Archives for category: loneliness

I woke up abruptly, some minutes ago. I woke feeling frustrated, irritated, vaguely angry, impatient – a host of less than pleasant feelings crowding my consciousness. I felt as though I were in the middle of an argument. I felt as though I were not being heard. Definitely awake. Definitely “in the wee hours”. I laid awake awhile feeling my heart thump, hard, fast, as though I had been exerting myself. Breathless.

I got up, finally, to pee, to get something cold to drink, to “walk it off”, to “get some air”… I got up to breathe. To exhale. To let this shit go.

Initially, the house remained dark – suitable for the “middle of the night”, and avoiding waking anyone else. At some point, I remember I am alone right now, and turn on soft lighting, once it is clear sleep is not immediately at hand. I sit down to write, when it is also clear that “letting it go” wasn’t effortless in this moment – and was reminded of a conversation with a friend, earlier in the day. Human beings struggle. It’s not always an easy experience. We are beings of both emotion and reason; either one can be “a tad off”. Emotional wellness is important – as is our ability to reason in a rational, healthy way. They balance one another. They feed on each other. They inform each other. I experience feelings that source with my thoughts. Some of my thinking has its foundation in how I feel about an experience. Connections. We exist in context.

I breathe deeply. Exhale evenly, slowly. I relax, deliberately, willing my shoulders to drop back down where they belong (and wonder, again, what pulls them up so tightly, so uncomfortably). The experience of “hearing my heart thump” slowly diminishes, until what I am hearing is my typing. Some of this is about focus – what I pay attention to, becomes a larger part of my experience. We become what we practice. Doesn’t make it effortless. In fact, quite the contrary; it is the effort, the practice, itself, that creates the change being sought. Do the thing. Do it again. Keep repeating it. Eventually, it becomes part of who we are. “Easy” is not part of the process.

Another deep cleansing breath. Something icy cold to drink, seeking to cool off from the very subjective sense of being “too hot”.

…What the hell was up with my dreams?? I woke when I did, straight to being fully awake, no lingering in a dream, no recollection of the contents of my consciousness, before that moment when I woke, frustrated, irritable, and frankly a bit angry. What was that about? I breathe. Exhale. Relax. Let it go – again. It’s literally not relevant to this moment, here, now, in the quiet and the darkness.

I look at the clock and wonder if I will return to sleep… it’s not quite 2:00 am, on a “work night”. I’d rather not be awake right now… but I clearly am. What to do about it matters less, for me, than not getting stressed out by whatever that outcome ends up being. The thought of returning to sleep causes some anxiety. Nightmares? Possibly. I take a moment of consideration and gratitude that I don’t remember them, if that’s what woke me. Could have been a noise… but the world seems quiet, now. Lingering on the “why” isn’t helpful, and obsessing over that holds potential to drive additional anxiety. Another breath. I exhale. Relax – again. Let it go – again. Have another drink of cold weird liquid – what the hell did I grab out of the fridge? I look more closely. Oh. A sugar free sports drink in a flavor I don’t care for. Hilarious. I continue to drink it eagerly; the cold of it is more soothing than the flavor matters at all.

…I could just stay up. Have a shower. Meditate. Do some yoga. Make coffee… The time would pass quickly, and it would soon be time to head to the office…

My mind sifts through various recent conversations with assorted colleagues, friends, family members, doctors… aimless fussing and wound-picking, unproductive, and not especially healthy. I let that all go, too. I have a thought, properly relevant to experiences of anxiety and wakeful nights, and grab my vape – works for my daytime anxiety, will it work now? I watch the cloud billow around my face, and dissipate. There’s a loveliness to it, illuminated by the glow of my monitor.

I frown, irritated by the recollection of a recent visit to the VA. New doctor. Young doctor. “Have you tried Tylenol?”, she asked (about my literal decades of chronic osteo-arthritis pain in my spine). I’m still annoyed. Seriously?? Was she fucking kidding me? Potentially one of the stupidest questions I’ve ever been asked about pain management, by a doctor. Have I ever tried _____? Lady, Doctor, if it’s over the counter, I’ve fucking tried it – or read the contraindications and recognized it isn’t for me. For fuck’s sake, really? Damn.

Oh. Is that what woke me? I’m still processing my anger and frustration with that appointment? Admittedly, I’ve avoided dealing with it. I keep trying to “let it go” without having to deal with it. That, folks, is called “skipping a step” and it tends not to be very effective – but grinding my gears over it, ruminating endlessly frustrated by it, is also not effective. Running from the emotions does not put them to rest – it just results in feeling as though I’m not being heard. (Because I’m not.)

There’s a solution here. I hit my vape again. I shift gears and head to my meditation cushion. Whether or not I sleep is no longer my concern. It’s about a bigger picture of self-care, and “feeling heard” is something that needs to begin with me.

Here’s a brief musical interlude to pass the time… 😉

Some time has passed. There’s still time for more sleep, if it comes to that. I’m not worried about it. I’m not worried. I feel relaxed. Content. Centered. I’m okay. This is one moment, of many. Just that. It’s not a bad moment, if I pulled it from life’s deck like a playing card; relaxed, content, safe, hydrated, secure in my home, secure in my relationships. There are no longer alarm bells going off in my head, and I am at ease, and comfortable in my own skin. The moment is altered and I change the music. I think of my far away Traveling Partner, still sleeping. I laugh, reminded that I am at home alone, and stream the music to the stereo in the living room, I turn it up, still mindful that the world (and my neighbor) sleeps. My thoughts travel briefly to a younger time in my life; I’d have run from this moment, pursuing any available distraction. Tonight? I pull myself back into my body, back into this “now”, and let the bass wash over me. “…Free the history…” I pick up my buugeng, and begin to dance, feeling my contentment mingling with the music, and the movement. (Your results may vary.)

Unexpectedly, in the middle of a moment, grief washed over me, unsolicited, unwelcome – and too real. It has been just 25 days since my mother died. So much has happened since then to distract me from that experience. I dropped to the floor weeping like a… like… well, like a grown ass woman, grieving the loss of her mother, honestly. It’s okay. There is no shame in these honest tears, and I am okay right now. This is real, and it is what it is. I needed this time alone, I suppose; real life has some things to tell me, things I need to hear. My heart needs to be heard – and I need to take the time to listen.

I cried for some little while. I’m okay with that; tears dry. As they do, I think about a shower, and coffee. It’s almost 3:30 am. The alarm will go off in an hour, and there’s little point in going back to sleep, now. 🙂 It’s already time to begin again. 🙂

This cup of hot coffee tastes well-made, and satisfying. An early hour for it. I woke this morning, ahead of the alarm clock, alone. The morning unfolds quietly, gently, without any fuss. It could be any morning. How does it feel so very different, simply lacking the (sleeping) companionship of my Traveling Partner? The subtle shift in my awareness accounts for that, I suppose; I am not dedicating a portion of my awareness to continuously maintaining consideration for another human being, asleep in another room. I sip my coffee, contentedly. No loneliness this morning, just quiet.

He departed yesterday, some time after I left for work. We’d had our morning coffee together, quietly, contentedly. There wasn’t much to talk about; the planning had been skillfully done, the car was packed, the day was ordinary in most other regards. We sat together, waking slowly, gathering our thoughts, forming our intentions, sipping our coffee. I enjoyed the moment a great deal, and it became a happy platform upon which the day ahead would be built. After an ordinary enough work day, I returned home. All so very beautifully mundane, so easy to overlook the tremendous warmth and affection that infused it, like the strawberries in the infused water in the office – subtle and mild, and quite lovely.

Work was work. Summer flowers are blooming everywhere. The day passed quickly.

…I’ve no idea how any of that was so tiring, really, nonetheless; I had little energy or interest in doing things after work. I got home, more thirsty than hungry, and after quenching my thirst with many glasses of water, and enjoying a few minutes of conversation with my Traveling Partner, (once he arrived at his destination, for the night, moments after I got home, myself) I went to bed. I don’t think it was even 7:30 pm, yet. lol I didn’t “read awhile”, or meditate, or toss and turn; I was sound asleep within some few brief minutes after laying down. My sleep was deep and satisfying. I woke gently – to the sound of a chat notification on my phone, of all things (had I really left the ringer turned up??). When I checked my phone, there was no message, no notification, no sound – and the ringer was off, phone set to Do Not Disturb, for the hours between 11pm and 6am. lol I dreamt the sound. Just time for a new day, I guess.

It feels luxurious to get up, turn on a light without concern about waking someone else, and move through the details of my morning routine unconcerned by clumsiness, or someone else’s needs, just focusing on starting my day well, and caring for myself. I make a point to savor the things about living alone that I enjoy so much; there will be ample time to “appreciate” the things about being alone that are less pleasant, and I will make room for them in my heart, too, and hopefully grow from those experiences, and learn more, better ways to love and to share space. I sip my coffee, and consider the differences between living alone, and living with someone. I take a moment to fully appreciate having a partnership that so skillfully supports my need for solitary time. My Traveling Partner “gets me”, and I feel very loved.

…I take a moment to appreciate the way we “choose” this partnership, every day.

Sometimes our path is illuminated. Sometimes we walk our mile in darkness.

….Mmm… This is a very good cup of coffee. I find myself hoping my partner’s morning cup of coffee is similarly good, and smile at the first hints of day break showing through my studio window. So far, a pleasant morning. 🙂

There’s little truly shareworthy content in this quiet morning, beyond the quiet itself, and that’s only worth sharing if I consider it in the context of yearning for quiet and not finding it, or lacking any conviction that the quiet is worth experiencing, or… well, it’s all very subjective, I guess I’m saying, and not exciting, or the sort of thing that great adventure builds from. I’m just here, now. It is morning. I am content. By itself, quite worthwhile, and exceedingly achievable, with some verbs, and open communication, expectation-setting, self-care, and a well-chosen partnership. Nothing about that is “easy” or without effort. All of it is within reach, based on choices, generally. Real life happens. That’s a thing. I remind myself to be grateful for these easy-feeling moments, and to savor this quiet morning; life can be chaotic. Struggle is real. The wheel turns. This, too, shall pass.

…My coffee nearly finished off, I notice I’ve let myself become distracted by thoughts of work, already. I breathe, exhale, relax, and let that go – it creeps back, anyway. I sigh, and laugh out loud, disturbing the stillness. I check the time, and decide to get an early start on the day; this moment is as good as any to begin again. 🙂

I’m drinking strawberry infused water. It is cold – so cold – and vaguely sweet without being sticky. I find myself wondering why this hasn’t been “a thing” for far longer in my life? It’s pleasant, without being heavy, and I am enjoying (rather a lot) that it does not include any cucumber. Don’t get me wrong, I like cucumber just fine. Big fan of pickles, too. It’s just that, subjectively, I find the flavor of cucumber in water to be rather remarkably like very refreshing garden soil. Not really a flavor I’m seeking out by preference. lol

Now and then, on a break, or between tasks, I peek at Google Maps to see how far along his planned route my Traveling Partner has gotten. I smile every time; it feels like a connection. I already miss him, even though, on any given ordinary week day, we are not sharing this time, any way. I just know he won’t be there at the house, when I return home. I ache with the weight of yearning for his company, at the same time I eagerly look forward to cherished stillness. The feelings compete for my attention. I don’t make any effort to dismiss either one, or to diminish them, or to attempt to rationalize how one is more “right” or “true” than the other; they both exist in my experience of self, quite comfortably side by side. They are both true of who I am; I miss my partner when he is away, and I enjoy the luxury of the solitude when he is gone. My emotions are not my enemy, and I am not in any way less mentally capable for having the feelings I do. 🙂

…Still… I’m distracted. I’m thinking of him. Thinking of love. Thinking of the practicalities of life, at home, and in the world. I am waiting – for his return, for the quiet of a few solitary evenings at home, for the fulfillment and joy that both can bring. I’m also distracted, now and then, hoping that he is safe, and that his trip goes well, and brings him satisfaction and delight.

I suppose I could write more, or differently. This moment captivates me, drinking strawberry water, and watching the clock. Working. Waiting. Wistfully looking forward to morning coffee, tomorrow, then taken by surprise by a pang of something a bit like sadness, remembering this morning’s lovely moments over coffee together…and that coffee, tomorrow, will be quite entirely alone. I laugh, noticing I’ve finished off this water – and remind myself that I nearly always have my coffee quite entirely alone, in my studio, in the wee hours, while the world sleeps.

…I think I’ll refill this water bottle, and begin again. 😀

This weekend I enjoyed a hot cup of coffee – the first since my crown fell out, weeks ago. The socket left from the tooth extraction is considerably healed, although still quite tender (and I still have to be suuuper careful about bits of food getting lodged in what is left of the hole). Oh, for sure, I did not drink hot coffee while still completely hot. I, rather wisely, I thought, let is cool off quite a bit, and it was lovely even to drink warm coffee. I’d been managing properly chilled cold coffees for a few days, but hot felt like a real milestone. 🙂

…This morning, I’m finishing off the last of the canned coffee, icy cold. Tomorrow? I’ll be back to making coffee in the morning. It is a moment of self-care, ritual, and reflection, that I have been missing. 🙂

It was a rather peculiar weekend, in some regards. My Traveling Partner prepares to travel. I enjoy his company while he does so. Simple stuff. Still also fairly peculiar, in spots, with more than typical (brief) moments of (unexpected) strife. We work it out – we always do. No yelling, no raised voices, just moments when it was very obvious that our perspectives on some particular event, circumstance, or simply how we view some experiences, differ so much that even discussing them in practical terms becomes difficult. It drove home the understanding that, as individuals, we are each having our own experience, and view the world through the lens of our own understanding, defining our terms using our own unique dictionary, colored by our experiences, our values, and our assumptions.

I took time to reread “How to Love“. Another great starting point in any moment of growth. I followed that with “After the Ecstasy, the Laundry” – both great for perspective, and for reflection. I smile, now, in happy consideration that I have the sort of home life, and partnership, that allows for time to read, and supports discussion, without yelling. It’s nice. It’s very much worth the shared effort.

I step away from my writing for a moment to add something to my backpack that I’ll need later today, and notice that most signs of packing for travel are now missing from the living room landscape. Realizing my partner likely packed the car last night (and that I slept through that), I feel a brief twinge of loneliness in advance, that seems to want my attention. I breathe, exhale, and relax, letting go of the momentary pain of deep attachment being disturbed; we benefit from the time away from each other, having other experiences. I’m even looking forward to having a few days of solo time. I smile softly in the darkness, heading back to my studio, to finish my writing; it feels good to be so well-loved, and to love so deeply in return.

…Strange week for this adventure to play out. I’ve got a team member out on vacation, but somehow also committed myself to completing a major piece of analysis by midweek, while training a new member of my team (who won’t be able to help much with a day-to-day routine he does not yet know), and oh, right – I’ve got an appointment today! I feel time suddenly contract, folding in on me, building a sense of urgency and pressure (that, admittedly, I neither need, nor find “motivating”, at all). I correct my posture. Breathe. Exhale. Relax. I let all that go. The next couple days will be, perhaps, a bit longer than I’d ideally prefer. Sometimes that’s a thing. Reliably skillful boundary and expectation-setting, and general good self-care, means it isn’t a big thing – and will remain very temporary. I’m okay with that. The first couple days (and nights) without my partner will be the most emotionally difficult for me, and being quite busy during that time will serve me well. 🙂

…He leaves tomorrow. “Tomorrow?? That’s practically now!!” My brain sets off alarm bells in my head, and I feel somewhat breathless. Again, I breathe through that. Exhale. Relax. Let it go. I laugh at myself to both yearn for some solo time to catch my breath and really reflect upon the small changes that come with cohabitation, and also yearning to remain close to this human being I love so fondly. So human. There is literally no way to have both, in the same moment. 🙂 He has carefully planned his trip, and shared his itinerary, knowing that I find comfort in the planning, and the details, however poorly he may end up sticking to those due to, you know, all the real life and stuff, that so easily could occur along the way. I eye my clock warily, sensitive to how quickly tomorrow morning comes; I’ll go to work, and when I return home, tomorrow, it will be to solitude. Wild. So soon. 🙂

The weekend is over. The new week is ahead. One Monday of many, and it seems a good one so far. I finish my coffee, check the timing on the train for my early start to the day, and prepare to begin again.

It’s lovely to have a best friend, a devoted lover, a close social circle – someone to count on. No argument, it’s amazing to have all those things. Sometimes we don’t. We also don’t have to wither away and die of loneliness and heartbreak when we are alone. For real.

Treat yourself as well as you would treat your best friend, your devoted lover, your close social connections. Treat yourself with kindness. Patience. Affection. No kidding – be there for yourself, and become that person you can always count on. I so dislike pointing it out again; you have choices here. You can choose to be that best friend that you need, and become that person you can “always count on” – or you can choose some other path. Yep. There are verbs involved – and the uncomfortable matter of learning to trust yourself with your own heart. Learning to listen to yourself, deeply. Learning to hold yourself in high regard – that one can take a bit of work, if you’ve been crushing yourself with nastiness from within, for many years. It does take some practice to change the way we treat ourselves.

This practice is a bit tricky – self-indulgence doesn’t meet the need. Lavishly going beyond your means, also isn’t how it’s done, generally speaking. It’s a subtle thing, more about appreciating who you are right now, and supporting your endeavors to improve, and continue to become the person you legitimately most want to be. Already that person? Then this wee practice is probably already part of your experience.

This practice could be called “enjoy who you are” – I mean, that’s what I’m talking about. Be you. Appreciate your qualities. Embrace the best you have to offer the world, however humble. Become more of the best things you are, and grow some new great qualities over time. It’s that easy – it’s also that hard. I mean, what if a characteristic you yearn for is to be exquisitely good at math, or skilled at a number of languages? The study could take you quite a lot of time. Like a lot of New Year’s resolutions, and “fresh starts”, it’s easy to set the goal too high, too far, or too much, then frustrate yourself, and end up yielding to your frustration and giving up. “See? I knew I…” That’s both too easy, and too obvious a ploy. 🙂

Start here, now, today. Start where you are. Start with what you do enjoy about this human being that you are – even if it is so small and delicate as to be more a question than an observation. 🙂 It’s okay – you’re safe with you. You can trust you. Enjoy that enjoyable thing about you for a moment or two – seriously! Just enjoy you own presence in your experience. Sit with that awhile. In fact, do that every day; take a moment to enjoy you. Some little quality, or experience of living life, that you enjoy, can become the magic carpet that carries you into a lovely day. Follow it up with cutting yourself some slack when you make a mistake. Fix that shit, let it go, and move on.

Be kind to yourself. Also – be genuine and honest with yourself. (Not mean, just gently honest.) Take small steps toward large goals, and be considerate that journeys may require going some actual distance, and take some actual time.

Those people around you who like you? They know something worth knowing – how worthy you are. Those people around you who don’t like you? Hey, you’re an acquired taste, a being so entirely yourself that liking you isn’t for everyone. Could you be different or other than you are? Sure. Do you want to? I mean… if you don’t want to change, great – like yourself and let go of drama. On the other hand, sitting around pissing and moaning with self-loathing and self-contempt are not just huge buzzkills, socially, they also waste precious time that could be spent enjoying life. Choices. Verbs. Journeys. All for you. 🙂

It’s time to begin again.