I’ve never been prone to loneliness. Partial credit is awarded to me being an introvert, while I’ve also enjoyed my own imagination, my own company, and my own ‘quiet’ since I was a child.
I’ve never been one to get bored easily. There’s always something to read, something to ponder, a great film to watch, some menial chore that needs to be done… Even my love of going to the gym is something that doesn’t require me to be social, as I zone out to my music and just get lost in the rhythmic motion of cardio.
In a room full of people, it’s often easy to be completely alone. And sometimes, this is awesome. It can feel satisfying and empowering, to not ‘need’ to interact, but to be content observing, absorbing, and accomplishing.
Here’s the truth, though – the painful truth. This is also a very, very easy way to keep myself hidden from the world.
While I enjoy being alone, I also use this as an excuse not to venture out into ‘life,’ other than when I have to. Going to work, walking my dog, running errands, exercising – the things we do every day that are essential.
When I’m not engaged in the daily necessities, I tend to retreat into solitude. I have valid reasons – I’m tired, I’m stressed, I need alone time to recharge, I want to be with my dog, I want to devote time to my creative outlet, i.e. writing…
The excuses are numerous, and that’s exactly what they are. Excuses.
It’s safe in my cocoon. It’s familiar, and I truly do need quiet solitude to replenish my energy sources.
But, as is the truth with most everything in life, there’s a vital balance to be found.
While I appreciate my intelligence, and my ability to be comfortable in my own company, my thoughts can grow rather dark. When these thoughts are all I’m hearing, my head can be a dangerous, self-destructive place to be.
I can easily get lost in that darkness… The fear and the hopelessness that accompany the darkness can become overwhelming.
I recognize this, yet I literally need to be bluntly forced to snap out of the cycle.
‘Tis an annoying attribute of mine.
I recently had two out-of-town guests staying with me for a few days. My friend Jacqie, my grade school classmate from back home in Maryland, came with her girlfriend, Christin. They’re both gifted photographers, and they were doing a Seattle-to-San Diego tour, both to work and to explore.
I was thrilled to have the company, and even more excited that it was these two women in particular. I’ve written about Jacqie before: http://hotmessmolly.com/learning-to-fly/
This was the first time I’ve seen her since her brave leap into personal freedom and self-acceptance – and it was amazing. Her vibrancy, her beauty, her inner light shining through so brightly, I could almost reach out and brush it with my fingertips.
I’d also been looking forward to seeing Christin for months – I already knew I loved her, I just needed to meet her in person. What a life-force of a human being. Confidence, perseverance, compassion, and generosity embodied.
Anyway… My point being – for a few days, I had people around me who made me feel less alone. I had people who made my apartment feel like a home, who laughed and loved on my dog, who cooked, washed dishes, filled my fridge with groceries and who REFUSED to let me pay for anything while they were here.
We stayed up late drinking wine and laughing, talking about life – both the good and the bad that come with being human.
They asked me some tough questions too… About life, about where I am and how I feel. I was gently forced to acknowledge a difficult personal truth, and I’m grateful to both of them for making the light bulb click.
It’s extremely hard for me to admit this, but I’m realizing that right now – at 33 years old – I’m the loneliest I’ve ever been. Part of me is angry at myself for being ‘weak enough’ to feel lonely – if I were stronger, more secure, more independent – I would not be prone to loneliness. I’d be wholly at ease with the fact that not everyone finds companionship in this world, and it simply may not be part of my journey – and I MUST accept this.
At least that’s what I tell myself. Yet another way to self-impose unrealistic expectations, and be harder on myself than I’d ever be on anyone else.
Here’s what I need to embrace –
It’s okay to for me to feel lonely. It’s okay for me to recognize that even introverts are social beings who need companionship. It is okay for me to crave that companionship, and it’s okay for me to say that I don’t want to be alone forever.
I don’t want to be alone forever.
This doesn’t mean I’m going to assume that every man I’m drawn to (who likewise shows interest in me) is my soul mate, nor will I project my future hopes on anyone without solid reasons for doing so.
No. It simply means that I know what I want, and I know what I don’t want. And, I don’t have the time or patience for the latter.
Yes, I’m a Hot Mess. A dark and twisty mess. A messy, messy, messiest mess of the messes.
I’m also a catch. (It’s excruciating to say, and I cringe doing so… But dammit, I am a catch.)
I struggle with believing it, I’m prone to self-doubt, and I have days when I literally can’t get out of my pajamas or do anything even remotely social.
But I’m also real. I’m here, I matter, and I’m worthy.
I think part of being human is occasionally chasing the ‘lonelies’… I need to accept that this doesn’t make me weak, nor does it diminish my independence or my inner-strength. It’s just my soul recognizing – while I’m whole exactly as I am – I also long for more.
And I’m allowed to long for more. I think that feeling these longings, and sitting with them… Sometimes even embracing them – it’s all part of the painful, beautiful, messy journey we call life.
Yes… I wish you were here.