentary to try to get my mind off of ‘thinking’ about the fact it is a weekend and I don’t believe it without another person here: Sexual Intelligence; Wild China; Food, Inc.; or Prehistoric Predators, Season 1,” “Find some way to make a palatable drink with Skyy vodka, the dregs of orange juice, whipped cream that’s lost it’s whip, and anything else in the fridge, all while really just wanting a nice glass (or bottle) of wine,” and “Try not to ‘wine’ anymore.” It made me wonder: Do our lives really still revolve around boys?
Once upon a time back in sophomore year of college, my mother thought my friend Madison was secretly my lesbian lover. I can see why she might have thought that— we spend an uncomfortable amount of time talking to each other. Mostly, I think, it’s because we usually have equal levels of confusion in our lives, and think about things similarly. So it was Madison I turned to when asking, “Why do I always panic like this if I don’t hear back from a guy for like, I’m not shitting you, two days? I mean, it’s TWO DAYS. My sane self knows this. However, my relationship self is going mental. What I want to know is, why do I FREAK out?”
And then Madison said something very true, yet not very heartening at all: “Because you haven’t had good luck with similar situations in the past.”
Touché, my dear, and good fucking lord, there is no hope— I’m done for.
I am not the only one who seems to be wondering about the ramifications of losing yourself for someone else. Madison has her own issues, too. “The problem is that I’ve always known that [I was letting him use me like a doormat]. I just kind of let it happen. And that’s not me at all. And that’s why I’m ashamed.”
And that’s when I hit my epiphany in our conversation: “Secretly, I think we’re all ashamed at things we do in relationships or non-relationships with other people. Look at me— I’ve forgotton how to be ok with being suddenly alone. I think there’s something about wanting to be with another person that makes us crazy and makes us forget and sacrifice parts of ourselves because we want something else SO MUCH.”
It’s all so terribly ironic, because as I was driving home on Wednesday night after bringing TGIS back to his hometown, I was smugly reminiscing on this relationship versus past relationships, thinking to myself how you can be the person you’re supposed to be and want to be when you’re with the right person. Give me 56 hours of silence, and I’m still the confused little mess I was a year ago, give or take a different man, situation, and a few relevant learning curves. Look how far I’ve gotten on the road map to finding myself.
So what about you? How have you learned not to lose yourself, or how to occupy yourself when you’d rather be doing something with someone else? Do you think that we’re more willing to sacrifice parts of our lives and our selves if the payback of having the love of someone else is an option?
- From SATCG