I do not feel the need to sugarcoat this with the obligatory preface, “let the record show; I am happy with my life.”
Today, I am Lonely.
And my loneliness is worthy of a standalone statement.
It is a unique and delicious loneliness; one born of reaching the thick of a journey you are meant to be on, one you must travel alone. It is a loneliness no “good morning” text, affair, partnership or the occasional bed company can fix; a hole whose emptiness serves a purpose, its presence necessary to make room for the fullness of actualized self. Where you find yourself alone by choice, yet lonely by circumstance; you are exactly where you need to be, yet unable to articulate this fact in a way that can be understood.
“Happiness” is exhausting.
There is a daily face you must don as an un-partnered woman, the weight of which I did not fully experience until the sharp sting of being ripped from partnership subsided and the scab fell away to reveal a person I had to learn anew. As I navigated the unchartered territory of establishing myself as an adjective-less woman known by nothing other than my name I was faced with intense pressure to appear at all times happy with my station; lest my unhappiness be linked to the absence of something “bigger than myself”. For of course as women it is believed that anything that ails us can be cured with a new “title”, a person to belong to, and adjective to validate your existence.
It is then I realize once again why un-partnered women are so eager to enter into relationships. There is an allowance of a fuller range of emotion when neither your happiness or sadness is not immediately attributed to the absence of a person to “take care of”. Your depression legitimized when the presence of an “other half” could not cure it.
And I think back to the multitude of times I have denied myself the sweet agony of a full range of emotion. Denying their existence until I choked from the weight, or drowned in numbness till the world turned gray. How I developed methods over the years to delay emotion until the proper time and place to fall apart; rituals to then bring the disjointed feelings to surface. The obsession with making my life appear “full”, consumed with hobbies fueled by fear instead of passion.
“Happiness” is exhausting.
And of all places I find comfort in the memory that I was not always happy as a partnered woman; the nights staring at the ceiling, discontent where sleep should be. Nights I repeated over and over that when you are in this for life it is possible to experience an entire bad year; when this mantra would not comfort me and I lay waiting for exhaustion to grant me a sliver of peace. It is not lost on me that even trapped I felt freer than I do now. Free to allow despondence to engulf me with the faith that this, too shall pass; that the tide of despair would eventually melt back into the sea and a new day, a new way to feel would emerge. Empowered by the knowledge that neither happiness nor despair are permanent. The freedom to experience seasons and let them pass.
“Happiness” is exhausting. And there is freedom in this admission.
Today I am lonely.
Tomorrow I may not be.