One of the benefits of living in my own little hermit hut is that the concerns of the outside world really have to work hard to find me and get in the door. One of the disadvantages of living in my own little hermit hut is that the concerns of the outside world really have to work hard to find me and get in the door.
For example; I really didn’t register until this morning when a friend told me that she and her family were leaving for the beach that this was one of those “holiday weekends”.
In the olden days, in the olden life, I used to have “things to do” on this (and other) particular holiday. No more.
This morning I read a quote on Twitter from Maggie Nelson; “Loneliness is solitude with a problem.”
I’m not sure.
I have always had a gift and a need for solitude. Growing up in a small house with so many people, I think, gave me early on an appreciation of the treasure and luxury of alone-time. Solitude is beautiful. There is time to read, there is space to just be with no one watching or wanting or needing or expecting.
I learned about loneliness not in those periods when I was blessed to experience solitude, but, rather, loneliness happened when I found myself with a person or people who either did not understand me and my needs, or, worse, did not respect those needs.
I confess that when i changed my life in order that I might not suffer that sort of over-populated loneliness, I very much expected that taking such a positive, affirming step (despite its rather high cost on many levels) would open a space in my heart and life that would be filled with people (or a person) who would assuage those years of that sort of loneliness.
It seems that I was quite wrong. In fact, quite the opposite has happened. It turns out that all those years I was willing to compromise myself to serve the needs of others had the effect of warping my soul and heart into things that – having so long been denied and twisted to the purposes of others – no longer are strong enough to hold shape, to sustain me.
This is a warning, my friends: the Heart and Soul and Psyche are NOT so elastic. And when you have spent enough time denying yourself joy, denying yourself expression, putting your needs on hold to serve others; well, eventually you will have lost who you were – and the fact that you SO disrespected YOU, tacitly gives the Universe and others the same permission.
And that betrayal of self is a kind of loneliness that echoes louder than all the picnics to which you are not invited, the parties you are never told about, the crab feasts that go on without you, and all the other events from which you will find yourself disincluded – and what, after all, can you expect? When by doing and being and bending yourself to what all those people needed and wanted without taking into consideration what YOU needed and wanted, what did you do but DISINCLUDE yourself?
Ok. Back to my books. And that silly fantasy about some secret someone out there who will show up to help ease this alone-ness.