stagnation and isolation

“stagnation” – noun, the state of not flowing or moving

“isolate” – verb, cause (a person or place) to be or remain alone or apart from others

So, I’m writing this one from the bottom of my well, that is to say: I have dropped phenomenally far, so this one could be interesting. Apologies in advance.

The two definitions sitting at the top of this are neither positive nor encouraging words I am afraid and I have no clear plan as to how to link them properly yet, but I do have a metaphor and, as the, like, two regular readers I have may have noticed, I like metaphors.

For the past year or so I have felt like a lone sock, a single from a pair, left in a laundromat tumble dryer a couple too many times. I’ve been through the spin a couple too many times and am starting to feel dizzy and wear thin. Each time someone throws their laundry in, everything gets dumped on top of me, I get dragged through a soggy, overheated rollercoaster and when the rest of the clothes get pulled out I get picked up, frowned at and surreptitiously placed back in the dryer as someone else’s problem. Lather, rinse, repeat basically.

I am turning twenty later this week and had very specific plans for when I was twenty. When I was fifteen, I was going to be in the middle of my medical degree by the time I was twenty, living in an apartment in Cape Town with a tank full of fish to keep me company. When I was sixteen, I was going to be working part-time in a theatre while I studied Drama in Durban and lived right next to the beach. When I was seventeen I was going to be dead. When I was eighteen, I was going to be in England, working towards my English Literature degree with a roommate and a job and a stable future. Just a month ago, my plan was more flexible, less clear and vague enough that there are some very large blurs, but it was something more.

Instead, I still live in a house with my mother, the same one I’ve lived in since I was fifteen, still work at the same place with my mother that I’ve worked since I was sixteen and have somehow accidentally taken on more responsibility with a position at a place which was supposed to be “temporary”. I saw an old friend of mine and commented on how being “comfortable” with something (we were talking about her boyfriend at the time) wasn’t a bad thing. However, I’m beginning to notice how very “comfortable” I am getting in my office with my coworkers and my phone calls and reservations systems.

I keep getting thrown back into that dryer and the door keeps closing on me. The problem I have realised is that this particular sock has a voice which I am choosing to keep quiet. I have the means to turn around and say “Let me out the damn dryer. I don’t belong with these clothes in this place. There’s somewhere else I’m supposed to be, some other socks I am supposed to be with.”

This leads to my “isolation” definition. (Damn, look at that flawless segue :P)

This post was initially going to be about flaws and the only reason I changed it was because half of the flaws I wanted to discuss correlated directly with this particular word. All through school, I was one of those people who was “friends” with everyone. I never really had a problem with anyone and could easily have a chat or pop down to the shops with pretty much anyone I went to school with, regardless of their friend group or whether or not we knew much more about each other than our names. This meant that I typically didn’t put a lot of effort into keeping friends. I always had that small group of friends who meant a lot to me, but I found it easy to keep them as we were of similar mindsets and naturally stayed together.

Since finishing school and no longer having to see everyone every day, I have slowly lost the motivation to put effort into those friendships and, while if I bumped into one I know we would have a chat, I don’t bother trying to make those chats happen anymore and, similarly, it seems those people gave up on me. This was something I was fine with a year ago when I was leaving the country and had to leave these people behind, never to see them again, and thought it would be easier to lessen the pain of the goodbyes then rather than when I would be leaving but my own limitations that I’ve managed to find for myself ( a lack of driver’s license, a loss of interest in most social events of any kind and general wallowing) means that I’ve slowly been pushing myself into a lonely corner.

I also recently entered into a relationship (I think I’ve mentioned this before) and am finding myself dedicating more time to this than is probably healthy. While we are both are aware there may be aspects of this relationship that may not be normal or “healthy”, I am realising more and more that there are more things that may not be considered healthy for me in particular, I’m finding it harder and harder to care.

The main one I’m noticing recently is that I am allowing it to contribute to this isolation. Being in love with someone means that you dedicate a lot more of your thinking time to them. I am also the kind of person that finds it hard to give too much of myself to too many people at once, hence the very small friend groups. This has meant that, as I give more and more of myself to him, I’ve been taking bits of myself from other people to hand over to him instead. This isn’t his fault nor is it anyone’s but my own and for some time I thought it wasn’t a bad idea because, again, fewer goodbyes. I would rather have three immensely painful goodbyes than fifteen just very painful ones.


While I didn’t mean to lose touch with some friends, I grew impatient and tired and gave up on a lot of conversations. Many of my old friends had moved to other sides of the country or even the world and I see no point in making new friends in a gossipy town which I can’t wait to leave. This has meant, however, that the only people I ever spend time with are the people I work with, my mother and my boyfriend and this worries me in that my life is beginning to lose meaning.

After a particularly long day; I go home and realise that I am expending all this energy and time on a job that I don’t exactly like and don’t plan on staying in any longer than I have to. This, added to my general drops and usual triggers leaves me a bit of a mess of a single sock rolling around in a dryer beginning to find itself simultaneously comfortable and despondent.

Those other pieces of clothing I am in with now are wonderful, mostly, and I love them all to pieces, mostly, and they are all very functional pieces of clothing and very nice as well, some are particularly soft and fluffy and nice to be stuck in there with, but all I can think about is getting out of that dryer.

The only worry on my mind when I reach this point though is: What happens when I finally get out of that dryer?



[Sing Me to Sleep, Alan Walker // 4 Life, Robin Schulz ft. Graham Candy // We Don’t Have to Take our Clothes Off, Ella Eyre]


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