The word itself strikes fear for so many people. So many people I know, or know of, just cannot be alone. They have to have someone else in their presence at all times, they do not know the joy that comes with time spent by their self.
Admittedly, I used to be one of those people. Many years ago, prior to becoming sober, I needed people around. I couldn’t stand the silence, had to have someone else there to talk to, listen to, interact with. The thought of having to spend any amount of time alone just made me seek out the company of people I may not have even liked. Of course the drugs I was doing at the time dulled the annoyance of said people, just so I could get the fix of some type of closeness.
When I was 21, that changed. I don’t remember the exact day, but I do remember that it was summertime and raining. I had my heart broken (I touch on this in the blog titled If I Knew Then…Part 2), and that event changed me forever. In so many ways.
I found solace in being alone, in music with my headphones on that only I could hear, in watching a thunderstorm that somehow reflected my mood perfectly. I even remember I was listening to Garbage’s Version 2.0.
That night a shift in my social life changed my outlook forever. I’ve had trouble being social since then. No longer did I want to be around others. I didn’t feel the need to go out. The fewer people in my circle, the happier I was. My trust in people had been shattered. I learned in one evening that the only person that could make me happy was myself. Me and me alone.
Fast forward about 6 years, and Tim moved in with me. He had broken down several of the walls I spent so many years (felt like a lifetime) reinforcing. While I never again became as social in public as he was, or would have liked for me to be, I let him in. He was my social circle.
There were a few close friends and family members that I let in also, but mostly it was Tim. I still enjoyed my alone time, but I grew to crave his company. I lived with him for over 10 years. A decade of my life spent with him. During that long time, I did learn to open back up, selectively expanding my circle to allow others in.
Though we haven’t lived together since July, I’ve operated the past 8 months as if we did. I allowed friends and family into my heart, mind, and personal space. But I also thought we’d end up living together again.
Since his death, another shift has occurred. I don’t want people near me again. I’ve spent the majority of my time alone, and that’s probably the best thing I can do right now. I still feel like being close to someone from time to time, but if I’m being honest with myself, it’s only his company I crave. Other people get on my nerves quickly.
I’ve attempted to make new friends, as the existing ones seem to only want to talk about Tim, and that’s not something I am ready to talk about yet. It’s been nice to talk about other things with people who did not know him, but somehow it just doesn’t feel right. The distraction level I’ve sought isn’t there.
So I’ve decided to try the alone thing again. Some time for self reflection and self healing. I intend to read more, write more, and of course listen to some great music. Hopefully, I won’t become a shut in, but maybe that’s what I need to heal my heart.
I want to get myself to a place where taking a chance on others doesn’t feel like a betrayal, to a place where I don’t feel like others want to talk to me to just be nosey about my loss, and to a place where I feel safe to break down a wall.
It’s been nearly half my life ago that I first learned to be my own best friend. I never imagined that I would be doing it again. But here I sit, contemplating just that. I’m considering moving far away when my lease is up, just to find the peace I feel I deserve.
I don’t want to ever forget the circumstances that put me in these situations, as they have made me a stronger person in the long run, but I also don’t want a constant reminder of times I cannot have again.
I plan on spending all my free time listening to music, reading, and doing things (alone) that make me happy. I’ll still work, as I need food and shelter, but not planning on doing much else. If it ever warms up and stops raining, going hiking in nature to clear my head.
I do not fear the path of being alone. It’s a road I’ve journeyed before, and I’m looking forward to having a positive impact on my future self.
All by myself, alone.