Thanksgiving weekend has reminded me of the incredible amount of energy it requires to meet new people, but also how thankful I am to still be a part of my friends lives.
“The Gift of the Gab”
As my heart condition develops and changes I am losing the ability to do the things that I once did. I can no longer run or play organized sports, drinking and doing drugs are out of the question, one of the few things that I still have is what my mother would call “The Gift of The Gab”. This essentially means that I am good at talking, people like me and I like people. As my heart issue has progressed I have found that socializing has become a far more important part of my life. Even though I have always had a way with people, my interactions with others has developed greatly and now benefits me in more ways than one.
The Art of Conversation
When I meet a new group of people I feel the need to bring them ease and comfort while being in my presence. I make sure to find the subjects of conversation where I can elaborate, moments where I can be inquisitive, and personal details that I can be attentive to. The process of human dialogue is tiring. Throughout the evening I hold up many conversations and spend half my time just trying to remember names, references, past events and familial context (in the Thanksgiving setting), not to mention all your P’s and Q’s. This process for me is exciting! It is a thrilling game of socializing chess giving me a view into the life of another human being.
The Beauty of Human Interaction
I do all this work for the human connection, something I have come to value very much. Feeling the eye contact between myself and another person, seeing what they feel while they speak. A hug, a moment of eye contact, a blush or a nervous twitch. These natural human responses are the social gems I cherish when I come into contact with others. Suddenly the world is not centred around me, me laptop and my petty little problems. People are distractions. The most complex and articulate distractions in the world. Other human beings who are stumbling through this confusing maze of life with me in tandem, and for a moment I get to do it with them. That’s the reward of social interaction, the stimulus and excitement of fresh conversation, the social jousting match of exchanging information. In these moments I am invested in someone else, all my problems go on the back burner and my focus is on them, it’s an escape.
Everything Has Cost
With this massive commitment to these moments I expend a lot of energy. After a long night of partying and social time I am worn out. My heart sounds tired, beating slow and out of rhythm, and mentally I feel myself slip into a rut. I have expelled so much energy that I lack the cognizant stamina to stand up to my own mental pace while I’m alone. Solitude, with the prospects of my condition, is extremely depressing and causes a great deal of anxiety in my life. Drained of energy I’m left with Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to maintain my social needs.
” If human interaction is heroin, then being alone is withdrawals, and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are little doses of methadone to carry me through to the next day.”
The Heart Of It All
In the world of heart disease limitations I have had to find ways to release myself from the issues I deal with on a daily basis. People have become my coping mechanism. Each person I talk to is an escape. I need them to see outside of my own mental walls and feel connected and supported by another person. I’m torn by this struggle though, because on one hand I need to feel this connection and I get lost in the experience of it, but it wears me down to a dangerously low point. I have to monitor how I am doing throughout the evening and exercise a bit of restraint. Just like drinking or doing drugs, it’s a fine balance of getting that enjoyment and fun without going over the top and burning myself out.