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I’m really struggling with these two concepts: alone and lonely.
My friends have always thought of me as a loner. Fortunately, not the kind of loner that goes on some rampage and then has neighbors saying, “Oh, she always kept to herself, you know, kind of strange and quiet.” But the kind of loner who never minds going places alone, who prefers living alone to having roommates, that sort of loner.
Movies alone? No problem. I started going to the movies alone when I was 14 – I was in love with Star Wars and saw it over and over again. It spoke to my wanderlust and romantic, adventurous nature.
Restaurants alone? Sure! That probably started when I was 16 – as soon as I could drive, I was out the door. I was always comfortable hanging out reading and writing at cafes.
Bars/pool halls? Naturally. If I was old enough to get in (or almost old enough to get in), I was old enough to hang out and to kick some pool-table-pattootie.
I travelled alone a lot for work in the old days, and so I had to get used to being on my own wherever I was. I did. When I started going to the Caribbean, I went alone, and loved it. I inspired other women to try travelling alone. It was a time for me to truly come back into myself from all the pressures of my life.
But after being in a relationship, and traveling with someone for a while, and learning to love and trust, being alone has taken on a different quality for me, and I can’t seem to reconcile with it. As I’ve said before, I used to crave and cherish my alone time. Now, perhaps I have too much of it, or perhaps I felt so loved in my relationship that now, when I am alone, I just feel lonely.
When I go to bed, I realize that I am facing the prospect of going to bed alone for a long time. When I wake up, I am aware of the same thing. I refuse to compromise for less than love. Will I someday become comfortable with this? I suppose I will adjust to it. But I do not think that anyone who is capable of great love is meant to be alone. That’s where I’m struggling. I thought I could love well. I felt well loved. If either of those things were true, then why am I alone now?
I had spent so much time protecting myself from being hurt, because I was being hurt all the time in my marriage. My last relationship taught me that it was okay to trust someone, to let that guard down, and really let someone in. Now that that relationship has ended, I feel as if I was wrong. Wouldn’t I have been better off keeping that sheer wall up, protecting my heart? I can’t decide if I want to put it back up again or not. It was certainly less painful. I was comfortable in that space. There were some areas where I was floundering, but I’d figured out what they were and how I wanted to handle them.
Then my heart was captured and convinced. And even though I know all the reasons that this relationship ended, it’s been over a month, and I cannot seem to accept it. I cannot seem to come to terms with being alone now.
Now I am lonely, not alone.
I know I have whined about this before, and a lot of cyberfriends have provided words of comfort and encouragement. I appreciate that and I don’t forget those words. Don’t feel like you need to provide me with more comfort. Just bear with my whining, because it’s probably going to continue for a while. At least at this point, I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel, train or otherwise.