I am a Rock, I am an Island

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My lovely sponsor  (yes, I do have one of those) has pointed out to me that I do not reach out to people nearly enough. Apparently, this is a key characteristic of the alcoholic as a species. And I thought it was just me (another quality of the alcoholic).

I have always been a loner, and I do not reach out for help, ever. NEVER-EVER. That’s part of what got me into trouble in the first place with my drinking; when I couldn’t handle anymore pressure, I did not reach out. I internalized. I didn’t want to bother you. It was me and a bottle of whatever was handy. Taking on the world together.

Now, I just do this unconsciously. I reflect to understand how I feel, because I DON’T EVEN KNOW HOW TO TELL WHAT I’M FEELING. That’s how screwed up I am. I have to stop and ask myself, “Am I angry? Should I be angry about this?” Sometimes after a conversation, I will go on my merry way, then get angry about something the other person said a few days later. By that point I feel silly bringing it up, because so much time has passed. So I just…don’t say anything. Internalizing is usually a reflex one develops after going through something traumatic. I don’t know what my excuse is; I feel like I was born with all the right equipment to being human, but without an instruction manual.

So I don’t know why I do this, other than a fear of other people. Or maybe rejection. I really don’t even want to go into that issue right now, because it feels like unearthing a nest of ill-tempered wasps and I don’t need any more angry insects in my life, thankyouverymuch.

When I was a little girl, my Dad would tell me I was just like the rock in Simon and Garfunkel’s song, I am a Rock. Do you remember it?

I have my books
And my poetry to protect me;
I am shielded in my armor,
Hiding in my room, safe within my womb.
I touch no one and no one touches me.
I am a rock,
I am an island.
And the rock feels no pain.
And an island never cries.

Well, part of that isn’t true, because I cry like no other. But that was my general philosophy; if I don’t let you get too close, you can never hurt me. Nor can you ever be mad at me. What kind of child builds up those kinds of walls?

The kind who gets made fun of a lot, and doesn’t have the equipment to deal with it, perhaps?

Or the kind that doesn’t get that pony for her birthday, I don’t know.

This isn’t to say that all children who endure teasing will grow up to become alcoholic monsters, it’s just to say that this little girl did. The world is a cruel place, and we all develop our own ways of dealing with it. Mine just happened to be a very emotionally unhealthy way. I do not recommend it.

For now, I’m trying to reach out. It’s hard. It feels unnatural. But I guess I’ve got to do it if I don’t want to end up hiding in a closet, cradling my bottle of citron vodka like a precious newborn puppy.

I’m not that person anymore. I can reach out, even if I have to remind myself to do so.

Please, feel free to tell me all about your psychological defects in the comments section. That way I won’t feel like such a lunatic. At least we can all be lunatics together! Hooray for togetherness!

Linking up at the I Don’t Like Mondays blog hop today!


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I am a Rock, I am an Island — 18 Comments

  1. Anger. Definitely anger. Turns out I have crazy blood pressure, which has been under control for a while, but because I internalize everything, my stress/frustrations/annoyances come out in burst of yelling and causing a ruckus. I don’t hit people. Not since 6th grade. But there have been a few times where I was glad nobody was around. A few times I hoped a moron would get in my face so that I can put them in their place. But I don’t want to hit anyone, I just want to relax, and not stress out. But the world is out of whack (especially towards me at times) and I need to just remember that my reward is not in this world.

    • Anger is tricky. I always used to think that I didn’t get angry – turns out, I did, I just labeled it as a “bad” emotion and then it manifested itself as tears. I still cry when I get angry. And the wanting to hit someone thing? Yeah, been there a time or two.

  2. I used to be a crazy person. I really thought I was crazy – emotional roller coasters you wouldn’t believe. Then I found out, at 44, that it was because I was an insane sugar addict. When I gave up the sugar I found out I wasn’t out of control crazy, just kind of hyper. I should have been an alcoholic like the rest of the family, oops.

    And being made fun of will do that to you. I was always the new kid and I just wanted people to like me and it never really happened.

    Keep reaching out, people LOVE to help someone else, it helps them feel like good people.

    • Sugar addiction can be terrible – I also have that. Yay for me. I guess it’s common in alcoholics. I just abstain, because I can’t have just five peanut M&Ms, I need 40 peanut M&Ms. It’s just better if I don’t go there.
      Yeah, I think right at the height of my awkward self-consciousness, the kids sensed my weakness and tore into me like wolves. Those images of yourself can stick with you, if you aren’t careful. Kids can be so mean.

  3. I pretty much live with constant stress and anxiety. As you might remember, I eat the skin off my fingers, and I’m pretty sure it’s because of the endorphins released from the pain. That and the whole OCD I’ve got going on…

    But yay for you trying to reach out. I know how hard that can be, but I know you can do it, and I bet the first time you get a positive response from doing so, you’ll be more willing to do it again in the future. :)

    • You make me feel better, Erica. Not because your issues are so terrible, but because you share them and it makes me feel less alone. :) I’m trying to honor my commitment to being more real with people. So far, no one has run in horror.

  4. Love the title of this piece.

    I know I didn’t know you in your drinking days, but I find it very hard to believe you have the capacity to be any sort of monster. We’ve all got it in us to fall to the left or the right, but your heart is too good to have been at home in the darkness.

    I, for one, am glad you made it out of that place. Your words and your courage are inspiring.

    Any my mental defect? Have a few hours???

  5. I’m still learning if my emotions are valid. I often find myself asking my husband and my therapist thinks like, “Is it me, or is X really this or that and should/can I be angry about it?” If that makes sense.

  6. I always loved, (and related to) that song. I’ve always found it hard to engage with others. I have my own ideas and opinions, but always found myself feeling that I must be wrong when others disagreed, and would apologize and feel like an idiot. So withdrawing was self preservation in my mind. I work daily on overcome my self doubt. “My opinions are valid, damn it!” :)

  7. I am incredibly introverted, so I know exactly what you mean by not allowing people to get close. My personal life is exactly that – mine. I know I’m a guy, but I absorb all of life’s pain/disappointment Stoically – to the place where even my friends have can’t tell if something bothers me.
    But I’m trying to slowly change. Opening up to someone is torture but it’s necessary (in my perspective). Because who really can handle life and be happy without the love and support of others?

  8. These comments were theraputic! If my body didn’t severely punish me after a beer and a half I think I would have been an alcoholic, instead I rely on the sweet sweet relief of chocolate cake/brownies/cookies/syrup/ice cream/etc.

  9. I don’t think there’s enough space here to document all my various forms of lunacy. I tend to be angry, insecure, over sensitive, over thinking, introspective, introverted, obsessive compulsive, over anxious, dissatisfied, unrealistic, depressive…and I tend heavily toward the run on sentence. It’s not easy, but it’s good to reach out. And it’s healthy. And it’s a great thing that we have this online community, isn’t it? To heck with the citron. You’ve got us. xxx

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