For the first time ever in my entire life, I live alone. I was a daughter, sister, roommate, wife, mother, wife and mother and always had someone or many someones who I lived with and shared space. It's daunting and I have no idea how to be so alone. In all my 65 years, I have never ever felt so far from solid ground. It's as if l I'm in a rowboat , no land in sight... unachored, disconnected and adrift.
Early on, I knew I would have to find my way through this sense of loneliness, anxiety and grief that felt like a weight pulling me under the surface. Nothing felt like it had before which was probably the point. In the midst of the aloneness in tears I asked myself who is going to love me?" which of course was fear having it's way with me. I'm going to tread carefully over blame and telling stories that don't serve me, the past is for sure the past. I live where I had wanted to live, I am free and trying to start life at this late point in life, late but still so very much good ahead. I had hoped to be in a sure, happy and loving partnership with someone, a sense of home and belonging. But that wasn't my story... I had to sit with all of that and try to learn how to row because there was no longer even the illusion of belonging to hold onto (seriously so unhealthy the way I tried to make it all look like something it wasn't). Moments of it all being overwhelming and terrifying. Anxiety, trauma triggers and the only company I had in the dark was the inner voice that stays up all night with me telling me I am unloveable and deserve to be alone and unhappy.
One of the very best things I have done in this process is to hire a life coach to help me navigate this whole process of divorce and getting my feet under me. As I was trying to explain this gut splitting feeling I was having of facing the aloneness that admittedly I had made happen and created I just blurted out "who will love me?" and he asked me back, "who IS going to love you?" Without even thinking I said "I'm going to love me." I DO NOT KNOW where those words came from, honestly, I blurted it out and suddenly it all made some kind of amazing sense. Suddenly, I got it... I knew why I was here, in this place for this reason. I have never ever in my life put myself on the list of people I take care of and love unconditionally. I had never stood up for myself and protected me from what I knew wasn't in my best interest. Keep the peace... DO WHAT THEY WANT YOU TO DO was the message I heard ... That has lead to oh so many mistakes and regrets and to handing off my ability to stand for my own self, what I know is right (not what anyone else says ) and it's for sure the thing I know I am here in this time to figure out. I know my parents wanted me to do this work, they raised me strong and somewhere along the way, perhaps in search of belonging, I silenced my own voice and truth and became what others wanted. I maybe thought if I didn't become their mirror, I would not be loved..(yes i know that isn't love...I didn't know it then) I cannot go back to my college self and tell her that whole path is unwise and dangerous but I can tell my 65 year old self that I will take care of her and we will be in charge of whatever happens next.
Someday I'll be able to put the process into words, someday I'll share how I'm learning and growing and healing. Does loneliness still hang out, yes all the time but I now call her by her new name. Peace. Perhaps the most important thing I'm learning and getting comfortable with is love for myself. Forgiving the mistakes and missteps made when I didn't stand up for what I knew to be true and right because other voices were louder and intimidating. Addressing shame and regret but not putting them on like a comfortable but ill fitting tee shirt to wear through life because it's what feels "comfortable" knowing now there is a price for that I'm not willing to pay any more. Love is the answer. I will love me and I will occupy my space in the world with truth not afraid to create boundaries that serve me. I will never abandon myself for someone else's comfort ever again. I am working hard to become whole as I bring that to relationships. Shedding the old t shirts and toxic comfort that wasn't actually comfort at all, I just made it so because I didn't know how to row back then. I hope that showing people who I love, how much I love them with a bright clear light, no more clinging to anyone in fear and desperation. I feel stronger , more confident and feel free , I will take my boat where ever we may go, come what... I am anchored to my own self. College me is waving from the shore ... I am sure this is the lesson I needed to learn, the thing I was meant to figure out so that everything else can flow from it. Stepping into one's own light is a powerful and blinding thing when the dark was so comfortable in it's lies. This what love and belonging feel like, this feels like safe harbor at last.