“Loneliness is the human condition. Cultivate it. The way it tunnels into you allows your soul room to grow. Never expect to outgrow loneliness. Never hope to find people who will understand you, someone to fill that space. An intelligent, sensitive person is the exception, the very great exception. If you expect to find people who will understand you, you will grow murderous with disappointment. The best you’ll ever do is to understand yourself, know what it is that you want, and not let the cattle stand in your way.” Janet Fitch, White Oleander
I don’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t feel lonliness, no matter how many people I surrounded myself with. I think I spent my entire life trying to let others know me, hoping, and getting disappointed. Taking risks and letting others in, always open to the possibility of making a match, whether in an intimate companionship or friendship. That process is painstaking; it takes such risk and I was burned, again and again. Continuously let down or left wondering what I did wrong. Many times coming to the realization that it would never be what I’d hoped it to be.
While I have found many meaningful relationships in my life and I have loved openly and deeply, I was often times left wondering if others would ever truly be able to understand me. After a while, especially when I gained weight, I just stopped trying so hard. I didn’t retreat, so to say, but I just let things be as they were. I made very few connections. There came a time when I understood it was me I needed to work on and I knew that would be a very long process.
It’s taken so many years to understand that I’d been operating with unrealistic expectations. I expected a level of understanding that was unfair to expect of others. I was looking outside myself hoping others could fill this void I felt. I was looking for exceptions. I was so fortunate to find M, my intelligent and sensitive soul mate, but how could I ever expect any others to know me if I didn’t know myself?
This journey has allowed me the time to heal, to blossom and feel a freedom I didn’t know I could feel. I’ve begun to feel a comfort within myself, an acceptance of my openness – emotionally, spiritually, and sensorily. I’m embracing this fierce and lonely need I have to continually grow and evolve, this process that fills my void. I have the love of a devoted man who supports me, a man who honors and respects me, who understands and accepts my whole person. I spend all my days doing the very same for him. And this openness has lead me to more exceptions, to beautiful, loving, accepting friends who understand and support me. Even when I’m alone, I’m not lonely.
What more could I ask for?