There has been plenty of articles written about only children. We’re lonely, spoiled, maladjusted, socially introverted, overly generous but incapable of sharing, can relate to adults sooner than our peers with siblings, are incapable of making friends, misinterpret teasing, and have the ability to feel relationships more deeply. And just as many arguing that it’s all a myth.
I don’t think I’ve ever been spoiled. Growing up I didn’t get everything I wanted and I was grounded almost weekly. I had plenty of friends and while I wasn’t terribly outgoing, I could certainly hold my own in a room full of strangers and had a few parts in school plays over the years. I didn’t really start noticing anything particularly odd about a only child personality until I moved in with university housemates.
That’s when I learned I was really protective about “my stuff.” That I was a bad judge of sarcasm, and took teasing personally. That I often sang or spoke to myself out loud. That while I love my moments of solitude, I really crave other people’s company — even if we’re not speaking or doing anything together, I need someone in the room with me.
Now, none of this is necessarily related to how I was brought up. My mom is the Queen of Sarcasm. My dad sings and teases me. I’ve seen movies, had lunch and wandered the streets of Paris all by myself — but what about the rest?
When I first got married, the Hubby used to eat off my plate — and it drove me up the wall. It’s not that I had a problem sharing, but I had grown up knowing that the food on my plate was mine, and the food on your plate was yours. So when he took that first bite, my ire went straight up and it took me a long time to learn to relax over plate barriers. It also took him a long time to realize that I always save the best bite for last (like eating the cake first and then the icing, eating the crust and turning my toast into a circle before eating the buttery goodness at the middle, eating all of the well done bits before sinking my teeth into a rare steak, and on it goes. I can be quite methodological about the whole saving process). And that the worst offense was to take my last bite!
Every time he teases me we end up fighting. I take his jabs very personally, and only after his sister visits us, do I realize that he’s just goofing around. But I don’t have a good read on his jokes.
As for singing and talking out loud, lets just say that for about a year or more I would sing “I am 16, going on 17” just to fill silences. Today it’s baby songs. Often, in a room of people silently working, I’ll blurt out something like, “I was thinking on Thursday.” Only to realize that I had an entire PRETEND conversation with the same people in my head, planned the event, and blurted out an answer expecting people to know what I was referring to. I often speak to myself while kitting or reading blog comments — expecting the Hubby to know when I’m actually talking to him. But most of the time I’m ignoring him, saying, “hmm..? No, not talking to you.”
So what has inspired this rambling post? It’s the need to have a physical presence next to me — without it, I’m lost.
Each time I know I’ll be on my own, I make grand plans — and each time I end up hunkering down in my bed or on my couch, eating comfort food, and loosing myself in my favourite movies or books. Completely anti-social. Even with Eryn around, I’m not as loud or entertaining as I normally am. I feign extreme excitement as we pretend and tear around the apartment. I can’t even bring myself to write.
When I lived on my own, I could go days without speaking to another person.
I’ve spent the last three nights staying up until 2:30am catching up on Torchwood, eating melty cheese on saltines. And this post has been incredibly difficult to write! It’s like I’m sluggish with laziness. I’d rather be lost in make-believe, the fantasies of my youth than to wake up to the fact that I’m sitting in this apartment alone.
Ouch. It sounds worse than it is. But I’m lonely.