A different kind of lonely
When I was young I had fallen victim to the Hollywood ideal of love. You know what it is, our culture is saturated with the message the true wove is an essential quality of some thing, that you either have it or you don’t, and once you do discover it, your moral stature is determined by whether or not you stay loyal to it. You know… soulmates. And I went from one to another, one deep love to another, each one crushing, but all the while I was questioning and learning. Because there was an underside to this myth that was deep in the darkness and harder to find. But I remember where I was standing when I finally uncovered it.
I was beside a small pond in Eugene, Oregon and I was watching swallows fly in the air. I was enraptured at the sight and I felt very lonely (again, as I was most of the time). Yet as I gazed at the birds in the twilight, I realized I wanted another person with me that could recognize that I appreciated the sight. I had realized that what I had been looking for was a mirror to prop up my self worth. This is not a lasting reason to have someone, it does not foster a genuine love for the other person. It was quite a blow to realize that what I was identifying as love, was selfishness.
I had been looking for someone who essentially tell me that I was worthy. And whenever anyone would, I have no shortage of friends (even today) ready to tell me these words, they have the opposite effect. The more I hear it, the less it sinks in. And this was the sole reason for another person.
“You are very good alone”, my therapist would tell me years later. Yes, I’ve worked hard to be good alone, to not need anyone to give me my sense of worth. This was very difficult because my mother had thorougly posioned this well. I worked on my anger, my thinking, my perception, my balance, everything. I was always an introvert, and with many others, very self conscious about many real (and imagined flaws) that kept me from reaching out to other people. But now that I had worked so hard to rid myself of the need to have someone there to bolster me, that I was self sufficient in my hermitage, what little motivation there was to propel me forward is gone. This is not a travesty, because I am genuinely a happy person. Decades later I have scratched the surface of an individualized existence. I will reinterate… scratched… because I sense there is an immensity within which I’ve yet to tap into, but which will add so much more color and breadth to an already blessed and luminant life.
While driving through a winter road, dusk falling gently on the forest, the song Waiting for the rain plays over my radio. I am, as is so commonplace for me now, filled with contentment and peace. I am happy and I take pleasure in so many things around me, that each breath is a gift. And I look to the empty seat beside me, and I feel it, a new loneliness before now unknown to me. I wish there was someone there that I could say “see those spruce trees” and share the beauty that I see around me. Whereas before I wanted a mirror… now I want to be a mirror.
It is a dull ache, but it is one that I am so very thankful for. To many times, and for stretches of time too long, my heart has turned to ice, and I’ve had no more awareness of loss or love as I could levitate a rock. Too many people, wonderful people of such goodness, have been treated unfairly by me, that I am much hesitant to test my health upon theirs. I am happier this way, for now.