I am spending a lot of time alone. Time to reflect, read, re-adjust. I find more and more that it is just easier to be alone. And since I am raising teenagers, the time actually spent at home alone is sporadic but it happens. They leave and are involved in their own lives. And I am here, attending to myself and the homefront.
Being alone feels not lonely. I can be who I am with no interruption, no feedback, no worrisome clamors for change, except from the deep recesses of my mind.
It used to be painful to be alone. My head would chew on me, relentlessly. Telling me things about me that were wholly untrue or truths so brutally painful. It was unpleasant to be alone with my thoughts. So I avoided it at all costs. If I was alone, I was on the phone, desperately trying to disassociate through others.
It has been a long time since that was my way. I mean, I still do it sometimes, but I like to believe that I have made some progress because, usually, if I am calling someone because I need to get out of myself, it is in a spirit of service, not just a self indulged plot to provide me solace and comfort from myself.
I walked the river bottom with my silent companion, Lulu. She is such a good hiker and we just get each other. She knows I have a perchance for moving forward and I know that every once in awhile we must stop to smell, well, we will just call them roses.
I listened to the birds singing their evening song. I heard the rustling of the flora, overgrown and in the way, as I passed along the trail. I sat next to the river’s edge listening to the sound of water running, water moving itself to the ocean below.
Kurt Vonnegut said in one of his books, that whenever he was disturbed and in need of peace, all he had to do was to get himself next to a body of water, it mattered not at all what that body of water was...just that peace would come for him shortly after placing himself in close proximity to natural water sources. Me too, Kurt. Me too.
So as I sat and watched my dog bound through the river and even find a couple of places deep enough to swim, I felt immediately better. Not all better, just better.
It is quite an experience to just be able to be who you are when no one is watching. Alone with your particularities, your heart and mind. You can do what you do without interruption or fear of reprisal. It almost felt like some sort of slow dance with myself that I have been doing for years but just picked up again.
After all the activity was done, all the personal care items, familial obligations, work tasks completed, I undressed and made my way to the hot tub for a soak. Night was intruding and begging the question. Light fading as was I. I sat there for quite some time, reflecting on how I got to where I am right now. So many twists, so many turns. So many things I think I could have seen coming if I just would have been paying closer attention to myself.
I wondered how I become so lost when I never go anywhere? How is it that I occupy this life and body and wake up days, weeks, months later completely disconnected to who I was and am?
Work will do it. Relationships will do it. Parenting will do it. But in the final analysis, I do it. Every fucking time.
I disappear into things to avoid this constant and unremitting idea that I am not enough all by myself. That there must be others for me to really be worthy. And there have always been others, I mean, I am not a recluse...yet. But this pervasive, corrosive idea that my worth is tied up with the value others give me, plagues me still. Except last night it didn’t. I didn’t feel less than without phone calls and texts or any kind of message from him. I just felt ok, calm, peaceful and enjoying the pleasure of my own company.
My mind did try a couple of times to make me miserable but I wouldn’t have it. I either trust that there is a purpose and a reason for all the things in life, or I don’t. And this ending, this beginning is all part of some larger whole that is so vast and expansive, I cannot see it all from my current vantage point.
So last night as I eased into bed, book in hand and ready to read myself to slumber. Dare I say it? I relished the solitude. The quite. The peace. The undisturbed nature of my thoughts. And I so I read until my eyes would no longer remain open, and then I called it a night.
It was fucking bliss.