In 2016, the guitarist of the band, where I was a drummer, suddenly leaned his head against a tree in the park of Zaporizhzhya. I thought that he felt sick. He looked tired, turned pale, silently looked into the thickness of the trees. I asked him “What happened?”. At first, he refused to answer, then looked into my eyes and said in a cold voice, with the full understanding of what he was saying:
– I’m f***ed up with people.
It turned out that it was not exhaustion or illness. This is how people look when they’re f***ed up with other people.
During three previous days, we performed eight times at large concert, in the central squares of Zaporizhia, Nikopol, Kryvyi Rih and several military units. We saw several thousand people from the stage, we crossed thousands of kilometers, we almost lived in the field – with instruments, with organizers, with other participants, with some young fans that brought their school notebooks for autographs. For me, these travels are quite a normal way of living that requires compactness and maximum simplification of one’s own whims. However, for Tolik, our precise guitarist, as well as a super IT specialist, also a super duper family man, this trip and this amount of communication appeared a too complicated algorithm. And this is OK, I understand him.
I didn’t even know how to react to his phrase. Should I apologize for myself?! For people in general?! For all this crazy trip, in which I mixed up my band? It’s senseless to start the same tirade that everything is cool! To laugh it off was not the best option. I imagined his strained nostrils when he listens to me. It seemed to me that he had no need in anyone’s advice, he needed zero emotions from other people. I shortly murmured something friendly, something unsubstantial, patted him on the shoulder and said that in case of anything, I’ll be next door, sleeping inside the bus.
I had forgotten about that situation for a long time, but the other day I remembered it. After all, it repeated almost the same way. With colleagues, we were coming back from the Carpathians, where we had a three-day intensive retreat. We had a lot of communication, emotions, smiles, intelligence, and no micro-conflicts. We had just got on the train in Frankivsk. My colleague smiled and told me:
“Finally going home! I’m completely tired of people!”
Tolik in 2016 turned pale, the colleague in 2018 – smiled.
This time I made up my mind and asked:
– How often do people tire you?
– Rarely, but for me, it was too close. And too many people.
There were twenty of us on the trip.
I have to communicate a lot with people during book tours, festival seasons, lectures. Across the country, there are hundreds, thousands of acquaintances, whose stories are so close to me, and sometimes very old and because of it, they are much stronger. Maybe it’s professional, maybe it’s my nature, but in the course of the long, many-faced blinking days, I don’t get tired. On the contrary, I turn on the mode of absorbing stories, kind of emotional charging. I can even forget people’s names, but not their faces, stories and emotions, associated with them. For me, a person and his or her story are opened up more thanks to a person, not a name.
However, in recent years, I have noticed that after very long travels, communication, absence of home, when I return to my stall, I automatically drag myself into a cold shower for half an hour and literally force myself to renew. After such a shower, everything, starting with sounds and silence, is heard in a new way. Otherwise, you can break down, you can stop empathizing people, you can forget yourself. Not to refresh, not to throw off the fresh skin of other people’s emotions. And to walk for years, with full bosoms, with an ebullient head, with this growing tension, with nerves, which, without this, are shaking like an old Ukrainian train.
What does it mean to get tired of people? It seems to me that in the first place it’s a challenge to a human being. Whether his motility, psyche, emotional spectrum are ready to cope with wider emotions, reactions sentences, intonations, mimics, gestures than those he get used to in a calm state? Everyone has his own threshold of the emotional overdose of the people.
Communication is often a way out of the comfort zone. Especially, when you have a lot of this communication on your plate. And it’s often fatigue from overfilling with other people’s emotions – and at a certain point in a time it becomes too much, we cannot cope with it, to cover such level. Then there is a brain-freeze, and our personal feelings are lost in the flow of the others’. The person asks oneself, where are my emotions in this flow? And where is the authenticity of feelings? How not to get completely lost in this assembling line of laughter, jokes, conversations, embraces, and hello-good-bye?
This is not a cry of the introvert, and not a claim for squirts, who insistently knock the direct messages, not a wobble of a person, who every day takes a crowded metro. This is a simple statement of the fact that everyone, each of us, from time to time, simply get tired of humanity. This is easy to admit it. Sometimes this fatigue goes with a pale face, sometimes with a smile.
And I also think that, perhaps, the most important thing is to admit to yourself, and better to do it on time, that you are tired of people. Not to push other people to the edge behind your smile. In order not to do mischief behind the pallor. It is very important to catch this particular moment of fatigue and understand it. So, it’s prudent just to confess – I’m tired!
Then from the inside will go out much less malice. Then there will be some space for renewal and authenticity.
And, in my opinion, the top notch is to admit to another person that you are tired of people. Well-adjusted. Eye to eye.
Admit. Relax. Lean your head against a tree. And again reach out to people. Naturally. From a low start. With the purity. With a new calmness. With a new sincerity.
Like Tolik, who in twenty minutes entered the bus to wake me up.