amazing pola by Sus, taken in Abruzzo
Through the cosmic alignment of Autumn socialising, I have been home alone the last few evenings. Last night it was raining so hard the lights were flickering. My go-to meal for one: cheese omelette, was eaten by candlelight in front of the fire.
I relish this time now; the silence and the stillness of being in my own space. But it was only a few years ago that the thought of an evening alone would send me scurrying for my phone or the interwebs. Anything to connect me to the world. As if without some certainty of human connection, I would float untethered, away from everything.
I had decided that being alone must mean I was somehow unworthy of company, that I was being judged or punished for not being enough. I associated aloneness with something awful, to be avoided. It is not lost on me that it was in the busy, noisy, crazy few miles of human soup that is London, where I felt the most alone. Back then I hung out with people who were equally broken, and just as afraid; we clung to each other. I said yes to every night out and every last minute trip, in order to limit the number of instances I would be alone. And when I was out, I tried extra hard to be the life of every party, I was the first one up on a table and the last one home. I lost days and days sleeping off the night before. It was all kinds of exhausting.
When I went back to New Zealand, I was utterly bone-weary knackered. Jet-lag crippled me for weeks and then I just slept and slept. I started to crave quiet. Just to watch a movie, read, drive to the coast. Eventually I found a kind of solace in the little stretches of time when I was alone. I wasn’t lonely, I didn’t feel bereft or abandoned. Or unworthy. Unloved. Stepping into the quiet was the doorway to this sanctuary that is in me now.
Learning to love being alone has changed everything, because I have learnt to love myself in these moments. I trust that I can give myself everything I really need. And this has dissipated any clinging neediness. I can be in our marriage with my whole heart because my great fear of being alone is no longer true. I am a more giving, present friend because I trust myself to be courageous and fearless in my love for the people I care about.
The quieter you become, the more you are able to hear ~ Rumi