A Tiger in Africa

I think it’s time to talk about Star Wars. I’ve been thinking about digging into the Extended Universe a little bit. I played the first KotOR, along with Jedi Academy when I was in high school. I’ve had the DVDs of Genndy Tartakovsky’s Clone Wars shorts sitting in my desk for quite some time now, and I’m thinking I should read Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn trilogy. There’s a lot to sort through, and like the good little nerd that I am, I can’t wait to eat all of it up. Of course, my biggest nerdy obsession (for a very long time) has been Doctor Who. I’ve sunk considerable time and money into the Audio Adventures (basically radio plays) and have even dabbled in the novels and podcasts as well. It’s fun stuff. Unfortunately, I’m thinking of calling off those Doctor Who nights I’ve been holding semi-regularly for a while. I used to invite friends over, bake something, then eat it and watch Doctor Who with them, but nobody seems to want to do it anymore. I held one last month and nobody showed up. Since I’d invited only five or six people, I figured that I just hadn’t made it into a big enough event. So I created a Facebook event and invited 15-20 people, figuring I’d have more guests than I knew what to do with. And still nobody was interested.

Call me bitter, call me petty, but I feel like inviting fifteen to twenty people to a thing should be enough to ensure that at least one of them shows up, right? I’ve invited way fewer people to my Doctor Who nights in the past and still had a better turnout. But the world has moved on, I guess. It’s funny. The people to whom I’m closest are always the ones who seem most averse to spending time with me, perhaps because they sense how desperately I need it. So I have to get better at being alone. Don’t get me wrong: getting the cold shoulder from a bunch of people I thought were my friends hurt me more than a little. But I don’t need your pity. Things have been pretty rough for a long time now. I’m not sure if that will ever change.


On some level, I’m glad that I’m not in school anymore. Because now, I don’t have to deal with people getting all reflective and shit and talking about how the last year or so just flew by. Actually, people still do that, but at least I don’t have to sit through those trite commencement speeches. There’s probably a sense of poetic justice in the fact that the last Doctor Who storyline I watched was Genesis of the Daleks, which is also the one I showed on my first Doctor Who night a little less than four years ago. Back then, I had a small group of friends handy. This time, I was watching it by myself. There is some part of me that suspects that other people need me more than I need them. But I still have anxieties. And there is a tear inside me that refuses to close.

I’ve been to two therapists in my lifetime. The first I saw at my mother’s behest, the second at the urging of somebody else under rather odd circumstances. The second was more helpful than the first. I don’t think those facts are unrelated. The problem with changing the status quo is that it’s the status quo. People are so used to having things a certain way that when they are told that we’re not gonna do that anymore, they get very aggressive. A friend of mine asked a pretty good question not so long ago. When I complained about all of the shit that I’m going through with my parents, he asked, “How is this an obstacle to you?” I see his point. I may not be having the social life that I want right now, but I’m not locked up in SHU (sorry, I just finished the first season of Orange is the New Black). But things have been this way for so long that I can’t imagine what they look like when they’re different. I don’t know how other people see me. I work so hard just to avoid being consumed by insecurity and self-doubt that it’s all I can do just to avoid screaming and running down the street naked. But I don’t think the answer is therapy. I’ve been there before, and it helped a little, but there’s a world outside of mental health services.

I’ve dealt with crippling depression before. Most of us probably go through that sooner or later. I know the feeling of spending all day just waiting for bedtime to come so that you can go to sleep and escape the horror that fills each second. But of course, that doesn’t help. You have fucked up dreams or wake up after five hours feeling like something is pulling you apart because the weight that presses down on your back when you’re standing migrates to your feet when you lie down. I know that feeling, and it doesn’t describe where I’m at right now, at least not completely. I don’t need a shoulder to cry on. I don’t need someone to talk to. I need people who can be real. I lived most of my freshman year of college in near-total isolation. I went to zero parties, made like two friends, and didn’t spend much time with the other people in my dorm building even though that seems like a perfect setting to be friendly and outgoing. The solution to my problem is not to simply go to more parties. It’s to reach a point where I don’t spend all of my time wishing somebody would invite me to a party so that I will have somebody to talk to this month other than the people I live and work with. And that is something that I have to do alone.

On the upside, I am now making it into the gym at least slightly more often than I was nine or ten months ago. Take it for what it is.


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