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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Lonely and Cold

Olfactory cues are powerful things. To this day the smell of my parent's leather couch brings me back to several specific titles I read while homeschooled. Campfire smoke trapped in clothing transports me to the woods. Chlorine raises my pulse as I remember preparing to swim the mile at Nationals.

Other smells are even more naturally tied. The scent of a Christmas tree. Cookies and bread baking in the oven. The smell of snow as it approaches on the night air. Wet wool mittens as they dry.

But one smell consistently causes my eyes to well up with tears: My car's heater running at full blast.

Something about that hot, dry air rushing over my face in my frozen car reminds me of "the holidays." I don't know what it is about this time of year but I don't feel a closeness to all humanity. Instead, I feel distant, aloof, alone.

Which is crazy. I'm always with friends and family. We go the church services. We have parties. We eat, drink and are merry.

Perhaps that's the problem.

I'm an introvert and a homebody. Parties don't elevate me. "Catching up" with distant relatives feels forced. The inevitable exhausted drive home in the cold dark nights around Christmas just get to me.

Night Drive

I love celebrating with my family. I do enjoy the opportunities and connections this time of year allows. I have a New Year's party every year at my house. So it's not that I don't like this time of year. But for whatever reason, the smell of my car's heater reminds me that I often feel lonely too.

Why so glum?

Yesterday I spent some time crafting a couple blog comments. Both have been rejected by the blog authors. One went so far as to slam me for attempting to comment.

I take my position seriously. I love interacting with people on blogs. I am thrilled when I meet a new person.

But some days, much like those cold holiday night drives, I feel alone.

Do you ever get moody near the holidays, or is it just me?

What's your favorite memory that comes back to you when you smell something?

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Surrogate Father

P.S. I'm not really fishing for positive comments here, but I sure do appreciate them <smile>.


The HoJo's said...

Gah, I was reading in google reader but had to pop over in person :o)

I love reading your blog, many reasons, all good, but mostly because you so obviously put so much thought into what you have to say, always counter politely with objections and where you comment you tread so carefully.

This is something you don't always see in the blogging world, it is too easy for people to leave careless comments, or be misunderstood, too flippant with out a to remind it was a gentle tease.

You must be one of the kindest bloggers I 'know'

Lonely is so different from alone, it is hard to separate the two sometimes.

Wishing you a lovely Christmas with your family and a fantastic new Years celebration.


The Hibbard Family said...

I was feeling just that way today - that melancholy loneliness. I kept wondering what was wrong with me, and then it dawned on me that I feel this way every year right about now. Even growing up when my house was the hub of activity - we were on the mission field, and every unmarried missionary and at least one family would come to our house to spend at least one night, maybe two or three. There were a ton of people there, and I liked it (as long as I could find my occasional retreat - I'm an introverted homebody, too). But I still felt that melancholy loneliness. Which is odd because this is my absolute, hands-down, number one favorite time of the year.

We humans can be rather contradictory sometimes, can't we?

Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

WOW, what is up with that? Somebody sure had a bad day to have rejected your comment and to be nasty about it to boot. :(

Someday, the smell of poopie diapers will remind me of good times at home, right?? Ok, maybe not.

Suburban Correspondent said...

Why in the world would anyone reject your comment? It's them, not you. And, yes, the holidays can be hard on natural introverts. We enjoy people, but in measured doses, with time to recharge in between encounters.

Ariana Sullivan said...

I feel just like that sometimes. When things are loud and cozy and festive and sweet and comforting... I sometimes have moments where I feel disconnected to it all and feel completely lonely and sad.
It must be an introvert thing ... it doesn't make sense, even to me. How I can feel so happy and excited to be with family, to have the holidays coming, and then moments later I am in despair about it all and wish it was over!

But, you're not alone. And I'm sorry someone was rude to you online. They were probably having a really bad day and took it out on you.
I'm sure there are far more people who really appreciate your comments and presence online than the opposite :)

se7en said...

Dear Fisherman (!!!) I so hear you... All the Christmas socializing that sounds so good when we plan it can leave me feeling totally peopled out and well lonely!!! I don't know how you pick yourself up from a internet attack - good grief I don't even want to think of it... I hope you get lots of happy comments today and that you feel WAY encouraged!!!

The Reader said...

Holiday gloominess is a widespread phenomenon. I'm sorry it hits you each year.

As for your tag question, smells and memories...freshly mowed grass always makes me smile, but no particular memory attached. Paint smells make me think of my grandma.

Luke Holzmann said...

Carolyn, I'm glad you came to visit in person. I use Google Reader too <smile>. Thank you so much for the encouragement. I've come a long way in being kind in my interactions with others. Just ask my wife! <smile> And you're absolutely right: There is a difference between loneliness and being alone. I need to keep that in mind.

Ann, yes... yes we can <smile>.

They were having a bad day, Mrs. C. I was hoping to help turn that around. I failed. But your diaper comment totally lightened my day <laughing>.

Karen, time to recharge is so, so important. I'm with you there!

Ariana, thanks for the encouragement. And I'm glad I'm not alone in feeling alone. Even if it is really odd... <smile>

Se7en, I really wasn't trying to fish... but I caught some encouragement anyway <smile>. I do feel much more encouraged today... which is great. And, yes, it's very odd that becoming "peopled out" can make us feel lonely too. So strange.

Ah, yes, Heather: Freshly cut grass is a great smell. And my grandma's house has a very distinct smell, but it wasn't paint. Fun <smile>.

Thanks again, everyone! Your warmth and well-wishes were fantastic! <smile>


Heather the Mama Duk said...

I think a lot of people get glum this time of year.

And rejected blog comments? Huh. I only reject the spam. Never thought about rejecting someone because I don't agree with what they said.

Anonymous said...

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Grateful for Grace said...

I enjoy your blog tremendously, Luke. Truly. Not just saying that to make you post a . ;-) I can't fathom why that blogger dissed you.

I get sad during the holidays some too. Different times. Different reasons.

Smells... campfire: working at summer camp eight summers + fifteen married; Aveda body lotion: 17 days in the NICU with my son; pumpkin pie: the holidays; new shoes: my mom; Thieves essential oil: winter; dead mouse: dead mouse. Hope you found these enlightening. ;-)

Merry Christmas and happy holidays! I hope you get some alone time to regroup.

Luke Holzmann said...

Yeah, Heather, I often wonder about people who reject comments because they don't agree as well. I mean, sure, if you don't like the language someone uses, or would rather not have someone say something nasty... that makes perfect sense. But to delete anything written with another view is rather odd to me.

Muddy, I'm glad I could be encouraging even when I was feeling discouraged <smile>. And, yes: Smells so often bring back feelings as well.

Grateful, thanks for giving me a smile. I do love hearing from people who enjoy this blog <smile>.

I can't say as I know what Aveda body lotion smells like... but 17 days in the NICU... yeah.

I haven't had much alone time, but it's been pretty good overall. Things are going well.


JJ Ross said...

Maybe it's the writer in you that you're feeling most keenly at the holidays. I see an introspective honesty, and wry humor at the human condition, in some of Luke's best work, the kind that causes real writing to transcend ordinary everyday communication. (You could say I "smell" a real writer inside Mrs. C too . . .)

Merry Christmas to all! We're still celebrating and only on Day Four of Twelve,

JJ Ross said...

Or day five? But who's counting? ;-)

Luke Holzmann said...

Thanks for the compliment, JJ! That really means a lot to me. And Merry Christmas to you as well--especially if you're still celebrating <smile>.



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