Posts tagged #Loneliness

unattended (adj).

Loneliness is not
being without people;

loneliness is
being without yourself.

loneliness is
the lump in my throat and
the knot in my chest where
I carry all of the things that
I didn’t place in
the proper hands.

loneliness is
sharing what was meant
to be kept and
keeping what was meant
to be given.

I am here without
myself. There is no
greater affliction.

grapple (v).

08545fe40458a474f3fa66ffcbcc6164Here is what is surprisingly characteristic about loneliness: that we are commonly engulfed constantly, even with the city of people who know us through and through, who often come with trumpets of encouragement and huge hearts, with listening ears and patient nods. Here are the ways I have tried to cope with my loneliness: frantically busying my world, stuffing my calendar, always saying yes even when the answer should be no, filling up with places to be, filling up with worry to busy my mind, filling up space with music and sounds and voices. I have practiced the glorification of Busy, over and over and over, too busy to be lonely, driving myself so hard that when I get home all I can think to do is crash and burn into a tired ball of dust. I have tried to fill my loneliness with the men who have loved me and also the men who haven't loved me, playing house, playing the part, making nice, making room in my bed.

Here is where my loneliness begins: in the fear that no one can really understand or handle my sometimes heaviness, my constant discontent and questions, my existential angst, my complicated thirst and wrestle to find God. What it really is: my own unrest with the woman I am, what I have done and not done, the unrest with where I'd like to go. When I sit down with myself I am begging for the phone to ring to break the awkwardness. I need to make peace with that woman. I need to be comfortable in the sometimes heaviness, the blazing vision, the questions.

Here is what I have come to see: that no one is going to bail me out of this, no matter how much they see and how much they care, even with someone squeezing me until all of the impossibilities that cripple me crackle off my fraying frame. There has to come a time when I can tuck myself into bed, tell myself about my day, and say, "goodnight, dear friend."

strive (v).

b27f260822dcf2004a019172664b28a4-1We need to disembark from the desperate need to be happy. We've been misled in this "pursuit of happiness," when it is really a pursuit of wholeness that we are thirsty for. It is the pursuit of happiness that leads us to fill up any quiet moment, and sends us flailing when faced with any loneliness. We fill space and time with noise and bodies, it mimics the idea that we might not be alone. It is the pursuit of happiness that tells us that "we will be happier if...", and fill in the blank: "We will be happier if we were skinnier." "We will be happier if we have more money." "We will be happier if we wear these uncomfortable shoes." It is the pursuit of happiness that leads us to cut ties with anything that is not currently serving us. Who are we to think everything should conspire for our contentment? Who are we to think we deserve a free walk? Who are we to think we are exempt from sweat on our brow and dirt on our feet? We do this in a relationship when we end it because it gets hard, we do this professionally when we feel we're not seen or heard, we do this in the coffee shop line when the barista is taking too long.

It is however in the pursuit of wholeness that we learn to quiet ourselves and listen hard: listen intently and urgently to what ignites our hearts; listen intently and urgently to those who have gone before us and know how it's done; listen intently and urgently for opportunities to participate in something wild and reckless, that will erupt our bodies in savage laughter.

It is in the pursuit of wholeness that we learn to sit in our mistakes: we learn to sit in the discomfort without fidgeting and so quickly trying to adjust and change; we learn to sit with those who slowly talk about everything or nothing, who slowly walk wherever they're going (or go nowhere), who slowly learn, and we learn how to love them through it anyway; we learn how to sit on the windless water, under a blaring sun that blisters the skin on our shoulders, not rowing, but waiting for hours and days for the wind to come.

It is in the pursuit of wholeness that we learn to honor our loneliness: we honour our loneliness by not trying to change it, by welcoming it in like a weary traveler looking for shelter, we honour it by accepting it, and by accepting it, learning that in loneliness there is too a gift, of discovering your own Self as your friend.

And it is the pursuit of happiness that, when we go to the water, tempts us to shout to the sea "I will learn to tame you!". It is the pursuit of wholeness that brings us to sit on the edge of the shore, and accept our tiny stature in comparison to its vast expanse, and not be shaken by the fact that we could so easily be swallowed up forever with just the slightest brush of the ocean's hand.

forced (v).

f7df60f403dc0f0d28a49e4c975892d8

I was always the loneliest immediately after leaving your house, walking down your street towards the baker and the sandwich shop with the terrible coffee. I got lonely because I knew that we were lonely, and I got the inkling that I was just filling the space, warming your bed, making your skin prickle and pink. I left lonely because I knew I do not hold majority of your thoughts; there was the wondering what else you'd like in a girl, probably, or even just consumed by all the things you are trying to become.

No room. You found  no room for me.

We stayed because we can pretend for a while that there’s nowhere else that we’d rather be, instead of the reality: there was nowhere else nicer right then where we could be. We would smile and make nice and say the right things that you say that feel warm when they roll out of your mouth and onto the other person's face. We didn't ask for anything, especially not what we needed.

Maybe we are most lonely when we are the least ourselves.

words on loneliness from "the city sage."

6a00e55225716d8833019b0020220f970d-800wi-1 I've never quite been able to express the kind of loneliness that sometimes grips me, and I recently stumbled on these words by Anne Sage on her blog "The City Sage." She says:

"I've alway struggled with loneliness. I don't mean a 'call up a few friends to chase the blues away' loneliness. I mean a profound sense of isolation that confines me to my bed; that wracks me with sobs sent from the pit of my gut to consume me from the inside out; that finds me in a crowded room deaf to everything but my echoing thoughts. It's a self-absorbed, self-induced, self-perpetuated sort of loneliness—because the heavier it grows, the harder it gets for me to push it off and do something about it.          

6a00e55225716d8833019b001fd4be970b-800wi

"The thing is, I'm tired of trying to do something about it. Tired of showing up at therapy. Tired of risking the whim of fairweather friends. And man alive, am I tired of reading the books. The ones that suggest I never learned to express my emotions or set boundaries in order to feel heard. The ones that claim we are all essentially alone and the sooner we accept that the sooner we'll find peace. The ones that tell me to stay in the now, practice gratitude, feel my feelings. I'm tired of circling endlessly in my own head. 

"One book, however, has pushed me out of my head and onto paper—a small distance, granted, but a step forward nonetheless. Writing Down Your Soul teaches an approach to journaling that draws out the frightening, audacious things you've been keeping even from yourself. It forces you to ask difficult questions such as 'What am I hiding?' and 'What do I truly want?' It leaves you staring at a page on which you've just written the words, 'I want someone to love me enough to come find me, no matter how hard I hide.'"

Do you ever feel like this? I know I have many people that I have deep, meaningful relationships with, I know I am not going at this alone, and even still I get gripped with this yucky, heavy feeling sometimes. What do you think?

[Pictures from The City Sage].

contention (n).

bca5b2bb373f143f170d23fc747ab18b I need stillness, and silence for miles. There are days I need countries of solitude between me or the next person. There are days where I feel like I live in a sound proof room. I want to be left alone, and also held, always, and tightly, and kissed often, on neck, on shoulders, on face. I am a fickle weary girl in a huge house. I love the echo of the emptiness and I wish I could fill every room with choirs of people. I want it all and I want nothing, I want the world and I want just here.