Monday, September 5, 2011

The calm after the storm

Been gone a while. We were out of cable because of the storm, and in that time I just got out of the habit of spending my whole day on the computer. I've gone days without checking my email. It's been nice and I'm not in a hurry to get back to it. That hurricane, in so many ways, was exactly what I needed.

A huge part of my social anxiety was the fear of stepping out onto my own doorstep. I live right next door to a family member who I don't really get along with, (the same can be said for pretty much any member of my family) and it's made it awkward to go outside and risk seeing her. Stupid, I know. But it's actually gotten easier for me since I began healing myself. In the case of my other neighbors, it's just general anxiety. I always had the sense that they know something's "wrong" with me, and that they all talk and whatnot. But then I realized, I used to spend all my time at home staring out the window, and I still had no idea what my neighbors did on a daily basis. How should they know or care about what I do?

Then the hurricane hit. A tree came down on my block early Sunday morning and brought a lot of power lines down with it. That day, when the sun came up and the wind was still blowing, everyone came outside. There was this huge tree, completely intact, lying across the middle of the street and blocking it off entirely. Everyone just stood around marveling. People who live just doors away, who I haven't spoken to in years, were standing in front of my house, and we talked. Not about much, but we talked. As the day wore on, everyone spent it just going in and out of their houses, milling around, talking to each other about the tree and whatever else, and I realized how natural it was for them to do so. I realized they had sort of an open connection with the outsides of their houses, and it was nothing for them to get dressed and do something outside, even if it's just sitting on their own steps. I decided that I needed to hold on to that connection. I couldn't let fear keep me in my house.

With that also came the black out. It was during the day, and we got our power back the same day because there's a woman across the street who has a respirator. But just those few hours without power, and the subsequent few days without cable, forced me to entertain myself by means other than the TV and the computer. It's been rather enjoyable. I've actually lived in the last few days.

I have a job now that I truly enjoy. It's only temporary, but hopefully I can change that.

Anyway, I have other things to do.

How has a disaster changed your life?