I was worried I was going to end up at the strip club last night. Friday, happy hour, peer pressure… my friend T. has an inheritance that he’s burning through, and he’s spent a lot of money at a particular club. But since I’ve overspent a bit this payday, I didn’t really have enough to spend and also make it through the next few weeks. So for the past couple of days, I’ve been practicing, in my head, saying “no, I can’t do that this week.” Trying to set boundaries, with myself mostly, but also with my friend, who means well but can’t really help himself.
So when he sent a text about a new bar in our favorite neighborhood as a suggestion instead… I jumped at the chance. Strippers are great and all but if you’re on a budget, cheap street tacos and margaritas are a nice way to unwind from a stressful week, too.
The bar, Bar Espiritu, is a great space; long and narrow with a very comfy lounge in the back, big leather overstuffed couches, and a giant projection TV. And the cook is someone I recognized from a coffee shop I used to love, so it was great to see him back in the neighborhood! The bartender was friendly with a dry kind of wit, and the owner was welcoming and appreciative of new, excited customers. I will be going back.
Then a third friend showed up. We bar hopped to another couple of places and walked around on a nice summer night with just a bit of a buzz (OK, maybe just me) and it became a very chill night of just hanging out with people I care about and drinking and catching up. The perfect Friday night. I didn’t overspend, I got to fill that internal hole that makes me feel like I don’t connect to people, and I had a nice mix of new experiences and comfortable ones.
That stupid internal hole. That’s where this story is going. I’ve been so dejected—I was going to say lately, but it’s been going on for at least a few years now—and wanting to hide, to not seek out new experiences, not push myself. The opposite of having no boundaries, I was setting the firmest boundaries, boundaries that were basically walls that I couldn’t get through and wouldn’t let anyone else in. I wanted to do the same things I always did, in exactly the same way, at the same time and at a pace I set for myself that did not account for anyone else’s wishes.
Putting myself on a path to healing from that depression, however, has made me recognize the internal emptiness, the hole inside, and figuring out that I have better options for filling that hole, or at least living with it and working around it (silly Brian, there’s no filling the hole; just can’t be done, my good man!) Options like spending more time with people who care about me, and about whom I care.