I come from a small immediate family, but my extended family more than makes up for it by being exceedingly large and well knit. I come from a community where everyone is overtly curious about everyone else, and consequently does what they do to keep abreast of each others’ lives. I can’t believe I’d forgotten how boisterous they could be, and how much their behaviour got under my skin; my hypersensitive, introverted skin. It’s no surprise that over the years, I’d avoided most of these folk—along with their questions, opinions, judgements and their noise—first blaming the rigours of grad school, and later living far away from them all in some remote part of Europe.
But even that can’t keep their strong tentacles from roping me back in. Here I am, right back in the thick of things: a cousin’s wedding that everyone’s invited to.
As I’d mentioned earlier but did not harp upon, I’ve spent the past few weeks gallivanting across the U.S. And while the first bits of my trip were fun and relaxing—featuring nothing more than tranquillity and intimate moments—subsequent legs of the journey have been steadily spiralling out of control. I’m being overwhelmed by just about everything and everyone, and have this intense urge to flee to somewhere secluded and peaceful. It’s almost as if every bit of news, every offhand remark, every even-if-innocuous question, even the slightest of babels—everything—causes me anguish. I’d spent so long calming down, opening up and realising how it felt to be contended and happy. I can feel it all coming undone.
I really am happy for my cousin. I’m sure it mustn’t have been easy for him to get to this point—is it really easy for anyone?—and I’m excited for him. Sadly, all I’m waiting for is to get back home. Away from all of this and retreating into my own cocoon.