Today I woke feeling so alone. I cried as I made myself my morning coffee and as I write this I feel so full of loneliness.I want to name it, to blame it on single parenthood, or on my hormones as I reach for my period app but I know it’s so much greater than that, which makes my tears flow more. As I watch my son grow into a teenager I long for family, for community, for love. I long for weekends off and time alone and to feed people and be fed. I long for this constant exhaustion to lift itself off my chest so I can breathe deeply and I long for it for all of us.
I fear for all the women, who through this loneliness fall into relationship with the wrong me, to fill this hole that should be filled by community, by platonic love, by someone to saying ‘i’m at the supermarket, do you need anything’?, Or ‘I made extra food, can I drop it round’.
I know because when I look back to my worst relationships of my life they were borne from loneliness and longing and from those, both myself and my son are still recovering.
And yet, here I sit, alone, catatonic in my lostness. So far from everything I am longing for, but determined to make a little step towards it.
I know as Christmas approaches many of us feel even more alone. As I hear friends stories of going ‘home’, my lack of this kind of ‘home’ is illuminated, as I decorate my tree the lack of another parent is painfully apparent, and the pressure that just a few more presents will fill this void.
I know so many of you feel this and yet we swallow it down and carry on quietly, alone, because our culture has so deeply conditioned us with toxic individuality that we don’t even have the tools to express our loneliness, and desire for connection for fear of being perceived as weak or being rejected. But by keeping this all quiet we are only perpetuating this aloneness and not allowing anyone the opportunity care for us.. As humans we generally get more joy from the act of giving and kindess than we do from receiving so I love the idea of reframing the idea of asking for help as instead offering someone else the opportunity to help you.
I am re-reading Bell hooks - All about love. In which she talks about the language we use around love and how, if we reframed the idea of being ‘in love’ to a more active language of ‘I am loving’ or ‘i will love’ our society would change dramatically. Which is a very roundabout way of saying, if you have the capacity this festive period (but really in general, but feels like a good time to start) maybe squeeze an extra seat at your dinner table or order some extra cheese in your xmas for your single parent neighbour, because i’;s the small things that remind us that though we may feel deeply lonely. We are not alone.