“I have felt suicidal at the thought of having to deal with people for the rest of my life.”
  • “I have felt suicidal at the thought of having to deal with people for the rest of my life.”

Title: The Musings of Cockatoo

Address: musingsofcockatoo.blogspot.com/

Author: Cockatoo

From: North Park

Blogging since: January 2010

Post Title: Hell is Other People

Post Date: March 16, 2012

I have no job. I have no friends. I don’t talk to my siblings. My relationship with my parents consists of a weekly 20-minute phone call. I have an Ivy League education, but, at best, it’s useless because I actually learned very little while I was in college, having spent the whole time in an insomnia-induced stupor. At worst, it makes it so that I inevitably disenchant whenever I open my mouth and don’t sound like a genius.

This is all terrible, horrible, and no good. But the worst part, the truly unmentionable part that I’m gonna go ahead and mention anyway because it’s about time someone not officially crazy admitted to it, is that, actually, it’s not so bad. As a matter of fact, this is actually my ideal life, which is probably why I have it. I’m relatively intelligent and socially adept. It’s not for lack of ability that I have no professional or social life. It’s for lack of desire — lack of desire to in any way interact with other people.

For me, there are very few mundane activities more torturous than having to talk to another person. I have ridden my bike through the rain to avoid a one-on-one conversation during a car-ride home with a classmate. I have gone hungry to avoid chit-chat at the check-out of my corner store. I have lived on less than $13K a year for a decade to avoid the social demands of working.

Yes, I recognize how absurd this all is. Most people would choose a little socializing over exposure to the elements, hunger, and poverty any day. But I agree with Sartre. He said, “Hell is other people.” I have actually felt suicidal at the thought of having to deal with people for the rest of my life. As an atheist, death would be an escape from the only hell that exists for me.

But I can’t kill myself; then there would be no one to take proper care of my dear cat, Mickey Mouse, and the only thing I cherish more than solitude is my cat. Ironically, he is a very social cat who requires a great deal of attention.

Living a completely socially isolated, and, consequently, impoverished life (not only financially, but also intellectually and emotionally) is really only terrible from the outside; from the vantage point of the ordinary person, who does desire social contact and whom I sometimes forget I’m not. Because the truth is, I don’t desire social contact and I never have. All my life, all I’ve really wanted is to be alone. In my entire 30 years, there have been only two people whose company I consistently preferred to solitude.

Whenever I have acted socially, as if I might actually enjoy the company of others, it has been because I felt an immense, irresistible pressure to seem normal, and that’s what normal people do — they hang out together and have fun doing it. But being with others has rarely been fun for me. What it has been is either nerve-wracking or mind-numbingly boring. Usually, a combination of the two. The exceptions have usually been instances where I was in a social situation but was essentially alone because no demands were placed on me to actually interact with anyone.

So what does someone with this people-allergy do? Somebody once said, “You won’t make it if you can’t make it with people.” So how do you survive in a world where survival means doing the thing that you hate doing possibly more than anything else?

I’m guessing the first step is to stop feeling like such a freak about it. It’s not like human beings are really that likeable anyway — we kill each other, insult each other, betray, abandon, and deceive each other. And “the other” is more often than not a friend, someone we claim to care about, not some hated enemy. The way I see it, I just have a lower-than-average tolerance for humans’ despicability. That’s nothing to be ashamed about.

So, “It’s okay to hate other people.” Rinse. Repeat. “It’s okay to hate other people.” Self-acceptance is key to solving many of life’s problems. Or at least key to feeling comfortable with not solving them.

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Comments

AmerBuddha July 25, 2012 @ 9:43 p.m.

Some people, like myself, feed off of other people's energy. I happen to be the opposite- I need to talk to somebody, and in a way, you do too, or else you wouldn't have written this long blog, sending out your feelings to the world.. True? The need to communicate is inborn in all of us, to different degrees. As babies, we would literally die if we weren't held and communicated to periodically. Taking it a step further, our identity depends on other people. Who are you in a group, your family, your friends, society? We constantly seek out, evolve and sometimes change or reinvent our identity. This dependency on others to define us can have serious positive or negative consequences. For example, let's take physical appearances. A good looking man (according to today's standards) will receive much positive feedback (positive identity) from others. This will reinforce his ego, confidence, etc.. which will then lead to more positive relationships, a good job, money, etc... The opposite is true of somebody who's looks do not fit the standard. Isolation, low- self esteem, low confidence, etc.. can follow. This dependency on others to define us is tricky and can cause a lot of stress and confusion. The key is first to be aware of it. To be aware of society's constant changing attack on our identity. To constantly have to live up to different people's and society's standards of what is considered acceptable in terms of our physical appearance, an acceptable job, satisfactory income and other social norms. The next step is build a strong enough ego and identity to where you are not knocked off by one or two people's negative opinions of you. Simply find something you are great at, and build on that. And in reality, most of what we perceive as negativity from others is in our own heads. This is the true root of all our problems. For, all of the other people's main focus in life is really no different than yours- themselves....

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