Antisocial Artist Syndrome, Anyone?

Unlocked - photo copyright Meghan Garner

Unlocked - photo copyright Meghan Garner

I love what I do. Truly. And I am fully aware of how lucky I am to be able to make that statement. I love that I can spend my days creating to my heart’s content, getting my hands into the clay and watching a piece come to life. I love that I set my own schedule, and if I want to drop everything in the afternoon to take my husband a picnic lunch on campus I can do that. I love that I’m constantly learning new things, stretching my abilities and broadening my horizons. I could not have it better, really.

However, as everyone who has been lucky enough to attain their “dream job” knows, even the fantasy has downsides when viewed up close. For me, the downside is the isolation. I work from my home, which is certainly convenient in some ways; I don’t have to scrape ice off the car on chilly winter mornings in order to get to work; I don’t have to stare at cubicle walls all day; I never find myself distracted by a co-worker’s loud phone call or irritating persistent cough.

I do find myself getting lonely, though. And, surprisingly, as my loneliness grows my desire to get out and be social actually shrinks. The longer I spend inside typing away at the computer or crouched over my workbench, the more I dread the events that force me to get out. Being social and friendly suddenly seems like a gigantic effort, one which I rarely have the energy or motivation to tackle.

Now is the point of the post where you could reasonably expect me to offer some sort of solution, or declare my resolution to get up and do something about it. Unfortunately, I don’t have anything to offer. In fact, as I type this, I’m also trying to think up an excuse to get out of going to book club tonight, because the thought of socializing with a room full of people – even people I really like – is just too daunting.

Maybe I should focus on the good – the flexibility of my schedule, the many outlets I have for my creativity, the fact that I have plenty of time to spend with my hubby. Maybe I should be grateful for the amazing life that I have and stop worrying about it’s long-term effects on my sanity. After all, that sanity was a fragile thing to begin with. 😉

Maybe I should just go to book club.

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4 Responses to Antisocial Artist Syndrome, Anyone?

  1. Jen says:

    Go to the book club 🙂

  2. Krisko says:

    I feel you on this. I think it’s one part scheduling, and one part sociophobia.

    You’ve gotten used to doing everything on your own terms, on your own time, without really having any consequences. It starts to feel like hassle and/or an interruption of your non-schedule, when something with a repetitive schedule (like book club, the gym, church, etc.) keeps coming back week after week, slicing into all that time you may have wanted to spend doing anything else.

    The solution (and tell me if you’re able to do it, because I’ve been entirely unsuccessful), is to stop letting yourself get away with having no schedule. You have a job. Pretend you’re a boss making a schedule for an employee you just hired. Write it down, or type it up, stick it to a wall and stay with it (this is where I fail.) Anyway, this adds a little more structure to your life and makes those weekly extracurricular activities a little less of an intrusion on your perceived “free” time.

    You may not have gotten to the point of sociophobia yet; however, some folks do. All of your closest friends live out of town, but hey, you can talk to them through Facebook, email, or phone. Why would you go out, when the only person (other than yourself) with whom you need actual, physical interaction comes home to you every day, and snuggles with you at night? All the social interaction you could ever need need comes from him, right?

    Sociophobia is of greater concern, but I’m not a therapist. I have no answer or solution for this other than the brute force method. I’ve had to battle this problem for years. It makes me crazy nervous to go out with people, even friends. The more people, the more nervous I get beforehand. I have to physically force myself to get in the car and go sometimes. Usually, once I get there, I’m completely fine and have a great time.

  3. Jen, I did. 🙂

    Kristen, it’s SO true about the scheduling! I get used to having things my own way, and I get lazy. 🙂 My solution to this is to have my studio outside my home, so I can treat it like a full time job – go in at 8 in the morning and stay till 5, leave my book and my laundry and all the million other distractions at home and really get down to business.

    Unfortunately, that will have to wait until Jon is done with school and we actually live somewhere. Until then, I continue to try unsuccessfully to keep to a schedule.

    As far as the rest is concerned, on my part at least I think it really is more laziness. Being social takes a lot of effort, especially here where my friends are all fairly new. The bigger the group, the more the effort involved in getting along. It’s so much easier to sit in comfypants and a tshirt and watch a movie on the couch.

    I’m like you, the more I think about going out somewhere the more I dread it, but once I get there I (usually) have a fantastic time. I just have to convince myself that it’s worth the effort.

  4. tammi says:

    I’m right there with you. The weekends are my main creative time. I work full-time plus with people five days a week, where I have to be on. So, on the weekends, I really like to hunker down and get creative. My hubbie wants to go, go, go. I just want my hermit life at my bench. If I was creating full-time at my home, I’d probably never see people, except at the grocery store. However, I’d probably let hubbie shop for me! I have no solution for you. I think us creative types are much more content with ourselves!

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