Happy Hump Day! "Hump" makes me think of "The Hump Bar" now, which is an establishment on the show "Army Wives"... yes, I have been spending far too much time watching this show.
I had what I thought was a semi-deep thought about TV watching while talking to a couple friends after my InterPlay theatre group last night. One friend had just returned from two weeks hiking with her family in Nepal (she was not near the avalanche, thank goodness) and was describing how, during the entire trip, she was surrounded by family and other community, including porters who constantly watched her and anticipated her every need. After returning to her regular life, she felt unhappy with it and depressed that she was returning to watching a lot of TV for relaxation and down time. She missed the attention and ongoing connection with others.
I responded with sympathy (as I have shared here, I have TV-watching patterns that I question) and also the thought that a "void" wants to be filled. When something is missing or goes away, other things will flow in to fill the space. It makes sense. So, continuing that thought now, it's not necessarily about trying to stop TV watching but about considering other choices that fill the needs for relaxation and connection. And when you live alone, the connection options are fairly limited, especially when you are an introvert and worn out from the day. Even introverts, though, need to be seen and heard - need attention and loving on a regular basis.
My work gives me contact with people, but I am in the "giving" mode when it comes to attention and care. I provide the counseling for the students, and I enjoy doing it. AND I need, if not counseling, then opportunities to express myself and receive care. In my last living situation, my housemate, K, and I had meals together on a regular basis; maybe not every day, but at least every two or three days and sometimes more. Now, somehow, while seeking a "community" living situation, I have created a very similar similar living situation to my prior one, with even LESS connection!
How did this happen? I think, in part, because it's hard to find the "right" living situation with others, but also because I do need down time by myself to recharge. I don't think living in a full or "bustling" household would work for me. I just want one or maybe two other people to connect with at least once a day for meaningful conversation.
In the past, when I was in a 12-Step program, this need for meaningful connection was met through meetings. When I am in relationship, this need is met through my partner... at least when the relationship is functioning in a healthy way. When I attend my dance and theatre groups, this need is sometimes met, but often not fully, as group conversation tends to stay on the surface (these groups definitely meet my need for movement and creative expression, however!) Going out to eat afterwards brings more opportunities, but that generally only happens once a week at the most. Talking to my brother feels good in terms of connection, but he is busy with his own family and we only talk every two or three weeks. I have a couple of friends with whom I can talk on that level, but again, we get together every couple/few weeks.
Sooo, in the interim, day-to-day, there is a void, and I fill it with TV. So shoot me. :) I'm going to cut myself more slack around that, as well as try and create those reflective spaces around it, in which I can consider other choices - journaling/blogging or talking things through out loud into my video phone (to feel more "heard"); maybe a collage or art project (Christmas is coming up), or maybe, when I can afford it, going to see an NVC counselor that could provide empathy. Maybe I could look at joining another NVC practice group.
Thanks for listening to my reflection and brainstorming around this topic. It was helpful! As I wait to be matched with a "little sister," I think it is good timing to recognize I could use more support myself. I think when I get more support, then I can provide better support for others...
AND, I will try and have compassion for myself around my (sometimes excessive) TV watching.