That's not strictly true. I'm closer to Kevin than ever, and I think after four years in Chicago, I've finally found a group of folks who I can socialize with on a regular basis. That's mostly come about as a result of Kriti planning, as our monthly meetings turned into weekly ones in the final run-up to the festival, and we ate and talked and worried and planned together. They're not close friends yet, not like the friends I've had forever; they don't hear so much yet about my deeper worries. But in the last month post-festival as I recovered, I've had local people to chat with, and see movies with, and eat meals with, and they have the potential to become close friends with time. That's really nice; after four years back in Chicago without making so many friends, I was starting to get a little worried.
But I have surely neglected my long-distance friends, both casual and serious, in the last few months. For two different reasons, oddly enough.
The casual friends (and my poor abused journal readers) have been neglected for sheer lack of time, for several months of panic-stricken work, followed by a month of exhausted collapse. I am only now starting to come to myself again, and I just didn't have the time for unfocused chatting. Sorry about that, but I'm afraid it was inevitable, and somewhat to be expected. Such silences will undoubtedly happen again, whenever I get busy.
More interesting to me is something that I didn't expect. Which is that I didn't talk to my more serious friends because I didn't have the emotional energy. In the face of immense emotional strain, I turned into an introvert -- a serious introvert. Me! I was just barely managing to hold myself together enough (if we can call it 'holding together' despite almost daily bursting into tears) to manage all my responsibilities, to not drop any major balls. And for the first time in my life, it felt like talking seriously to other people about my problems wasn't going to help -- it would just use up emotional energy that I didn't have to spare. Weird.
So I shut down, went into a strange sort of crisis-coping mode that I didn't even know I had in me. Just trying to get from one task to another without thinking too much. And it worked, but in the process, I went completely silent to my oldest and dearest friends. I think they'll mostly forgive me, and I'm writing this here not so much for them, but simply to document this strange period in my life. I don't like being an introvert. It's not nearly as much fun for me as extroversion is. I don't like feeling like I don't have time to read a book or cook dinner or watch a tv show. And I hate feeling like I don't have the emotional energy to have a simple conversation with an old friend.
So now we have learned the lesson -- the Mary Anne does indeed have limits. She can't actually do everything, or at least not all at once. At least now I may have a warning system in place -- when I start not wanting to talk to my friends, it's time to cut back on work, severely. Good to know.