Love & Loneliness
One of my friends recently asked 'don't you ever get lonely?' This, of course, started me thinking about how often I've watched my friends drift towards each other on currents of loneliness. These magnificent beings reveal themselves to each other so rapidly, I am stunned at their courage. Loneliness it seems, makes love easier to consummate, and I'm not talking about sex - or not only sex. I'm speaking of all of it: the intimacy of knowing another. What turns on your body, and ignites your soul. The careful, mapping journey of one heart across another's. For me, it's been a long time and I am not sure I am lonely anymore. I love, and rather well I feel (though past lovers may think otherwise).
Sometimes a lover loves me back, and I am moved to tears. Sometimes it goes less well, and I sit and curse the loneliness that led to what one of my lovely friends refers to as her 'love cul-de-sac'. I am glad she does not call it her dead end.
All of us talk about ending up alone but only my friends describe a sort of sadness they ascribe to feeling lonely. Becoming lonely may be as much a part of Love as learning to trust. Both require vulnerability.
Then of course comes the harder part: opening up to another. Then to keep opening up, like a kind of perpetual rose. A continual knowing and re-knowing. Learning one another is one of the most beautiful parts of Love. Do we always need another to explore ourselves in this way? If so, I may be out of luck.
People are very different in their need for socialisation vs. their requirement for solitude. Most people I know despise being alone. In contrast, I spend a good deal of time on my own. It's a writer's lot, really. I enjoy it to be honest. Like many writers, I am never truly lonely. My head is full of my own people. My characters, talking, laughing, doing weird, wild, brave and strange things - my people are always with me. That said, I hold my truest connections very dear. I do believe however, that if you're well-connected to yourself - if you know your own heart and soul well - you're less likely to feel lonely.
I've had periods in my life when my PTSD was bad enough to lay me quite low. I remember thinking 'I have no one' - completely forgetting that I have me. I force myself to remember this when it gets really bad. I even carry a note with just this message in my purse: 'I Have Me.'
One of the worst things anyone can do is forget this. It's a great mistake to negate yourself. After all, you need you more than anyone else ever could. (This is how I remind myself to maintain my self care when I need it - even if it means saying 'no' to family and friends and taking my downtime.) Time away from others means time spent with myself - so it's not a lonely time at all. I treasure this space and endeavour to gift it to myself regularly.
The world around us tries so hard to encourage us to forget we don't actually need external validation. We don't need to place all our faith and love outside of ourselves. There is a vast, nuanced difference between being alone and being lonely. I am often alone. I am rarely lonely.