Surviving Isolation Pt. 2: Isolating Together

Amidst this global crisis everybody is having to adjust to a new lifestyle. Most of whom aren’t very comfortable with this new forced isolation and asking them to stay home is a difficult adjustment for some. That being said, isolation and staying home has always come very natural to me so I’d say I’m adjusting very reasonably. At least considering the situation. I have some work to do in regards to keeping mind of my physical health and well-being but in past times of isolation, even the most recent brief period of self-isolation before the covid-19 outbreak occurred I found being alone for too long had serious repercussions to my mental health and subsequently a lot of my relationships. When you keep saying no to people’s invites and your default state is to just hide away from everyone eventually people get tired of asking. This hasn’t been the case this time, and I don’t know if it’s in part due to a sense of unity brought by the fact that we’re all isolating and that is having unique and uncomfortable effects on all of us, but I also have a huge thanks to give to Animal Crossing. Strangely, the game I’ve played obsessively as a kid to get away from all of other’s life’s bullshit, hide in my own town and live my simple and relaxing island life is now becoming a tool and gateway for me to stay out of complete isolation and forces me to be more social and inviting.

That’s all in part due to the newest series’ multiplayer feature and that the game requires you to play with and trade with other players in order to acquire all the items available in the game. It also so happens that most of my friends are all on the same Tom Nook debt grind just like me so everyone I know is stuck in that “Fuck we need to find whatever way we can to climb out of this infinite debt abyss” so there is a sense of unity among all of us. That’s even more so compounded that we all put ourselves in this virtual hell to escape the very real fears that are just out our doors. Who’s to say how long this situation is going to last or how much it’s going to get worse before it starts getting any better, but this game and playing it with the people I love has really kept me secure and free from panicking. I said in my last post that I was looking for more friendships with a higher emotional intensity and while that is very much still the case. In fact I’ve been working at bettering some of my relationships that I had withdrew from for whatever reason it was; anxiety, self-protection, depression. I do want friendships in which I feel comfortable confiding in, that want to spend time with me enough to reach out (and not in any way which they feel socially pressured or obligated to), and the most important part: someone I feel comfortable with. There are some people I have in my life who, well expend a bit more of my energy and level of comfort. That’s not to say that there’s anything bad with that friendship or that it’s not one I am glad to have in my life. I love most of them, even if talking with them or the situations around hanging out with them causes me some discomfort.

Not everyone in my life is going to be as easy going, or make me feel like I’m not at risk of doing or saying anything that I might be shamed or feel embarrassed about. People that make me feel comfortable just being me. Some people I just don’t feel as comfortable with as others, and that can include both past and new friends. I’ve lived through enough of other’s manipulation and pressuring from exes to finally have learned to just say no when I don’t want to do something. That’s been my biggest skillset I’ve had that I definitely didn’t have before. I am usually just able to say no or to just choose to do things that I am comfortable and know I will enjoy, rather than being in discomfort. This is really only an issue when I agree before having all the information.. or more upsetting, they just invite others either after I already accepted an invitation or sometimes they don’t even ask before inviting them beforehand. Doesn’t give me much of a chance to consider the group size or equally important, who’s joining us. That’s not the biggest deal though because I can still always just leave when I want to. I do appreciate my friend Lilly had noticed I was uncomfortable when others would join uninvited (which happened a lot when people see them on their server. She happens to be very popular there), she began getting into the habit of having us enter a private channel where only limited people have access (mostly those I know I’m comfortable with.) One of the many reasons I feel very comfortable spending time with them. What I’m taking forever to try and say is while I do still want friendships with a high emotional intensity, right now at least I am finding comfort in essentially only the lowest of stakes activities. Competitive games haven’t been as enjoyable as just getting high and playing some animal crossing and playing with those I have grown to love to just chill with. Lowest of stakes.

This game brings up so much nostalgic memories of my childhood, of weeks I spent trying to earn enough bells to buy cool furniture items and since I saw these villagers every day they became dear friends of mine. I’m kind of in the same boat now, I’ve spent what is it two weeks playing this game since it came out and I’ve transformed my island from a small blob of weeds, trees, and rivers to a living, breathing town so I’m very much invested and attached to my town. It’s not just how much I spent there. It’s about all the time those I’ve been playing with have spent here as well, either by connecting online or just joining in the call with me as I suffered through this grind. It’s nice to find something that we’re obsessed with. Something that is easy-going, allows me to kick my feet back , listen to some of our favorite songs together along on spotify and just not think about anything else. That’s really nice and definitely what I really need right now.

When things start to clear up, and we’re in less pressing times and I’m not so cooped up here in my home and I’m able to go through with my plans to see my friends again.. then hopefully I’ll have more energy to expend and I won’t have to say no as often. Larger groups might not be my thing, I definitely do prefer one on ones much more, I do suppose that’s how I get to meet more people and introduce more into “my pack.” It’s a matter of how much am I willing to step out of my comfort zone. We’ll see.

Till then,