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good reclusive v. bad reclusive

I require little from the world beyond my front door. Minus a damned good reason to venture outside -- to get in my car; to deal with human beings who aren't on my short list of things that are tolerable -- I'm not leaving, because I'm a recluse, and I like sitting in my ratty sweat pants practicing my acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in Literature. 

This is something I've struggled with all of my adult life -- I was quite content as a child spending long stretches away from home so long as I wasn't at school or ballet. But starting in college I developed this anxiety towards the world outside my dorm room. I scurried to and from classes with my arms crossed around my middle and my eyes focused on my feet. I wandered out again only after dark to buy food and cigarettes. I jokingly tagged myself the Girl in the Window, because that's where I spent the majority of my free time if only to keep the frat boys from pissing there -- I felt a bit awkward when they acknowledged me jovially and dropped their pants anyway, like maybe I should have thanked them for the show!?

I'm less of an agoraphobic these days. My bouts of shut-inedness are more to do with my anxiety towards the hair drier and makeup than a  fear of people and the dangers lurking around every corner. The thought of making myself presentable is unappealing -- taking a bath with an electrical appliance sounds more fun. It's ridiculous that a jaunt to my daughter's bus stop presents itself like an all-day excursion -- that the drive to the bank or the grocery store feels as intimidating as a cross-country road trip -- but that's how it feels.

Time in my mind is calculated in seconds and fractions of seconds. My perception of five minutes -- 300 seconds or 83-thousandths of an hour -- feels bigger than five 60-second laps around the clock face. It's a monster when I'm writing; simple things like eating or going to the bathroom or turning the lights on or removing the towel from my hair are postponed to save time. These things don't bother me -- they unfortunately pester the hell out of anyone who deals with me on a regular basis.

I'm insane. It's not something I shrink from. I embrace my daffiness for giving me all this crap to write about -- BUT there are limits.

When I've withdrawn so far into my psyche that making a phone call is more unnerving than Carrot Top on steroids I know it is time for a long, long walk to reacquaint me with the outside world.


  1. Hello. I came over here via Hillary and enjoy reading your struggle. Not in a sick way - more in a relatable spirit of camaraderie...except I'm not working on any big projects, because I have a problem with motivation. Also I don't have any distracting children, so really you're outpacing me by leagues with your productivity.
    I think it's possible to be agoraphobic and the opposite of that (autophobic?). Some weeks I will adventure and be out gallivanting for multiple days & nights in a row. Some weeks, I won't leave the house for an uninterrupted week.
    I will have nightmares from staring at this Carrot Top picture so long.
    Good luck with your continued progress.

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting -- it helps to know that people actually enjoy what you're writing.


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