It’s impossible to count the number of times this song lyric from Third Eye Blind’s “Losing a Whole Year” has popped into my head. It’s not even a good song (or a good band). Yet it's been in my head for two decades, bouncing in and out intermittently in the context of various friendships and relationships.
First, though, a brief detour to the topic of “scenes.” Scenes. I mention them only to condemn them. Well, maybe that’s a bit reductive.
I was talking recently with a friend who was extolling to me the virtues of yoga. Virtues that I’ve found elusive, as documented here. In the course of that conversation, I realized that the thing I don’t like about yoga is that it feels like a “scene” to me. Every time I’ve ever taken a yoga class anywhere, I can’t stop thinking about, silently judging, and comparing myself to the people around me. Notice I say “feels like a scene.” I don’t think it is a scene. It just feels like one to me, because I think I’m what you’d call “scene sensitive.”
Lots of things feel like “scenes” to me, and not in a good way. Organized religion. Skiing. Music festivals. Road relays. Hipster bars and coffee shops. I have a really hard time getting into my own “head space” where I can simply enjoy the activity at the center of these scenes for whatever it is. I can’t turn my neurotic brain off long enough to do that. I can’t stop looking around me and asking myself why everyone is dressed alike, why everyone is trying to one-up each other, why I’m so sensitive to this white noise background hum of group dynamics. I question whether it’s real, or just in my head.
Which brings me back to the Third Eye Blind song.
My aversion to scenes means I end up spending lots of time in one-on-one interactions, cultivating intimate friendships and relationships and having meaningful connections with individuals, not groups. At times, these connections have felt kind of toxic to me. Specifically, when someone pops into my life for a period of time, ducks out, and then re-emerges when they’re lonely or in a crisis. Then once the crisis or the loneliness is resolved, it’s lights out again for the duration.
This is a definite pattern for me. One where I kinda get the feeling like I’m being used.
Am I actually being used though? And does it even matter? Maybe I’m just a hypocrite, using people for my own reasons and trying to deflect that reality outward on another person. Whether we’re in a scene or all alone, maybe we’re all just using each other a little bit, at least on some level. And maybe that’s just human nature.