While it appears that I’ve been inside too much with the curtains drawn, been too anti-social, and while I agree I’m beginning to hate the way my world is tracking, I’ll risk stating the obvious when I say I happen to work in a school full time, and walk everywhere I go, spending more time near neighbors and strangers than those who have cars. This is why I don’t think I’m anti-social, but if anything, too social because of being around others all day, the first thing I do in my leisure time is light-block them out in as many ways as possible, just to feel my own light come back, why, upon arriving home, I, first, turn the fan or noise machine on in my living room to hide the sound of neighbor’s talking, to conceal the sounds of cars driving by my window, on account of the fact that I’ve had to listen to a jungle of screaming mouths all day. And it’s why, next, I close the curtains on the only two windows in my apartment to not have to watch those same people drive down the road, and, yeah, to balance seeing people running all over the place across my hallway vision, with only seeing myself be still. I admit, my idea of leisure includes being alone and relaxing, instead of blowing off steam with others. But the fact that I’m introverted doesn’t negate the fact that I have a knack for working with kids with special needs, or that I’m a social butterfly and over processor all day at work out of a necessity for doing the job just competently. To do my job I kind of have to look at people and think for them. But I get it, you drain off by acting out and uncoiling in public. And for still others, if they’ve worked alone all day, being the center of attention is a way to make sure things split right, so that they get their necessary dose of belonging, impulsivity, and noise. The fact that I’m a writer and must be alone to write and regulate myself only secures my point of view in this case, I think. It also doesn’t help that when my bills are practically impossible to pay, and this happens more often now, it’s plain to see, collectors come lurking with less patience for my economic situation than the degree of it I give children and adults every day, and turning off the phone feels like the last bit of power I have to secure an atmosphere commensurate with the kind of support I offer in triplicate. As you would expect, my leisure times happen during the darkest hours of the day, both early morning and at night, so yeah, I don’t tan often or seek to, or delve into other well-lit environments like the fluorescent ones dripping migraine I’ve been walking underneath from 8 to 4. Could it be that I just need to hole up and go dark after work to balance things out, to keep myself from becoming too sensory defensive the way my clients are? Or that I need it to begin the rebalancing process of becoming present with my thoughts and feelings after doing it for attention-deficient individuals all day, even if being present means allowing myself to fall asleep? The way I see it, I’m just not the kind of personality to hit the bars and impersonally talk shit after work in order to blow off steam. I’m the kind who takes everything personally, and who after work needs to go straight home to fall into my favorite chair, and turn the lights down in order to find some. So, I concur, my friend, I am kind of a shut in, and I am in a dark and negative place often when you see me, if you, in fact, do. But that’s just a measure of how deeply I know what’s good for me and try to care for myself as I aim to store up the presence of mind I’ll later need to walk out the door and offer my help to the next very needy, almost vampiric, light-sucking day. I’m always exhausted so I long to be home and put my feet up and think about the lovers I’m missing, the networking I’ve misplaced, and the fun I’ve lost, alongside millions like me who’ve somehow decided it’s better to be a nobody with an unpopular purpose, than a somebody with a mission that isn’t theirs, walking around half-drunk on fan-fare, thinking that’s more beautiful, when it’s nowhere near as beautiful.