This post is cross-posted at BlogHer.
Lonely is like your shadow. Sometimes, it's just there.
Does it matter? Often not. I can't really do anything about feeling Lonely sometimes. It can creep up on me when I'm home alone just as easily as it pops up in a crowd of friends. Lately, I've been feeling really good. About my life, about my friends, about my work. But Lonely is there, too. I invite Lonely to the party, because I believe strongly that the best way to deal with feelings is to feel and acknowledge them.
So I'm not going to lie to you. Sometimes, Lonely is the strongest feeling I've got.
Because good things have been happening to me lately, I've noticed that Lonely is strongest for me when something personally cool or great or gratifying happens to me - often something I don't want to or can't twitter or blog - and I don't have that one special person to call and share my news with. It's difficult because I had one steady boyfriend or another for most of my 20s; I had someone to call who's life was intertwined with mine. Who received the news as my partner, my team member, my Love.
So I always have this moment where I realize I've got no one like that to call. My news directly effects only one person: Me.
And then I tell a friend or two, and let telling a handful of special people soothe my heart's desire to call a romantic partner. It mostly works. After all, they care about me, and I care about them. I'm thankful I have people like that in my life, and so I take my Lonely and I feed it whatever friendship can give it.
Lonely used to be most difficult alone in my bed. For all the obvious reasons, but strongest right before sleep with no arms around me or even feet touching. Recently though, I've been doing a visualization where I imagine the feeling of arms around me and focus on making that as visceral as possible until I fall asleep. I suspect that sounds sad, but it's been surprisingly effective and relaxing.
So there is hope for my friend Lonely.
Lonely is nothing I'm afraid of.
It's just there.
I often wonder what Lonely is like for other people. Because I feel Lonely physically as a pain in my heart and an absence on my skin. I feel Lonely heavy on my shoulders and sometimes when I'm lonely I have to remember to breathe.
I imagine that other people don't feel lonely that way, because it surely doesn't seem to bother them the way it does me. But then I guess that maybe people simply don't talk about Lonely.
Does Lonely show when it's with me? I imagine often not. So I suppose I'm not seeing it on other people either.
And I suppose that while Lonely makes me strive to be ever open for Love, for others Lonely hardens them, makes them give up and turn away.
I feel the pull of that tide.
I fight it by inviting Lonely in. By being honest with myself and others about my feelings, even the ones I sometimes wish would leave me be. They won't, you know. They'll go in their own good time. Fighting them just strikes me as a futile waste of my precious energy.
Do you feel Lonely? When? How?
I love and value your comments and sharing, as always, but I'm going to make one specific request. The feeling of Desperation, while valid in its own right, has nothing to do with this discussion of Lonely. It's actually quite a different feeling. Frequently when it comes to women in particular, I find that "Lonely" and "Desperate" are often confused, frequently in a disparaging way. I often wonder if this is something that makes us so afraid of Lonely, this fear of being judged as Desperate. Personally, while I've been feeling Lonely at times lately, I've not been feeling remotely Desperate. So I would challenge you to separate the feelings of "Lonely" and "Desperate" in your heart and mind.
This post is also not about a search for solutions to Lonely. I'm pretty happy with my life and my processes right now. Right now, my life's a little lonely. That's where I'm at right now, and that's OK. Like the song says, "You can't hurry love; you just have to wait."
So That Said, What's your truth about Lonely?
Are you feeling lonely or lacking support? - from Christine on Live Passionately, thoughts and tips about Lonely. My fav bit: "We're particularly prone to loneliness when we're making transitions, especially for the better. If you're changing, such as exploring new alternatives and paths for yourself, you're bound to get a little lonely as you look for people who share your new interests and thoughts." Ding! Ding! Ding!