Face of makeup, ten minutes late, unsure if I’m sweating or if I’m cold, trying to remember the name of the guy I’m meeting, not worried, not excited, just confused.
I can’t avoid telling you how my first date in ten years went. I won’t Not Talk About the magic of the evening. There was a magic, but it was particular to the day it came from:
I was in touch with people all day yesterday. For a writer, that’s a lot. People, any people, just: People. People is a lot.
By the time the date came around, I had no real grounding in my self. I hadn’t worked. I hadn’t thought. I had only socialized because people appeared. Some of it was sad, some of it was the best but all of it was momentous, pushing me forward without asking me to think, all action, constant action, and then it was night time and I was alone.
It is part of my job to be around people, to learn People, to absorb. I am good at what I do because I am overly empathetic but, it is work for me. Empathy is exhausting. Recovery is an exceptional element to my time and I’m sure it’s important to most artists, I know it’s important to all introverts.
I’ve been calling myself an introvert my whole life. It might not be true of my character. It probably is but yesterday I wondered if maybe people just haven’t been around in my life. Maybe I’ve become an Introvert so that I have an excuse to be lonely.
I survived yesterday but my lack of socialization made for a dizzying relay of People I couldn’t come down from. I kept falling down from moments, lying there feeling trampled upon and then rolling up back into myself like a human yoga mat. I really don’t know how I got through yesterday. I don’t know how today is here. I don’t know how I knew what to do with things. Do we have to hear what we’re thinking or is it possible for it to just happen to us? Simple messaging seems obvious but when action blurs thought and there’s no time to listen, it is impossible to know what I’m thinking: Whitney Houston wants to dance with somebody. Dolly Parton is begging Jolene not to take her man. Cher is strong enough. I hear a woman in my head and I don’t know what she’s saying.
I’m receiving people differently now. I’ve been molding a character who I would otherwise make fun of out of envy and, yes, sometimes she bothers me but I can feel where she’s coming from. I want to feel that way about everyone. I want to be with someone and hear who they are and see who they are and, without thinking, because apparently there is no time for that and so, without thinking, let them have It. Let them have their It. Let them Win at the Moment. Kara might need to prove something but Rachel really just wants to hang out with her dog. If people are around, and people ARE around, there is no way around it, then, without constructing anything for myself, just see them and let them be It, have It, show me It. I want to master true empathy. It’s not easy.
People were beautiful to me yesterday. It really fucked me up.
- Dog park, two hours, a great dane keeps humping my dog and the owner has two kids with him, he’s telling me his dog would Never Hurt A Fly (dogs eat flies sometimes) and my dog, meanwhile, can’t play with his friend Coby because this gigantic horse keeps assaulting his submissiveness, but the man is just being in a park with his dog and his kids: I talk to him, I watch his distraction, I leave with my dog to keep him from getting too upset by the humping, move on
- Hooked to my phone to promote this website, receiving an out-pour of wonderful feedback while simultaneously asking the heartwarming audience to please give back and share the post: I am asking people for things. Asking People For Things, because I trust them and I see how genuine they are, I believe how genuine they are about the reception of my writing, for the first time I believe it, move on
- Devastating phone call with a friend, they can’t talk to me again, I am a monster for a mistake I made that I have been denying but I hear it now and I have to hear it now and I have to cry and I have to admit how shitty I’ve been, move on
- Sit on the bathroom floor on Tinder, THE DATE WILL NOT GET BACK TO ME, find a new guy, make a new date, what is happening, who cares, keep going
- A job interview I’ve been waiting to receive finally calls me, great
- A friend of mine tells me he’s getting married, I freak out in a good way, beautiful
- I speak to my mother on the phone about the entire day, lovely mom-daughter normalcy, good work, keep going
- It’s time, this is time, the time is up, You Are Going Out…are you laughing or crying—–wait:
I did no work all day. I work every day. If I don’t work it’s because I am sick or sad or something negative. I never Don’t Work because I am busy. I am never busy. I am never busy because I love to work. If I get busy, will I ever work again? WHY HAVE ALL THESE PEOPLE INVADED MY LIFE all of them are beautiful but memememememeWalk the dog return and keep going:
- Put on makeup
- Have a drink
- Get dressed
- Dance to a Whitney Houston playlist
- Play with the dog while dancing
- Tell a friend or two I’m going on a date
- Arrive and shake hands and
For the first time in a very long time, I got to an evening. An evening began. I wasn’t sitting around until I got tired because I had nothing to do and I’m waiting to die (eventually), no, I got to the part of my day I had planned. Really: Adult Shit. I don’t do this.
This guy looks me in the eyes and it’s on. He looks me in the eyes and I decide that he has decided that I am really beautiful. I just made that up, I just decided. I realize now he might have been pitying me for a flaw he hadn’t recognized in my picture but in the moment I just decided: I’m a beautiful extrovert on a date.
Is it magic that we spoke without pause? Is it magic that I wasn’t sitting and waiting to leave? Is it magic that I listened to everything he said and responded like the best person ever to talk to? Yes. It is. It was the magic that helps the whole world zoom in on you, blur the background and for an hour make things really simple. If it were anything more than that, I’d be a little worried for myself but it was just simple and safe magic. It was: Your life is on pause, enjoy this drink, magic. I did that. I got there. Magic.
It is magic that I had a good time but the spell that was cast had come from the entire day, not from my inner creative edge. I let the day happen. I let people happen. I stopped being a redundantly anxious writer for just a second because, with all the people around, I miraculously discovered that not everything is about me. I knew that, we all think that, I’ve been an empathetic mess for far too long not to already know that other people are important but we don’t always do Empathy the right away. We usually treat it like an emotional end. But it isn’t always. Sometimes it’s accidentally a means to validate our own feelings. “I really get what you’re feeling because I felt it too” sometimes means “I’m here for you, with you, let’s feel” and sometimes it means “Oh, ok, I get you but now I’m going back to that time I felt that thing and I’m tired now because I am sad about me”. Empathy isn’t always a generous exercise in loving exhaustion. It is sometimes a self-validating process for the renewal of shame.
Empathy is only the first step away from our inner narcissist and why don’t we all just take a second and nod to the narcissistic piece of us, even if it’s just a crumb, but the vain little side of us that prioritizes self-importance. It’s there. Empathy is the first step away from our generalized wash of narcissism but the full leap away is Reception: I don’t just feel you, I have you. I see what you’re saying and I am taking it and holding it for you, not for me, not for the build up of my emotional resume that I’m so proud of but for you, for the people, for people, for the people I am no longer avoiding.
I really have had my heart confused and ripped to pieces this week but then I heard why and it was just truth for reasoning. I care about the person who had to leave and I think they should have left. Isn’t the beauty in their ability to know they had to leave? For themselves? That’s what it is. It’s shitty for me, fine but it’s necessary for them and it’s happened.
Later on, the date was stupid and boring but it was nice because it was light. We didn’t ask each other to Care about anything. We didn’t ask each other to Deal with anything. It was nice. I recommend it. I recommend a date with a stranger as a vacation from empathy. But, then, I recommend filling your day with people, real people, not people we’ve made up, not Kara and not whoever you’re creating, just fill your day with people who, if you let them, will show you what it is to be them. And, that will be your lesson in creation for the day.
Sometimes people will be absolute assholes. Yes. Don’t talk to those people. If you do, a conversation will appear to you in the form that it took to me at 2:30 AM:
It’s 2:30 AM on Sunday. Not the ideal time to talk to strangers. But see: I know that now.
I don’t need to walk around being anyone. I probably do it anyways. Still, the goal now is to just watch the construction of the people I love because they don’t know they are doing it either but they are, you are. And it all falls eventually, if only for a moment. That’s why there’s so many of us. We are empathetic trampolines. We just need to forget about ourselves for the sake of Reception.
This blog is updated daily, detailing my transformation into a fictional character who is being crafted for a larger theatrical project. If you like it, please share to social media, follow the blog and come back soon
You can read Kara’s blog at http://www.okkarablog.wordpress.com
or follow her on Instagram @karakarrara