Where do I start today?

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Image: Lorenzo Blangiardi at Flickr 

A wise suggestion from Andy Charrington when I explained that I didn’t know where to start with my writing right now:

“Start right where you really want to.”

Okay, I thought, well that’s a scary spot. A pretty strange and scary (though not entirely dark) spot…

It’s the place where I wonder how it would feel to run my fingers over her heavily-inked collar and breast bone.

It’s the chair in the corner of the tropical party that I showed up late to (wearing too much black), then left alone as each couple curled up together.

It’s the way a tendon in my left shoulder twitches sometimes, my body’s signal that I’m overwhelmed with anxiety and overdue for regular yoga and massage.

It’s the thing where I push myself out of the house regularly, mostly alone, often too late. Just yesterday pushing myself to a favourite cafe via slow bus, frozen toes..only to have it be too full.

It’s the way my being became seized with doubt after opening that piece of mail, after reading that particular message.

It’s the way I go out and come home alone, go out and come home alone, go out and come home alone…because I want to.

(But do I?)

*

I could start in these kinds of dark places—or I could start with the bright spots, of which there are many:

The band last week that made me feel like I was 16 again—sweaty bodies dancing joyously, strange and sometimes heavy music. Real music, real people, bodies dancing heavily in a drunken room.

The Time Traveller’s Wife, a sweet secret santa gift from an internet friend.

The way he concocted a super-special fresh mai tai cocktail the other day, icy cold and a bit bitter, complete with chunks of coconut, just for me. I was wearing a rainbow lei which was borrowed from Regretta the unicorn pinata.

It’s the way she bought me a coffee from the little outdoor sidewalk window, even though I barely knew her and had also kept her waiting for too long.

It’s the way we do Dollar Cinema, sitting up front and spiking our Pepsi (Nightcrawler, Boyhood).

It’s the way we served Sunday dinner messily last night, then laughed hard about how imperfect it was. Then we played guess the animal.

It’s being invited to work out with a friend and discovering that you actually like the gym that you’re in.

It’s listening to a best friend’s adventure stories on the other end of the phone.

It’s having a Sunday feel like a Sunday is supposed to feel.

Hello, Alone, How Are You Today?

Sometimes, when I’m by myself, my mind reaches back into some other time when I felt safe, secure companionship, from a relationship that ended not so long ago.  My brain automatically, instantaneously classifies that past time as “good”: safe, secure, comfortable.  And classifies now as “bad”: lonely, unsafe, lacking meaning.

It all happens so fast that I don’t even know it!  And suddenly, I feel lonely.

As an only child, a natural introvert, an HSP, and someone who has not had many long-term (serious) relationships, I’ve spent many moments by myself in this life.  I should, by now, have so much practice that I’m really great with it: the thing is, I’m not always OK with it.

The video below, How To Be Alone, by poet Tanya Davis, offers us a glimpse of just how great being alone can be.  Take a look.

Sometimes it’s easy to see the beauty of alone.  Sometimes it takes some practice.  It is always, always important to be aware of your solitude, to practice being OK, to practice play.

And always, some days are better than others.

But the times that you have to really focus on your aloneness are those times when you start sinking into loneliness without realizing it, when it sneaks up on you like a disease.  When it starts to creep in without you barely noticing  then all of a sudden you really are lying in a pile on your bedroom floor (which is also perfectly OK, btw) for no real reason.

Or, maybe you have anxiety attacks, but only when you are alone.

Does your own company, your own mind, really have to cause you that much grief?

For me, today, right now, I’ve resolved to not go there.  I’m not able to spend money (I’ve resolved to never again use the term ‘broke’, because that implies that something is broken, a vessel empty, but that is a whole other blog entry).  I’m OK alone, in my somewhat messy little cheap apartment, in the middle of a rainy-day-grey-Vancouver-Sunday.

I could (as I have many times), allow myself ‘get’ grey, feel lonely, but I’m practicing just… not.

My brain (society) is so deeply conditioned to believe that alone = bad.  Even with all the new-agey hype about the concept of making friends with solitude, that habitual thought pattern is still engrained in my brain.

But in reality this moment of alone is just as good as any other.  Or, if we want to get all Buddhist about it, it’s neither good or bad.  It just is.

Today I made one promise to myself, a promise that I boldly (in bold!) proclaim to the world (or at least my small blogger audience, and a few friends):

I will not equate being alone with sadness.  

I mentioned earlier that I’m an HSP, which means I’m a very sensitive person, swayed easily by the energy of others.  I’m learning to do this in only the most positive ways, to let others lift me up, and to use my influence to help others, even when all that entails is listening well.  It’s taking time to learn.

But as an introvert, I find I need time alone to recharge.  I need time alone to just be, and not have to navigate through so much external energy.  It can be exhausting.

In fact, when I’m around my most energetic, interesting, intelligent and wonderful friends, sometimes I find myself most exhausted!  Which does not mean I don’t want to be around them, it just means that I want to (do) absorb everything they say and do, and when I can’t I don’t feel quite so devoted.

I want to be fully engaged and connected to those who I know and love.  And when ideas are bouncing back and forth and conversations and ideas flowing, it’s so overwhelming!  Wonderfully overwhelming. But I need time to sit back and process after those times.

Alone is fine.  In fact it’s great, because here there is noone to energetically sway me.  I can’t hide here, but I can go here to recharge, to refuel.  It is such a blessing, really.

So, why not try it: if you are alone, be strong and bold in your aloneness.  Don’t wish for something else, just be (interested) in this time you have now.  Get used to your own company.  Do your thing.

You can view it as making friends with solitude, or, just being.  It could just be the best thing you’ve ever done for yourself.

Thank you for every single solitary thought and gesture that ever happened.