Number 3 in my “One Word” posts. Again, you are not so lucky as to show up here to read just one word. That’s just the title. So if Two or more words are too much reading for you… move along. The rest of you get to hear my thoughts on being alone in a world full of people… loneliness.
Sometimes I wonder if loneliness is simply a state of mind, which implies I have the power to change it – you know, how I think. It’s a tempting thought… “If I would simply change my thinking, my loneliness would go away.”
But here is the rub. One of my biggest fears is believing things that are not true. Tricking myself into thinking things are “ok” when they are indeed NOT “ok”. Perhaps I a the free 70’s and the “magic of thinking big” 80’s and 90’s. There were a lot of self-help books about how you think… and if you can think it you can achieve it. I don’t get it. Or perhaps I don’t have that kind of drive. idk. Either way, I don’t want to pretend every thing is fine. I want to be aware, ready, open. Living in reality. Even if reality sucks.
So. Being alone. My life has changed a lot this year. I don’t have the same old people around me to fill the dark spaces, to distract, to keep me company and to be ever-present reminders that I am not REALLY alone. I used to work in an office with 10 people I still consider my friends. I used to visit my Mom and Dad – now I visit my Mom. I used to play with my granddaughters, hear my son sing and watch my daughter-in-law laugh (I love her laugh). I used to talk to my friend Perry about important things (including how I fail and try again). Sometimes I still get to do some of these things. Mostly not.
It’s a kind of stripping away that’s happening. I think it will turn out for the best. But for now it feels lonely. When I think about these things, I am alone. Inside my heart, inside my head. No one else fits in there, really. But more importantly, there is no one to distract me – from the inside of me.
These posts are about things I am maybe ashamed of, or haven’t gotten my head or heart around – so here it is. I am ashamed that the love of the people around me doesn’t seem to be enough to distract me from the reality of feeling alone – loss. That I can’t just replace loss with the love of the people around me. That I can’t just be fine and keep moving forward. Unburdening the people that love me.
If the table was turned, tho… I would want to be burdened with your sorrow, loneliness and grief. Until you were restored to the awesomeness of life again. I wouldn’t want you to feel the need to hide, or lie – in your head, in your heart, or with your mouth. And THAT is why I am sharing.
I just saw an old 1968 photo of 2 Olympic medalists standing with fists raised* (getting them expelled from the games) saying with no words that some things in life suck and we want to change them together – no matter the current norm. It made me cry because too seldom do people stand with fists raised saying, “No more hiding. No more faking. No more believing things that simply are not true.” We are too afraid. Much too afraid for such a short existence.
I am not sure it’s a psychological principle or not but I think that I have this ability to live in the suckiness of THIS moment because I believe in the awesomeness of all the moments combined. It gives me space inside my heart. I know the bad can never push out the good. It can never be permanent. There are too many good things that tip the scale, that re-fill the dark spaces as the darkness gets pushed out.
*disclaimer: no… I am not saying that my personal inner angst is ANYTHING like the magnitude of the civil rights issues these men were protesting. I am saying that our Americanized “be tough, don’t show your pain, fake it till you make it” attitude tends to oppress emotionally when applied as a blanket solution to life’s real pain.