Isolation Is Where The Heart Is

Welcome back to San Jose, California. Where the streets are flooded with over caffeinated drivers with heavy hands on their car horns. The land where you live to work and clocking out at 60 hours a week is the norm.

The Best of Intentions
I returned home to San Jose after not seeing my mom for over a year. I had expectations, grand plans, good intentions and naturally walked out with an entirely different experience than what I walked in with. I have expectations that parents keep their promises. Expectations that I know exactly what I need to do to stay in emotional sobriety at 2 years sober. Expectations that it’s obvious that I love you. Expectations that I still don’t make my mother cry. Expectations that I have accumulated a stable enough life to sustain peace wherever I go. This was not so.

I planned to be in San Jose for a month and intended to spend a lot of that time with my mother. The plan was to be with her as much as possible and to give her as much of myself as possible. I thought that I would be able to provide much more than I could. After a couple of weeks being there I began to get physically sick again. My throat slit glass slivers through itself. I felt like there were daggers pushing into places deep inside my mouth. I was unable to speak and eat.

The stress of being around my mother pushed me back into who I forgot I used to be. The parts of me I don’t want to be. “I thought I worked through this shit!” is what I kept thinking during the trip. The silence that rests between me and my mother I find to echo one thousand made up stories. We so desperately want to love each other but have difficulties accepting one another.

There’s this need we both possess to try and fix one another. To help one another heal. However, with the intentions of helping one another we try to read the others mind. We predict what the other one needs. There’s a line of codependency between the two of us and during this trip is the first time I clearly saw that cord….. and I cut it. I cut myself away from my mom for the first time at the best of ability in hopes of loving her better, and in hopes of loving her more.

I didn’t follow through with my original plans. Although we were together often it just wasn’t what either of us thought would happen. Lots of doctors appointments. Lots of running around the smog filled San Jose. Lots of passive aggressive silence.

I felt like I was on a merry go round. I kept watching old patterns pass by me. Jealousy. Victimization. Being meek and submissive. Not speaking up for myself. Stress.

 

Friends to Lean on
The trip wasn’t entirely wasted. I was able to see friends I hadn’t seen in a couple of years. I did manage to get myself to meetings only when I felt like ripping my fingernails off. I saw a friend in recovery who has been the only friend I’ve kept in touch with besides Benny. Seeing Pilar means a lot to me because she’s the only person who has kept in touch with me in San Jose fellowship. Being sober and without a fellowship made my sobriety feel lonely.

What I began to remember is old habits. I don’t like to make myself vulnerable. I don’t like to put myself in a position where I can potentially be rejected. This is part of the reason I experience isolation is partially because I isolate myself.

So having friends who are my chosen family was vital to my experience back home. Remembering what makes friendships last. Remembering that it takes a lot to maintain friendships. In my experience, it takes a lot of vulnerability, because when I’m by myself I don’t risk rejection.

Every time I was with friends I felt like I could breathe again. I was reminded of where I actually am in my life. That I have grown and that I am strong and that I am loved.

We linked up with Alex and did one of the best things and that was hit the late night taco truck at 1 AM. This was by far the most banging mexican food in San Jose hands down.

 

After that we went to San Francisco and we got to hang out in the mission with friends for the night. Seeing Ian and Amanda was a breath of fresh air. I never thought I would meet someone that was as funny as Amanda….. and then I met Ian. I love seeing my friends in love. I love seeing my friends be appreciated for who they are and what they deserve. Being with two folks in love and introducing them to the person I love and adore….. well that’s a whole lotta love right there and folks, that love is what makes me blessed.

 

Being with my family wasn’t entirely bad. I got to see my little sisters and how they’ve changed and grown. Standing next to my 12 year old sister and looking up at her was a satisfying experience for us both. She got to smile and feel older, accomplished, like she isn’t little anymore. I got to look up at her and see that she’s a young woman.

Isaiah did get to meet my family and experience California. He saw San Francisco, Santa Cruz, got to eat In N Out Burger and real mexican food. I wanted to show him so much more but alas…. life has it’s own plans.

 

Isolation

alyssa-isaiah-trailer

Even with all the love I still let myself get overcome with isolation. It’s a hell of a trip. To be surrounded by groups of people and still feel alone. I didn’t know where to turn to. I did try and meditate often. I even was able to meditate with my little sister. What a loving experience!

However I just had all this loneliness inside of myself. I didn’t feel understood most of the trip and generally I felt like I just wanted to go back to Portland. I realized that all these feelings of aloneness are something that I carry within myself. It’s a feeling that I have to break up with in so many words. I have to begin to nurture friendship and community and love.

This loneliness is a universal feeling. Bring up the subject of isolation and there will be a room full of people who raise their hand saying that they have experienced that exact feeling.

Community

When I got back to Portland I did exactly that. I made a commitment to myself that I would nurture the word yes. Yes I will meet up for tea. Yes let’s do brunch. Yes let’s take a walk in the park. Yes I will go to that show. Yes I’ll pick up that phone call. Yes yes yes yes. YES.

A friend told me if I want to move away because I feel like I don’t have community, there likelihood of feeling isolated in a new city is high. No more taking my friends for granted. No more disenchantment of Portland. I’m trying to remember the magic and honor my friendships while continuing to make new ones.

 

 

 

 

 

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Author:

I am a 26 year old Japanese American queer cis female who is from the bay area and currently lives in Portland, Oregon with her pitbull named Yuki. She is my pride and joy. I have been sober since 2014 and started to work in the sex industry in December 2016. We moved to Portland about 4 years ago in 2013 and have been learning how to thrive in this grey, wet, yet charming environment of Portland. Three things attracted me to this magic nook on the west coast. Tree tunnels (as I like to call them) that tower over roads swallowing you into a tube of nature, people’s tendency to look you in the eye and ask how you’re doing (with expectation of a genuine answer), and tea houses/coffee shops are a past time here. They say this is the city where 20 year olds come to retire or the city of refugee weirdos who just didn’t quite fit in. My diagnosis of Portland is the city that embraces those who love to isolate and be awkward so if hiding out in your room to geek out on your blog or simply drink tea in your room all day is your thing I suggest you check out what the fuss is about in Portlandia. Although Portland is whimsical in it’s own right it has a major amends to make to it’s citizens of color. It’s been here that I’ve learned the most about activism and politics unfortunately as a result of the city’s non acknowledgement of all of their citizens. The citizens here although progressive in it’s own way participates in it’s own subtle yet powerful microaggressions daily. The city is vanilla to put it lightly. When I am not day dreaming of sunnier days you can find me in a tea shop rambling in my journal about the romantic fantasy of hopping a train or living out of a van, admiring baby doll heads and crooked picture frames, watering my indoor plants desperately trying to learn how to have a green thumb, geeking out on astrology charts, obsessing over Michael Jackson and screaming all his songs, flooding my earphones with Princess Nokia to CocoRosie to Mac Dre to name my top favorites, going to strip clubs, crying, praying, attending pole dancing class and learning a variety of ways to make my beautiful backside bounce, holding hands, blowing bubbles, dismantling the patriarchy, writing a story, a poem or working on a zine. My blog has no rhyme or reason but you may find some of those influences as themes in within my posts. What I do hope to do with my blog is expose myself vulnerably if nothing else as an act of leaving behind a documented record of my human-ness but the truest hope, dream in fact, is to help someone out there to feel less alone. I hope that through my ability to candidly share my rawest sense of self I can help build an online community of witches, activists, freedom fighters, freaks, mermaids, pretty boys, studly girls, theys, and thems.

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