If Emily Dickinson Were a 20-Something Single Black Female in 2018

I’m a homebody. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I like staying in, binge watching my favorite TV shows, putting on a good movie or kicking my feet up to read a good book (or write one). I like to cook, look up new recipes to try, tend to my balcony herb garden, take long walks on the trail behind my apartment complex (not too far from home but just enough “outside” to say that I’ve been outside).

Some may call me boring—I really don’t give a shit—a few years ago, that might have hurt my feelings. Others may wonder why someone who is still in her 20’s (albeit, the upper end of them) doesn’t do more. There’s so many exciting things happening outside those four walls. Get out, girl.

And I do, but not always…

And lately, not ever.

My tendency to be a recluse has gotten a bit extreme in the last few weeks. One Saturday, I spent the entire day in my bed. Seriously, from sunup to sundown, I lay, fell in and out of sleep a few times, but the majority of the day was spent staring at my rotating ceiling fan, at the parking lot outside my bedroom window, or at Facebook or Instagram when I got too bored. The only times I moved was to use the bathroom, and even that wasn’t often because I hadn’t eaten a thing all day and definitely didn’t drink anything, not until after dark, and even then only a yogurt cup and some fruit juice because I didn’t feel like cooking, also, I needed desperately to go to the grocery store.

I had never been that lazy before in my life, and it wasn’t like that work week was particularly busy or hard or overwhelming. I really had no excuse. And yet, Sunday was no different.

Sometimes I fear that my work schedule enables this debilitating behavior. Every other week, I work from home three straight days. When I first started, I thought the schedule was awesome! Those weeks would feel like extended weekends! I could truly relax from the comfort of my own home or even have longer vacations, though I’d still technically be working.

It’s nice not having to go into the office, not having to strip down your closet looking for something to wear. It’s nice being able to sleep in a little longer because all you have to do to clock in is turn on your computer. Shoot, you can even work from your bed! When assignments are slow, you can turn on the TV (of course, there’s a reason why daytime TV is called daytime TV, so you’ll probably turn on your favorite streaming service or put on a movie instead), or play your music out loud and sing and dance to it too because no one’s watching! Maybe you’ll finally write some poetry or fiction again and stop using writer’s block as the excuse for why everything you produce sucks. If you never have time to cook during the week, you can actually have a real breakfast. More than just coffee and toast (OK, let’s be serious, just coffee). You can scramble some eggs. Hell, go all out and make yourself a three-egg omelet with all the fillings. Throw in some pancakes or a side of potatoes or grits while you’re at it. And lunch can be more than just a sandwich or chips (or just chips…nah, let’s face it, how many of us actually take a lunch at work?) You can even start on dinner early, test out that new vegan recipe you found online.

But as convenient as working from home sounds, it can truly turn you into a hermit, if you’re not careful.

I was not careful. I became a hermit.

Last week, for three straight days, I went without washing, I barely ate, I let food go bad and my trash (which I hadn’t taken out in weeks) became infested with fruit flies, I saw zero rays of sunshine, didn’t even step outside to water my plants, and by Saturday night as I lay on the couch watching Love Don’t Cost A Thing (with Nick Cannon and Christina Milian), I realized I was starting to smell (well, I was funky before then, but it was really starting to get bad).

 Damn, girl, no wonder you’re fucking single!

So I got up, showered, put some clothes on, went to Ruby Tuesday’s (after having a semi panic attack on the highway when I took a wrong turn—recluse problems), sat at the empty bar, ordered some dinner and a drink, and after I was almost done with my food, the bartender asked me, “So what do you like to do for fun?”

My heart sank, and that crippling anxiety I used to get whenever I had to admit to someone just how truly boring I am started to rise up within me.

“Honestly,” I said to her, “I just need to get out of the house.”

Honestly.

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