The post-divorce loneliness smacked me in the face about a month ago. Is it ridiculous that I thought I was above it? That it would pass without so much as a wink and a nod before moving along? Cheerio! I thought I was stronger, even than the loneliness. But I'm not. Clearly.
I have no idea how to write this post. None. I'm sure I'll spew out everything and go back to edit it twelve times and then just give up and hit "Publish". I don't know. I vacillate on how much to share. I can be equally ultra private and an over sharer; it makes no sense. I often make no sense. But writing these sorts of things really helps me to see things for what they are. So that's my hope; that I'll end this with a point of clarity.
I kept this bit hidden for some time because, really, there are far more horrific situations going on in the world and what right do I have to feel sad about feeling lonely when war and disease and unthinkables are going on, there are far worse things happening than my feeling lonely. What right do I have to complain when I have friends, family, and when my best friend is also my ex-husband? I haven't experienced the hardcore rejection that many women of divorce often deal with. I know Sebastian loves me. I know I can depend on him. I know his hugs are still there on my worst days. And believe me, I feel freaking lucky for that.
But the loneliness. It's hit me hard for a couple of very distinct reasons and I'm learning to let myself be human for feeling the pain and try not to feel guilty about it. As most every divorced person might feel, it's a very personal experience. Very. The fact that my ex-husband and I remain friends is an anomaly. We hear this a lot. And we can appreciate the fact that it is. Though, to be fair, we've worked through our emotions like everyone else, just somehow we've managed to also be logical about it. But ultimately, that best friend starts dating someone else and you have to let him do that without making him feel guilty about it, which I think I've been pretty good with. And I have to let go of the assumptions that often go hand in hand with being a best friend. He's been so respectful and I need to be for him too. Which means giving him more space, respecting the girl he's with by giving them more space together, encouraging him to live a content life even if that means I need to shift slightly off center and slightly out of frame. And that's where this kind of hit marks me twice... knowing that even though it is inherent to both of us to remain close in each others' lives, there's still that letting go just enough to allow for each others' freedom to live fully without being in the center together. This letting go twice... once of a marriage, once of an intimate best friendship... is sure a bitch and the sense of loneliness from that can be deafening. But it's healthy to adapt in an evolving friendship and I'm glad we have. There can be pain in change, but I will forever feel thankful for the friendship, compassion, and love in my marriage. It has led me to a more defined understanding of myself; my foundation in life - oddly- is much stronger because of it.
But how can I feel lonely knowing I've got people around me who genuinely love me? It seems selfish, doesn't it? So then this turns into a conundrum. Does it all come down to a desire to be with a romantic partner? Right off (maybe defensively?) I say, no. Right off I say, I'm not a serial monogamist. I'm way too social, so I covet my alone time; I like having the mind and physical space to dream; to be open to way more possibilities than I could have imagined existed. I keep this hugeness of a gift in mind when I start to feel loneliness creep in; that this post-divorce stage has been good to me in so many unexpected ways. Even when it hurts like a #$%?@! It's opened every part of me to the height and the depths of vulnerability and shed a, frankly very unflattering, light on the parts of me that kept me from feeling peace. And I've been really loving that feeling of peace. I had never felt it in my life the way I have coming out the other side of a series of epic fails. Including going through this sense of startling loneliness and finding out why.
Here's the thing. I don't shy away from being a strong independent woman. I don't want to be younger. I feel better and happier in my life now than I did in my twenties. Truth be told, I love who I am (95% of the time. The other 5% of the time I'm either too tired or I've had too much caffeine and I embarrass myself). I'm proud of how I approach life and how I treat everyone and everything in it. I hold myself accountable, I don't feel entitled, I work hard, I help, I listen, I create, I care, I love deeply. I don't want the life of a Disney princess. I don't want anyone's life but my own. I like my life. I like my life. It's good and full and colorful, and yes sometimes lonely, but it's something I've created authentically and I'm damn proud of that.
Here's something else. As I've been typing this out in the maniacal stream of consciousness way I am wont to do, I think I figured out the root of my loneliness (and this might be different for everyone). I feel lonely when I feel regret. What's funny is I can't ever identify a time in my life when I've felt regret for anything in my past. Ever. Even when I've made poor choices or whathaveyou, I can look back on everything without regret because I have clarity on how I became stronger and more peaceful because of them. So this loneliness kind of regret comes from not taking the chance or the risk or the leap now because I'm scared shitless of failing or being rejected or who knows why. The loneliness comes from spending time in the space that shows me what my life will be like if I don't risk or do or hope a ridiculous amount. Because that space is dark and empty and void of passion and I don't want my life to go that way. And I start to feel a stunning vacant loneliness. I begin to regret what I haven't even done yet because what I'm about to regret is not taking the chance. It's a bizarre feeling. I've stopped trusting myself, I've doubted myself, I've dropped hope. And that kills the soul, don't you think? It kills the chance before I even take it. And that's just a bummer. I don't want to waste my life away like that. I just don't. I won't.
So I write this blog post and I come out the other side having just figured out something very huge about myself. I think that's awesome.
Now when I think, god damn it, I want to continue to be excited about my career, the tiny and huge celebrations with the people I love, and I want to be in an extraordinarily beautiful relationship with this kind smart funny capable adorable witty handsome man, I'll scoop myself up and chuck myself back on track. Loneliness can shed the light not only on what sucks but it can also beam your most wonderful desires so much in front of you that you can't help but go toward them. To confront them. To love them and yourself enough to take that freaking chance. And if it doesn't pan out, it's a chance to try something else entirely. If it does work out... oh wow.
I think the loneliness dissipates under the light of our hopes. That's the upside of loneliness... the light that swirls around it eventually cracks through and we have no choice but to connect with it. We have no choice but to leap forward and be a greater more beautiful part of our own lives.
Thanks, loneliness. Thanks for being one more epic fail that turned into the light of redemption.
I just realized I took a deep breath for the first in a long time.
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