The Cheese Stands Alone
It has become clear to me. People look at me with mouths agape when we discuss my plans. They want to know the thing, the intangible and illusive thing that I have that they don’t. What is driving me to make this happen? How can I possibly be able to make this decision, execute it and survive?
It’s because I am intimately familiar with being alone.
I’ve lived alone for many, many years. Like – umm – 25 maybe? A long time. I also don’t have kids, and often I have been in new places without good friends. I have traveled alone, a lot. I have been to movies alone. Museums. Dinner. Weddings. Christmas parties. If it sounds awful, it is. Sometimes. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Vienna over Christmas a few years ago. Completely alone. The worst part was being a onsie and joining in with the families for a group dinner on Christmas Eve. AWFUL. I felt so awkward I kept running into the bathroom, crying, getting it together, coming out, going back, coming out. Finally a nice lady took my under her wing and talked to me. Up till then – horrific.
I’ve been to weddings alone. Equally as awful when you are sitting at an 8 top with 7 people and each of the couples folds in on themselves and you are left sitting there. Or when you are in a new city, you know NO ONE and you buy something from IKEA. It has to be loaded in the car with the help of a kind parking lot stranger, and then later taken into your home. I can tell you the best method is to open the box in your car and take things in piece by piece. I can also tell you that I ALWAYS park in the green vehicle reserved parking when I go to IKEA because I am SURE they meant to say Onesie Parking. They owe me a little kindness those Swedish pricks.
In the past few days a few things have happened that have slowly brought around this reminder that I am well and truly on my own. And with it an unexpected bout of extreme anxiety. I have 3 friends specifically that I can look at and know EXACTLY what they are thinking about. Whether carrying enormous stress, anticipation of an event, or a problem that is completely occupying their minds. Hell, all I can think about while they are talking is moving. We are all selfish that way. We try to be there for our friends, but only in so far as we don’t have a priority of our own. Then all bets are off. The sign of a true blue friend is whether they can manage their own shit AND acknowledge yours. Those are the ones you keep around for the long haul.
In the past few days I have been out of touch with one friend completely. One I have come to rely on. I have another friend with a GIANT glob of anxiety hanging around. Another with family and kids and its the start of Christmas week and family time. I don’t fit there. I think the final reconning was having Daisy away last night for a sleep over. Without her in the house, I am well and truly alone. Its so different without her here. Its just a different feeling when you are completely and utterly alone. And I am. The anxiety hit hard and fast. I have been for a long time but I’ve mostly had my puppies company. I often think lately, “Ok Black, what are you going to do when you are in your new place, all alone, in the middle of Marrakech? What then?” And the answer is simple….carry on. I’m alone here, and I will be alone there. Its totally fine.
I know a lot of people who never get a chance to be alone. Who have someone around at all times. Or when they are alone they are anxious and making motions to be with others. Its very uncomfortable. I know the lonlieness that follows a vacation with other people, when you walk in the door and bam – alone again. Its a scary feeling. But the bottom line is this : each one of us is in this entirely and completely alone. IF you can be comfortable alone, and IF you can solve problems alone, and IF you can enjoy your own company, and IF you can find ways to make decisions completely and utterly on your own, THEN you will be fine. Always. You will always be fine. I do NOT recommend selling all your worldly goods and moving to Africa until you are quite confident that you are able to be alone.
I am not saying I don’t want company, or love, or friendship, or caring, or company. I’m saying I don’t NEED it to survive. That’s why I know I will be ok. That’s why I know I can do this. I guess life as a onsie finally has some advantages.
While I know that I will be alone in Marrakech, it is obviously my hope that I will not be lonely. That is always my hope. Thats the hole that Daisy has filled for me. That’s what I need to overcome first and foremost. I will need to not be lonely.