What Kind of Aloneness Am I Looking For?
Someone asked me this question the other day and it hit me that I didn’t know the answer…
I enjoy being alone. I enjoy doing things that are better done alone: reading, writing, walking in the woods, walking the beach. Solitary activities that can be shared but are often more enjoyable alone.
But I will also be the first one to admit that I feel sometimes that I have too much aloneness…mostly in my head. Seems like I can spend a lot of time up there rattling around and really appreciate when someone other than me, gets involved to pull me from my self spiral.
So what kind of aloneness am I looking for?
I guess my most honest answer is the kind I am not getting. Which is really just another way to say that I still want what I do not have…
I think more than anything I want the ability to be alone and feel good and not less than. While I know that being alone doesn’t mean unwanted, there is still a part of me who views being single and alone as being unwanted, undesirable and adrift. I would like this feeling more than any other to leave me. I would like to banish it from my heart, mind and soul. I would like to be ok, being on this planet, tethered only to myself and have that be enough.
The result of many a night and day alone has been that I come up short. I find some part of myself objectionable…again, still. And that thought plagues me and sends me searching for the kind of company to distract me from myself. Others as a way to exit me. Not very cool, but that pretty much sums up all of my dating…really.
I guess it is high time I admitted I use others, most especially men, to find worth within myself. To use their presence in my life as some sort of validation of my own worth. When really their presence in my life was really more of a commentary about their own lack of worth in their own…
I have been stubbornly stupid about what aloneness really means. I have allowed other to define it. I have used others to change the way I feel about myself. I have basically fucked the whole relating thing up to a point where I am not sure how I got here and have no idea where to go next.
I do not know what kind of aloneness I want because it changes. If I am feeling sad, depressed, scared or worried, I want to be alone forever, to live in the woods alone with my animals and books and to exist that way forever. If I am feeling more upbeat and positive, I want to live alone in the woods with a man, just the two of us and the animals with visits from the outside world…occasionally.
I do not really believe that either of the above scenarios will happen…me alone in the woods. Instead it is a kind of escape fantasy I deploy to exit my here and now where everything tends to feel too much, cost too much and demand too much from me all the time.
I have four years left before my kids leave the nest. Four years where my alone time is going to expand as they launch themselves into their own lives and away from mine. I used to think I “I can’t wait!” But as it draws nearer, I find moments where I begin to panic. What am I going to do when there is no one home when I get home? What do I do when I am not actively mothering? How will I spend my time? Alone sounds good when you are surrounded and inundated all the time…but when you remove the constant, unrelenting need of children, alone can feel like a vast expanse of nothing…forever.
I do not know what alone I want. And I guess it doesn’t really matter all that much right now. I am alone infrequently, but feel alone a lot. Being unconnected and uncommitted has kind of become my default that I think that I thought that I wanted but now am not so sure. To be clear, I am equally clear that I am not sure I want to be coupled either. So I exist tied between the two extremes of together and alone and feel lost in the space that is neither.
I guess what I want more than anything is to feel safe in either environment. And if I am really honest, I do not. I feel vulnerable and bereft in each. In either extreme I struggle to relate and connect, if only with myself. I am not sure it can be different for me. But I remain hopeful that I can make some progress. And that progress might look like someone I can be alone with while still remaining connected to…and someone that I can be away from and still hold a good thought about. And for now, it appears, that the work will continue to be on my most important, foundational relationship…me with me. The kind of aloneness that brings about a better understanding of oneself while finding a way to love all the fractured, broken parts and allow it to coalesce into one whole person who is capable of existing in solitary form or in combination with others.
Is that even really aloneness? Clearly, I haven’t a clue…