These words poured into a notebook in a stream of consciousness right before I fell asleep last week.
being alone is consciously sleeping in the middle of the bed.
it’s a king, and you’re in between two pillows now
taking up space on purpose
where it used to be occupied
by someone else who held your heart
until you called it back
took it out of selfish hands
and slid it back
deep behind your breastbone
now it is only for you
keep it and live into your new life
take up so much space
he must be worthy enough to have a corner of it
and if he’s worth more
make sure the bed is yours
I do sleep this way now. For months I slept on my same side of this ocean of a bed. I can only imagine it was habit (and the fact I sleep like 27 rocks). But it’s gotten me to thinking about solitude. I have confessions to make. Prepare yourself.
Being alone is hard for me. I don’t like it, which is why I’ve had THE PARADE OF DUDES (with special guests: WOMEN) for the duration of my twenties. As I’ve been reflecting the last month, I realize that I have systematically inserted a partner into my life every time I make a decision to let one go. There is always someone on the back burner. For a long time, this was exhilarating and ego-boosting. Now, it’s shown me that if I really want to invite a partner into my life that can level up to me, I have to create space first. My old practices of choosing partners went something like this:
“Jump in with two feet! When you jump in with two feet and keep your heart completely open, you’ll know if this is right for you, even if you get hurt in the process. It’s okay if there are red flags because- POTENTIAL! I can fix this. I am special and magical enough to fix this wounded baby bird.”
But here’s what I’ve learned in ways that involved emotional abuse, misguided intentions and just plain fuckery: Potential does not a healthy relationship make.
I have challenged myself to get uncomfortable. Writing this post is in honor of that challenge. From the outside, I like to imagine that I present as having my shit together, but the truth is- I’m terrified of looking like I have no idea what I’m doing (not just in relationships, but in all aspects of my life). I’m scared of failing in all the ways a human can fail. I’m literally doing the best I can in hopes that living through it will illuminate the path I walk down.
So now, I make decisions that are hard for me. I say no more than I say yes. I spend nights in my house drinking a glass of wine in the bath tub instead of going out on dates to distract me from my temporary loneliness. There are good books on my night stand and there are long conversations with strong women who are helping me live into my healthy choices. There are tears that well up from a place I forgot I had, mourning the loss of the life that depended so much on what others thought about me. It used to be safe there, thinking that I pleased everyone. I’m learning to know myself in this new place and like it.
“Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination…” -Mary Oliver
I wonder what it will be like to know myself in solitude. I’ll just have to let the magic work on me instead of working it on everyone else. xo