So sometimes I struggle with reading. For example, I read this poster on the subway:
Ok. So the first time I read this, I did NOT read it right. What I thought it said was: “Every 15 hours a New Yorker dies waiting for an orgasm.” And I immediately thought to myself, ‘James! What are you doing! It is your civic duty to go out there and suck the dicks and save the lives!!’ But then I reread the poster and thought, ‘Oh, ew, fuck that. I thought I was giving people the gift of ejaculation, not another day on Earth. LAAAAAAAAAAAAME.’
Well, this blog post is about another dyslexic (read: dick-lexia) moment in my life. When Maya Angelou passed away, everyone was sharing various quotes of hers. One of them was this:
Well AGAIN dick-lexia struck me! And I thought it said: “You are alone enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.” And I immediately burst into tears and screamed, “YES, MAYA!” while being alone (enough) in my room. I was like, “YES! This is JUST what I needed to read right now. I’m sick of everyone pushing me to be alone. No one gets me… except Maya! MAYAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!” And then I misquoted Maya Angelou in my Facebook status (a crime punishable by death). Then a few months later I tried to look up the quote again when I had done less day-drinking, and I read it again and thought, ‘Oh shit…. wha?!?! But where’s the quote about being lonely?! This must be a different, extremely similar quote! I’m positive that she said BOTH things. I mean, she talked a LOT while she was alive.’ When I finally realized my folly, I was first SUPER embarrassed: “I MISQUOTED MIZZ ANGELOU ON SOCIAL MEDIA! NOW EVERYONE KNOWS THAT I’M A FOOL. WHY, GOD, WHY!? WHY HAST THOU FORSAKEN ME?!” A few minutes later, after I calmed down and forgave Jesus for abandoning me in my time of need, I realized that I was supposed to read it wrong. I was blessed with a moment of dyslexia so I could have some clarity in how I was feeling. I needed someone to tell me that it’s okay to enjoy being around people more than I enjoy being alone; I needed someone to tell me that I didn’t have to prove my independence and self-sufficiency by frequently broadcasting that I had accomplished various tasks by my lonesome.
Since misreading Maya Angelou, I say, “FUCKIT,” to everyone who subtly, subconsciously shames me for choosing company over solitude.
Here are the facts:
1) I am from a big-ass family. I have three sisters, two parents and four niece/nephew-childrens. And that doesn’t even include my friend family! Growing up, my house was ALWAYS full. When we were all living at home, I would venture to say that the only hours that everyone was asleep was between 3 AM and 5:30 AM… IF THAT. There was always someone to keep you company, and there was never much privacy in a large house brimming with occupants. If someone was having all the feels in their private bedroom, most of the time you could hear them having a rough time thanks to our well-ventilated house. You were never really alone.
2) I have shared a room for most of my life. I shared my room until I was ten years old. I lived in a dorm with Matt Briggs for two years in college. I shared my room with Kaylee for a year in Astoria. Every time I do a theater contract, I share my room. And now I’ve been sharing my room with Miss Caity for another year. That’s 14 years. I’m 25. I’ve shared my room for more than half of my life. I’m used to having people all in my space. Stacy sleeps in my bed almost every night. That’s right, bitches; on any given night, there are THREE people sleeping in my room. And guess what… I FUGGING LOVVVVVE IT! It’s like a god damn sleepover every day. And when Stacy gets out of my bed in the morning to get ready for work, I sleepily follow her to her room and lay in her bed while she gets ready. What is privacy?? Stacy told me that if I had a boy in my room, she would struggle with not listening at the door. I am neither shocked nor angry. Again. WHAT IS PRIVACY??
3) Everything happens in threes. Including this list.
So I like being around people. SUE ME. I’m at a coffee shop right now with Caity. We’re both writing and listening to music in our own separate worlds, but I enjoy it much more than being here by myself. Because I like her fucking company. And I feel like I have to justify myself all the time. Because people judge me all the time.
Some of you may know this, but over the summer I decided to take a trip to San Diego by myself. Kaylee was able to accompany me for a few days, but then I spent a week there by myself. I think everyone was kind of expecting me to come back with some sort of spiritual awakening or to return as some super mature adult who understood the meaning of life. Or perhaps I am imposing my own insecurities on everyone else, and all my friends expected from me was to return from San Diego as the tannest fucker to ever have fucked… which I DID:
I present to the court Exhibit A of me being almost the same hue as Kaylee. Also, for the record Caity is NOT grabbing her tatty; she’s holding her cell phone in a precarious position. But back to my story:
After Kaylee departed San Diego, I spent all my time alone. I chose to be alone; I was staying in a hostel FULL of people (8 people to each bungalow which is basically just one big bedroom with ALL the bunkbeds) who would have gladly played with me during the day. But I chose to spend time on my lonesome to do all that reflective shit that bitches write memoirs about. Basically, my schedule was to wake up early, eat yogurt, take the bus to the beach, lay there all day while I sleep/drool on my summer read, wake up crispy, fold up my shit as the sun was going down, find a restaurant nearby, eat my tits off, go home, sleep, do it all again the next day. I spent entire days when I didn’t talk to anyone. Now, anyone who knows me knows that THAT’S a big D(eal)! I would arrive at the restaurant for dinner, and I would open my mouth to talk and I would start croaking like the resurrected corpse from Hocus Pocus whose head keeps falling off. But honestly, I had a good time by myself. I went hiking, I damaged my skin so much that one day I will certainly look like a leather purse, I learned to deal with the crazy sunburn on that part of my back that I just CAN’T reach on my own, I did some soul-searching. Basically, I reset myself. I recharged my batteries and just had a relaxing time. Here is some selfie evidence:
This is what soul-searching looks like. Don’t I look like a responsible, mature, cultured, well-rounded human? Also one day I went to a nudie beach and I fell asleep facedown ass-up WITHOUT my butthole taped shut. Needless to say, I was really living on the wild side. But honestly, I really did learn a lot about myself. While I was trying to be on my own and be zen and be in touch with the Self and all that fuckery, I kept getting interrupted by nice people talking to me. Or by my beautiful friends sending me beautiful text messages. Or my family members checking in on me. And I realized… I’m a fucking people person god damnit! I went out to eat by myself, and I had a long conversation with two Polish ladies sitting at the table next to me. I came home to the hostel late one night, and the room was totally pitch-black. So I had a conversation with my new roomies in the dark where I asked them not to bite my titties in my sleep, and the next morning they took me to Starbucks:
They were part of a roller derby team. They never really agreed to not tackle me in my sleep. So I slept with one eye open. Just in case….
So I came home with this refreshing conclusion: I like being around people. I draw my energy from being with other people. I like making people laugh. It makes me feel good to make someone else’s day better. I thrive off of connecting with people in a meaningful way. And yes, I can be alone, but 98% of the time I would rather be with people. AND THAT IS OKAY, DOD GAMNIT [sic].
But I constantly feel like I have to defend this part of myself to people, especially to new friends. I don’t really need an extended amount of alone time like most of the people I meet. In all (hyperbolic) reality, I try to spend every waking second with Stacy/Stephanie/Caity. But when I tell people that I like having humans in my space all the time, I am met with all this judgment. But that’s because they’re imposing their values on me. I imagine that they’re thinking to themselves, ‘Oh, I’m so self-sufficient. I can be alone all day, every day. I can do anything by myself. I don’t need anyone. And that makes me strong!’ So when they see me, someone who openly admits to needing people, they must think that by proxy: ‘James doesn’t do things by himself? He needs company? Oh, he must be weak.’ But that’s not fair, boo. I don’t superimpose all my insecurities on your life! If you can be alone all the time, that’s cool! If you require silence and solitude to be your best self, that’s bomb-diggitty! You live your life! Maybe being alone fuels your batteries. But for me, being around people who lift me up (and vice versa) fuels my batteries. And that’s a perfectly acceptable way to be.
Yes, it takes strength to venture out into the world alone. But remember, it also takes strength to turn to a friend and say, “Hey, you were the best part of my day, and I don’t know what I would do without you.”
God, I’m so grateful that I read that Maya Angelou quote with crossed eyes. Because it’s true. James: you are alone enough. You have nothing to prove to anybody.
Now, I have to run. Because every 15 hours a New Yorker dies waiting for an orgasm, and I can NOT have that weighing on my conscience all night.
“Starting from zero got nothing to lose
Maybe we’ll make something
Me myself I got nothing to prove”
~”Fast Car” by Tracy Chapman