I self-isolate a lot. I'd usually rather be by myself than with a group.

For years I blamed it on being an only-child and appreciating my "me" time. And that's still true.

In recent years I learned more about my personality style so I blamed it on being an introvert. While I can and often do have fun with big groups, while I can and often do find myself the center of attention and not freak out, and while I can and often do find myself talking to large groups of people, that's not where I go when I need to re-energize. I re-energize from being alone and being with myself. All that is still true.

However I also find some folks draining. And it's becoming clear to me that I attract the type of people who can be somewhat self-centered. I value having people in my life who are also genuinely interested in what's happening to me so I really notice when I have folks around me who aren't interested and maybe even a bit disgusted.

I spend my days being very empathetic and taking on folks problems. Part of what makes me a good counselor is being able to sense how a person is feeling even when they can't explain it. That is hard work and it is emotionally draining.

And I'm learning that simply saying that doesn't explain anything to anyone. That when you're already talking to someone who is only thinking about themselves, they have no room to consider how you feel. So since it feels like I can't educate the masses, I self-isolate. I avoid being in positions to have to accept yet another invitation, I don't pick up the phone, I wait to return phone calls and text messages and even emails.

I don't feel like I know anyone in my situation. Someone who values their alone time as much but who also has so many people who want their time and energy. I'm certainly not complaining that I have people who want to spend time with me (even if for many it's for personal gain) but that doesn't mean I have to always want to reciprocate.

NYE is coming up and I'm dreading it. I want to be at home by myself, but I already have so many folks who want me with them and the stress of figuring out how to not be stressed is too much...


The Cliff

I think there are two types of people, generally...

Those who can take a lot and those who cannot.

Those in the latter group are the firecrackers. The short-fuses. The clap-with-every-word-spoken-to-make-a-point types. But they're also quick to get over it. They build, they blow, the move on. You may never know what you're going to get, but you can rest assured that it'll go to the other end of the scale in just a few moments.

I'm a member of the first group. I am slow to anger; most folks have never seen me truly angry. I have a large threshold for foolishness and if I like you, I'll tolerate almost anything, for some amount of time. But when I blow, it's game over. I don't really "come back" from it. I'm over it and I'm over you.

It's one of the things that I have a hard time getting people to believe me. Folks have known me for years and years and never experienced my anger. Some of them think I really don't or can't get mad. That is incorrect. And this isn't something you want to learn by experience.

I thought about this as I continue to process some things that have happened. J was the first person to "push too far." I remember warning him, even though I'd never experienced it. Something inside me, though, felt like once it broke it'd be broken.

And true enough, when it went too far, it went too far and it took me years to come back and even be ready to do the work to rekindle our friendship; of course by then it was too late. Whole other story.

So here I sit now, two broken friendships. One that could be mended, but I doubt the other person will be able to do that hard work long term and another that as of right now, I have no desire to see it fixed. Mostly because I don't like what I saw in this person as our friendship deteriorated and I tried to salvage something.

Anyway, I feel myself almost repulsed at the idea of having to deal with the friendship or the individual. I'm over it -- I got pushed too far. And maybe in a couple of years that'll change; hell, maybe in a few months, but it's so revealing to recognize how little I care about something that mattered so much to me just a little while ago.

It also rings the famous Maya Angelou quote - "when people tell you who they are, believe them" - so much louder and more true than before.