A friend of mine spent a full day at a silent retreat in hopes to discover more about herself. I on the other hand spent two and a half weeks alone while my husband toured the country with a band. Whether silent for a day or alone for weeks, I know that spending time alone in quietness allows time for reflection and makes you vulnerable.
Underneath a poised posture, I feel alone.
Day-after-day I live out my routine. I engage in self-talk, “You’re okay! You’re fine!” All the while I bear heaviness like a weighted balloon, expanded from belly to heart. It reminds me that I am sad and alone, and, I’m afraid to say, even a little jealous and upset. My conscience tells me these emotions are not to be shown or felt. I know for certain they are not productive and will not get me through the day.
Knowing that I can’t hold my poised posture for long, I choose to stay alone. I have limited my social interactions. I am not so good at ‘putting on a face’ around close friends for too long. One comment or question (even well-meaning) and I may end up in a puddle of tears – I don’t want to be ‘that friend.’
Being alone has made me vulnerable – exposing the ‘ugly’ emotions. I’ve never considered myself a jealous person until I experienced loneliness. One post, one picture, one social exchange will ignite the “What about me?” complex and I’ll start to look at my life as less special. I will begin to see all my insecurities and hurts as hinderances to a more purposeful life.
Although I’d never show it, my smile keeps the vault locked, joy turns into a disconnect and an internal grumpiness. I ignore the yearnings for companionship by distracting myself. I put on a nice outfit, hoping the exterior will influence the interior. I tuck myself in way before bedtime because smiling all day has exhausted me. I am jealous that I’m not there and you are but have the maturity to not demand retribution because well, love isn’t about keeping score.
Loneliness renders ugly emotions. So be aware. ‘Ugly’ emotions are equal in value to the more acceptable ones like joy and love, but left unaddressed can grow into monsters. And monsters don’t make good friends – they cloud your judgement, cause you to avoid healthy friendships and make you focus on what you don’t have. Don’t mask the ‘ugly’ emotions – wash off the facade, stare them in the face until true beauty is uncovered.