What's Wrong With Being Alone?
I grew up alone. I wasn't lonely. I was just alone. I wasn't alone like in the loner kind of way either. I was just alone. I was great at entertaining myself. I was crafty and creative. I always had a new project I was into. I loved to draw. I loved doing things with my hands. I loved working on things and tinkering. I never thought of myself as lonely.
I wasn't into any team sports. I had terrible asthma that kept me from running as any type of sport activity. I didn't have a tribe. I was alone. I liked moving through the world alone. I didn't realize there was any other way. I assumed my friends who had siblings still moved through the world like I did. Just alone.
Being alone isn't so bad when you don't know that it's not supposed to feel okay. Unfortunately the idea that it is okay to be alone doesn't last. Most people either conform or push way outside the norm to intently non-conform. Growing up with horses kept me from doing much of either. I had a separate space where being alone was accepted. Riding as a sport is an individual endeavor- one that still gave me some concept of a tribe. It gave me a place to go where I could be alone and was so not very alone at the same time. We all had this understanding of being alone.
Without intention the further I got into horses the more I left my creativity behind- not realizing the outlet that it may have been providing. As I lost my creative expression more rules were told to me and I accepted them, like the social constructs of fitting in. Talk to your junior high for a minute about what it was like trying to fit in and it probably wasn't pretty... or maybe it was high school... or maybe it was college... or maybe it was that first 'adult job'. Appearance is an easy thing to swing at. It;s the easiest shiny object in the room to create comparisons... in a world where we learn it isn't okay to be alone.
We are taught that feelings of alone-ness are supposed to be painful, even fearful. This same pain and same fear led me into the lies of my eating disorder that claimed to comfort me and make me fit in with all the other 'dieting girls' at my lunch table. Who knew I'd out do them and end up with an eating disorder while their 'diets' were really just a passing phase. I thought I was winning with my new best friend Ed. In retrospect they may have been the winners.
Leaving Ed was the journey into accepting it was okay to be alone. Learning how to be alone in the comfort of myself was key. So much time is spent alone in the dismay of ourselves, even disgust. For some it is learning to comfort that child in us that was never comforted in pain. For others its accepting their 'right' may be different than what the comparison monsters would ever let us believe. But in the end a life of steamed broccoli with amusement of seasonings won't be the knight on the white horse it claimed to be.
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