Blue Like Jazz Chapter 15 – Community: Living with Freaks
Rick does not have much tolerance for people living alone. He’s like Bill Clinton in that he feels everyone’s pain. If Rick thinks somebody is lonely, he can’t sleep at night. He wants us all to live with each other and play nice so he can get some rest. Tortured soul.
Working on my own humility, I try to point out my own ignorance when they are put before me. In this case, it is that I do not know what he meant by “He’s like Bill Clinton in that he feels everyone’s pain.” I guess Bill Clinton was a compassionate individual? I don’t know. One area of my ignorance definitely includes politics, meaning I do not keep up on which presidents are compassionate, which are disliked by the different races, which are not liked by the different social classes, or which are not liked by the homosexual community. Honestly, I do not follow politics at all…
So to the part of this point that made me feel it was worth noting…
I worry about a lot of people who live alone. I do not think EVERYONE needs someone to live with them, but being a psychology-oriented person and liking to assess peoples’ different personalities; I truly believe there are some personality types that would be best off not living alone. And I say this in reference for their own good, and possibly for the good of others as well...HA!
I have said it before that I truly believe we are all social creatures and need human interactions and contact. With that being the case, for an individual who might have difficulty in initiating human contact, or has limited means of human contact, living alone could only begin a downward spiral for their human connections, in my opinion. Granted this is not ALWAYS the case, so please do not see me saying that.
Also, I am not saying that NO one should live alone. I think there are many individuals who would have no issues with living alone. Their social contacts probably would not be affected much and they could live at peace and still have a healthy level of socializing.
And finally, I do understand that living alone might be someone’s only option. Obviously, in that case, it must be done, but when one is living alone, I think it is important to keep one’s level of human contact “in check.” Make sure to always be aware of the level of socialization that one has and make efforts to keep interactions at a healthy level.
I hear loneliness is rough…
The context for this next point by Mr. Miller is that he is talking about how he had just made the transition to moving in and living with 5 guys as roommates from having lived for 6 years alone.
I remember feeling tired for almost a year. I was tired because I wasn’t used to being around people all the time.
I can’t really related to that on a full scale, but I suppose it is similar to how when I’ve gone an entire weekend spent only in my bedroom by myself doing some project for school and I come out at the end of it all, on Sunday night possibly, to hangout with friends, I feel exhausted after all the socializing.
It is like our body gets on one track when we are alone. It basically slows down and focuses mainly on the internal being and the internal cues (possibly being why isolation can lead to depressive states), and then when we get in social settings we are turned onto external states and cues, sometimes causing us to ignore the internal being. I suppose it can be good in the sense of depression in that one can ignore, or forget about the internal depressive thoughts, but it can also cause one to not note the energy requirements of socialization—leading one to exhaustion if not properly monitored.
I was a serious recluse before I moved in with the guys at Graceland. When you live on your own for years, you begin to think the world belongs to you. You begin to think all space is your space and all times is your time.
I can understand that.
I think it takes human interaction to keep us grounded. I think without it, many of us could become so self-centered that we would lose track of the idea that everything ISN’T ours.
In a way, this goes along with the scenario of the “only child.” As the sayings tend to go, a lot of only child’s can sometimes have struggles with the concept of sharing. This of course is easy to understand why this could be the case, since they did not have someone else around their age in which they might have to share their toys with.
When we don’t have to share objects or space or time with someone else, whether it is based on the concept of being an only child or rather it be the case of living alone, we can easily fall into the mindset that everything IS ours.
Tuck was one of my best friends when he moved in. He is still one of my best friends, but for a while I wanted to kill him. He did not understand that life was a movie about me. Nobody ever told him. He would knock on my door while I was reading, come in and sit down in a chair opposite me, and then he would want to talk, he would want to hear about my day. I couldn’t believe it. The audacity to come into my room, my soundstage, and interrupt the obvious flow of the story with question about how I am.
I like that context for a couple reasons…
First, I have always been a firm believer that best friends should do their best to avoid living together. Let me clarify this. I am talking best friend in reference to a best friend that you tend to hangout with a lot. I understand that someone could be a best friend and maybe the two of you don’t actually hangout a lot, but still view one another as “best friends.” However, in my terminology, I most likely wouldn’t consider you a best friend unless we spend ample amounts of time together. The only exception to this would be if distance keeps this from happening.
So, I do not believe people who hangout a lot should be roommates.
I believe having friends as roommates is very important. It is important that you like the people you are living with, but I think the ideal roommate situation is friends you love and enjoy the company of, but do not hangout with on a frequent basis.
I have found, especially with females, that spending too much time together is where issues arise.
Secondly, in reference to the Donald Miller piece, I smile to myself when I read that last part about having his friend come into his room and ask him how his day was…
I had some wonderful roommate experiences throughout college. I will brag and say I think I am not a difficult person to live with, but besides that, I truly was blessed with some great people that came my way for roommates.
I had a WONDERFUL roommate my sophomore year. If you looked at the two of us you might think we were night and day, but we had a blast living together!
Then my junior year came and I was going to live with three girls. I only knew one of them previously, and even she I didn’t know all that well. Things worked out GREAT there too! It was these roommates that made me smile at Miller’s comment…
I have always been a very people-oriented individual, but when I’m at home, you can almost always find me just in my room…
I’m not much for television, so living rooms don’t really serve a lot of purpose for me, unless I’m entertaining guests of course. And then kitchens—well, actually, you can ask my old roommates about this one—I basically use it as a place to prepare food and that’s about it. I enjoy eating in my room where I can multitask while eating…HA! And yes, I know that is not a healthy eating routine, but it hasn’t really caused me any problems as of yet, so until then, I continue. Then there’s the bathroom, and well, I think we all know it’s purpose.
So my room is normally where you can find me. And yes, I’m still that same way, even after leaving my three roommates from college, so it is nothing toward not wanting to interact with them; nothing like that at all.
So I smile because it would happen to me as it would happen to Miller. I would get a knock on my bedroom door to have a roommate come in to just “hear about my day.” It was a welcomed gesture; I had no problem with it, it’s just that I wasn’t always that type of a roommate. And what’s interesting to me is how I actually do think I am one to quickly ask how my friend’s days were when I’m talking to them on the phone or chatting with them on AIM, but when it comes to being at home, I am never quick to ask. Not just with my college roommates, but even today.
I like to get home, go to my room, and do my own thing. I suppose that is the purpose “home” serves for me. It’s the time I use for myself, as I try to use my time out of the house to see how I can help others by shifting my focus.
Living in community made me realize one of my faults: I was addicted to myself. All I thought about was myself. The only thing I really cared about was myself. I had very little concept of love, altruism, or sacrifice. I discovered that my mind is like a radio that picks up only one station, the one that plays me: K-DON, all Don, all the time.
“Addicted to myself”…I could be.
I don’t think all I think about is myself, but I have a pretty high appreciation for myself.
Maybe it is my concepts of “love, altruism, or sacrifice” that allow me to have an “addiction” but to still think of others.
I’m by no means saying I’m altruistic, or that I’ve made any hard-core sacrifices, but I think when you grow up in a large family, especially when means are limited, you learn the concept of sacrifice. When it comes to altruism, I have had the opportunity to see that trait in a few others, which is definitely a trait I admire, so I understand the concept through my sense of “community.”
As for love, well, we’ll just say I definitely have an opinion on that matter…HA!
The most difficult lie I have ever contended with is this: Life is a story about me.
I once heard it said that you know you are grown up when you begin to live your life for someone other than yourself.
So, if that is true, and I’m not saying I necessarily agree with it or disagree with is, so to say. But if it is true, does that mean we are child-like up until the point when we realize that life truly isn’t all about our self? When the “lie” becomes evident…
I hear addicts talk about the shakes and panic attacks and the highs and lows of resisting their habit, and to some degree I understand them because I have had habits of my own, but no drug is so powerful as the drug of self. No rut in the mind is so deep as the one that says I am the world, the world belongs to me, all people are characters in my play. There is no addiction so powerful as self-addiction.
Self-addiction is a serious issue. I can say that having admitted in a previous point that I struggle with issues of self-addiction.
Humility is tough. And humbling situations are all different. Humility is definitely a situational thing, as well as a unique experience for each person.
In some areas, I can pretty easily put others before me, but then there are other areas that it is very difficult. It is in those situations where I do struggle, and the best I have been able to achieve in situations like these is the success of keeping my thoughts and beliefs to myself…
[Note: All the above text in smaller italic print has been quoted directly from Donald Miller’s “Blue Like Jazz”]