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[ Opinion ]

When Loneliness Calls For You

The hot loneliness. The pain. The grief. The terror. The magic. It’s not linear. It was never meant to be linear. It is up and down, and terrifying and exciting and exhausting. 

I don’t eat for almost 6 days. I force myself to swallow at least one English muffin a day. So, I eat. But, I don’t eat well. I’ve lost 6lbs since this heartbreak. I read a poem that tells me to not lose too much weight. It reads “stupid girls are always trying to disappear as revenge/and you are not stupid.” But, this isn’t revenge. This is not me saying I will lose weight for you now.

This is my body telling me it can’t possibly process what is going on and I don’t want to feed myself. Feeding myself feels forced and I don’t want anything to be forced anymore. I’ve grown so tired of forcing myself to do things. I’ve forced myself to clean and do laundry and wash all the dishes. I’ve forced myself to pretend to be interested in your words and your work and your spread sheets and your female boss, who I can tell you have absolutely no respect for, because a woman who owns her power terrifies you. I am not forcing this shit.

If I can’t eat, I won’t eat. I’ll swallow this English muffin for the sixth time in six days. But I will not be forced. My hunger returns on day 7. But it’s still evaporated. I kind of like this new skinnier version of me. And not because you like her, but because it feels good to not have to be ashamed of my body or my stomach or my rolls. Because it feels good to like my body again. 

But, I never truly disliked my body, until you came around. Until you started looking at me differently than I looked at myself. I thought I was absolutely stunningly, beautiful and I loved my body. But, you thought I could lose a few pounds so your eyes told me I was less than beautiful. That I was unattractive, as I was, and as I am.

I didn’t eat during my first heart break and I can’t eat now. It’s not because I miss you. I get it now. I don’t miss you. I miss the idea of an “us.” I miss what “us” could represent, but never did.

My dad told my sister you were not the marrying type and I laughed it off, as another, well he doesn’t know you. How dare he? But he knew long before I did. A father, who loves his daughter, always knows. And my dad knows me.

My dad, however, has learned that telling me something when I am unwilling to believe it, will do nothing, but offend me. I wonder why I’ve always been so defensive. I wish I could accept truth and just feel the ache. But I wait for the sting, the burn, the surprise. I wait, until I know.

My knowing trumps all others.

I don’t run from this feeling. This hurt. This pain. People who read my words think that I am not over you, at all. But people, who know me, the real IRL *me*, that appears in front of them, have no trouble realizing that I do not, in fact, miss you at all. 

And I don’t say this to be mean or unkind. It’s just the truth. And I’m learning to tell all my truth, without disclaimers. To forget every spiritual distraction that tells me forgiveness is the answer and to always return to love. We can’t return to love that easily. I stopped loving you soon after I realized you stopped loving me.

So I’m sitting in this loneliness for the first time in my entire adult life. And I am not running from it. It would be easy to distract myself. I could get on one of those dating apps and be immediately inundated with messages from boys who don’t know themselves.

But, I won’t do that this time. I can’t do that. I have learned lessons now. I know better. I know that I will never sacrifice my own self-worth and use another person to escape. I will not, as Liz Gilbert, says “use another person’s body or emotions as a scratching post for my own unfulfilled yearnings.” I just won’t. It is selfish and it gives my power away. And I am not willing to give up my power. Not anymore.

You begged me to play small. You forced me to. The minute I started truly shining is the minute you started carefully and concisely bringing me down. Trying to hit that girl who was once addicted to drugs and shame and tell her, “that’s still you.”

You whispered, “Do you see me now? I am your hero. I can save you.”

But, NO thank you sir. I CAN save myself. And I WILL save myself. 

I do not know what true loneliness is about. Not sober at least. I know the loneliness of early sobriety, but I do not know this type of loneliness. I know loneliness can be diminished with pills and booze and sex and cocaine. But, I am not into diminishing. I am into feeling. Growing, evolving. Sitting, staying, and healing. This is what I know now. This is who I am now. 

This is the knowing of my world.

My friend, Kristin, tells me that loneliness is a good thing. She says it gives you a chance to know yourself more. And I believe her. I do. Like, I don’t NOT believe that one bit. I am loving getting to know this self. This self that was subdued and put-out by shame and secrecy and dishonesty and drugs. This self that didn’t know how to become.

I am becoming.

I realize that I am not afraid of my dark. I can talk about my dark, with ease. I have grown accustomed to doing that in church basements and at treatment facilities all across this state.

I can talk about my dark.

What is difficult, however, is talking about my light. It is difficult for me to truly shine. I don’t know why. I used to be very confident. I am still pretty confident. But, I think about my words before I say them. I think about how I’ll appear and if people will find me smart. I used to not give a fuck. I liked that girl. Everyone liked that girl.

I used to be liked for who I was, as opposed to for who I pretended to be.

I guess it’s fear. It is fear returning. And fear longing. It is fear showing up and asking me to play small, to stay with it. But fear is only real if I make it real. And I’ve stopped making it real. I stopped making it real the minute you broke my heart last April.

Fear is a game that begs you to laugh uncomfortably, and smile, and cross your legs, and say please, and thank you, and smile, and apologize all over yourself, time and time again.

I’m not sorry anymore. I am not sorry that I am big and bright and bold. I am not sorry that I do not hold back and I just radiate. I am not sorry that I write fiercely and without regard. I am not sorry that my nerve denied me, and so I went above my nerve.

Sorry is for the girl that was recovering from a drug addiction and hanging on your belt buckles and riding your coattail. Sorry was for the girl who thought a man like you with a good job, and a good heart, and a nice home, would even like me, if he knew anything about me. Sorry was a fuck you to my true self. That girl was never me. And was never truly me. And will never be me, again.

You fell in love with someone pretending to be a lady, and I am a warrior.

This is the gift of loneliness.