Being Alone and Lonely ....
FROM JULY 22, 2022 (MOVING BLOG TO WEBSITE BLOG)
is so much better than being alone and with someone. This I know all too well. There have been so many times in my past 2 relationships where I have felt lonely and it is one of the worst feelings I have experienced.
Looking back I am fully accepting of the fact that in my first relationship, I didn't know how to ask for what I needed. Perhaps that is because I was with someone of the "wrong" gender 😉 but it's also because I truly didn't fully know what I needed or how to ask for the things I knew I needed.
In my second relationship I clearly remember voicing that I was feeling lonely, why I was feeling that way and what I needed to not feel that way. Over time though, I gave up using my voice. I think on some level I started believing that I was needy and asking for too much, so I became quiet - and I felt so incredibly lonely. I filled my days with as much work as I could and tried my best to pour my energy in to my kids; yet I could feel myself withdrawing internally and I lived in a constant state of exhaustion. I remember over Christmas telling a friend of mine that once school started again, she wouldn't hear from me. That had been my pattern for so long that I believed that was how I functioned. The reality though was that I was just so exhausted from not being able to reconcile my loneliness in a relationship with someone I loved so very much that I had stopped fully living.
This was what my counsellor and I tackled in counselling on Wednesday and it was definitely not an easy conversation. I broke down in tears several times and 3 days later, I am still finding myself emotional and swaying from happy to sobbing. Last night at the end of my Zumba class, we were stretching to the song "Brave" by Sara Bareilles and the line that got me was: "Innocence, your history of silence Won't do you any good Did you think it would? Let your words be anything but empty Why don't you tell them the truth?"
My history of silence hasn't done me any good - did I think it would? I guess in hindsight, I should have kept asking ..... or I should have left long ago. Hope does crazy things though - so does love. I know I can't go back and change the silence - I can only move forward and take what I have learned - that silence will never do me any good because ultimately my silence is dismissing my own needs. This is just another layer of my journey to self-love that I am committed to working on. The words I was told so many years ago would have me believe that my needs don't matter so it's easy for me to slip into that role and "keep the peace". Ultimately though when I dismiss my own needs, I have no peace and so I have to make a conscious choice to not "keep the peace" but rather "keep MY peace". This is work for me. It is hard. It is scary. It is exhausting. It leaves me constantly feeling vulnerable. Yet I keep going and plugging away because I deserve peace.
As the tears were flowing in counselling the other day, my counsellor looked at me and asked, "Why is this so emotional for you? Why is this causing the tears to flow like this?" I told her that it was something she had just shared about a realization she had after she had argued with her husband. We often talk about our inner child in counselling and how it is up to me to comfort my inner child. There were 2 moments where my counsellor brought up her inner child that affected me deeply. The first moment was when she mentioned how old her inner child was. Her inner child is 5. I looked at my counsellor and said with tears streaming down my face, "does this mean my inner child is 2 1/2?" She said, "yes Tamara - your inner child is 2 1/2." I'm not exactly sure why this felt so sharp and painful - it just did. Like this overwhelming "holy fuck - my life was forever changed when I was literally 2 1/2". THAT is a lot to process. That is overwhelming. And I think on some level that breaks my adult heart. No child should have the course of their life altered like I did at 2 1/2.
This is not leading me down some pity party hole because I am fully aware that even though my life was forever altered at 2 1/2, I am also fully aware that I lived a very privileged life. I went to bed every day with a full belly, with parents that love me, with a brother I adored, with a roof over my head, and with SO many things I am incredibly grateful for. It more just felt like this huge awareness of the work I have done and the work that I need to continue to do so that I live my life with the peace I deserve and it overwhelmed me so much that the tears just started flowing.
The second moment that affected me so much was when my counsellor said that she had a conversation with her inner child that said, "M - you are ok. You are going to be ok. He's not going anywhere and you didn't do anything wrong." In that moment, I couldn't help but just let the tears flow even more. My counsellor gave me the time I needed to gather myself a bit and asked again what had happened for me to bring on the waterworks like that. I realized in that moment that I blamed myself for being alone - I had been telling myself that I was bad, that I had fucked up, and that ultimately I had done something "wrong" to deserve being alone. She just looked at me, smiled softly, and said "you didn't do anything wrong - nothing at all - the missing piece here though is that if you keep trying to fill your loneliness because you don't like the feeling of it, you will always find yourself in this spot you are in right now."
Have I mentioned before that counselling and doing the work of healing is hard fucking work? 😉😂 Yes I wink and laugh because that is me and I am not stuck in these moments of sadness. At the same time, it is hard fucking work and when you have massive realizations that on a very deep level your inner child was believing that we had done something "wrong" and fucked everything up causing us to be alone, it's going to lead to HUGE emotional releases and some very early bedtimes.
As our conversation in counselling moved forward, I was reminded several times that I hadn't fucked up and that it was now my responsibility as the adult to calm my inner child in those moments of loneliness. We talked for a long time about how lonely I had felt in my previous relationships and how that feeling is very different from the feeling of loneliness I have now. It's natural to want to share experiences with someone special, to want to be hugged by someone special, and to want to share life with someone special. So it's completely natural to feel lonely because I am alone. (yes, I know I have my kiddos and that I'm never alone when they are with me - I'm thinking you understand what I'm talking about here though 😉) What is not natural though is feeling lonely while with someone else and this is one of the promises I have made to myself moving forward. I promise to myself to never again feel lonely in a relationship.
The other promise I have made to myself is to learn how to comfort me when I am in the throws of loneliness. For the most part I do great - I enjoy my alone time, I keep myself busy with things I love to do, I have amazing people in my life to share time with, I have Maggie, I have my kids - and then this heaviness sets in that is really hard to shake. This heaviness is what I am committed to working on. I know I will continue to feel lonely because THAT makes sense - what I don't need though is the crippling heaviness of loneliness because on some level I believe or better yet, believed that it's my fault.
I am not sure how I do this yet - perhaps just having the realization that this is what I was carrying and believing is the first step to working on this. Perhaps writing this and putting it "out there" is another step to working on this. I don't know. I definitely do not have all of the answers. The only thing I do know for sure is that I will continue to do the work because I truly believe I deserve to live in peace and the only way I get to live that way is by peeling off the layers that don't serve me anymore.
So I guess this is where I go back to the Sara Bareilles song and say that "I will let my words be anything but empty" and that I will "tell them my truth". She also mentions letting the light in so that she can see how big my brave is - I'm working on it Sara. One moment at a time.
Thank you again for being part of my journey and for allowing me this space to think, write, share, process, grow, heal and peel off those layers that no longer serve me. I am forever grateful for you and I hope you see in me how strong I believe you are too.