It shouldn’t hurt to be alone

But it does.

I’ve been away from here for months – that probably makes me an arsehole. Sorry.

New job, blah blah, big personal life changes, blah de blah, but no excuses.¬†The name of this blog is apt, no? ūüėČ

I’m sitting here alone wondering how I got ‘here’ and where everything is leading, and what it all means, and why the f*ck I seem so fundamentally ill equipped to be in my own company.

How cliché, right?  Рunadulterated navel gazing as the year ticker is about to click up.

happy new yearI’ve been lectured on the difference between loneliness and being alone, but I haven’t been able to separate the two very well. If you’ve cracked that, or even if you’re stymied like me, I’d appreciate hearing about it.

I’m decidedly not sorry at all for being alone. An AirAsia plane went down two days ago. Who the f*ck am I to feel sorry for myself?! So I’m not.

I’m just lonely. And confused by why I can’t seem to enjoy my own company.

Maybe it has something to do with a difficult childhood and genetics that have paved the way for a perfect storm of biochemical imbalance. But why should the act of being alone feel like taking an elevator down thirty two floors to the¬†depression basement? Perhaps being alone could be a buoying and freeing experience? Like jumping off the roof of a building as in The Matrix and realising you’re okay? Maybe. I’ve felt moments of that, and gratitude for glorious independence from the weight of compromise and people pleasing.

Maybe the reason I suck at being alone has something to do with how much I suck at being with others.

I’m either a crazy workaholic with manic social calendar or sit sadly by myself in quiet and isolation, paralysed by some kind of fear I can’t quite put my finger on.

If I were Goldilocks I’d run back and forth between the icy cold and piping hot bowls ‘ouch ouching’ all the way instead of settling for the safer middling option.

goldilocks 3 bowlsWhy a person of extremes? Born into it perhaps. Molded by a life of extreme events. I crave the adrenaline and excitement and the counterpoint of solitude because I can’t sprint all of the time. But the solitude is often an uneasy break from life and is rarely for pleasure. The ‘safe’ option seems worse though – living in moderation seems to provoke greater anxiety and disquiet than all the terror of being alone.

Spiritual leaders, mental health experts, self-help gurus chant about the importance of ‘balance’ but I don’t know how to be alone only a little. I’m either with you or I’m not. I’m either in the company of others or I’m not. Dividing time equally has been an elusive accomplishment.

Maybe trading a life partner for independence (and possibly a chance at a ‘better’ relationship) is just running on a hamster wheel and whatever I do the chances for moments of joy will be the same depending on my capacity for gratitude.

hamster wheel

Maybe it’s supposed to¬†hurt a lot to be alone. And it’s supposed to hurt a lot to be with others. Maybe that’s a fact of living to accept as the down payment on a chance at those fleeting moments of tender connection and sweet independence.

The real problem could be my low tolerance for the trade offs. An emotional greed for more ups than downs has created a false sense of entitlement.

So here’s a different kind of new year’s cheers –

Here’s to 2015, a year that will be lonely, and difficult, and painful, and fast paced, and exciting, and interconnected, and here’s to acceptance of its peaks and valleys as they are, rather than as I would wish them to be.

peaks and valleys

Why do writers … procrastinate?

writingA fabulous article by Megan McArdle drills down into the psychological warfare writers endure before putting pen to paper. The fear of writing something poorly is one of the biggest reasons we delay, until the fear of producing nothing at all wins out and we finally settle into work.

Steven Furtick says, “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” Guilty as charged.

When I’m struggling with a clunky piece, I’m comparing it with the polished quality of my published works, and with the genius of other completed works. So to help get over my impostor syndrome¬†I’ve been learning to love the dirty process, independent of the quality or accolades that may follow. When I write for the love of the struggle, the fear of whether a piece will be any good becomes secondary.

Of course this struggle with insecurity isn’t unique to writers. I’m curious, how do you deal with procrastination?

my bright

Today is your birthday. You were too young to leave. And I’m not sure where you went. Or if I’ll see you there, but…

my bright

today is your birthday. A time for celebration and thanks. You are my inspiration to be stronger and laugh harder. You shift the shadows.

Thank you, my bright.