“It’s fine,” is what I always say. I say it probably 25 times a day. I always have. It’s ingrained in my speech pattern, it’s just something I say. A lot. I text it too. And most of the time it is fine. Really it is. But some of the time I startle myself when I stop to take measure of exactly how fine it is.
I have this weird fear and sense of embarrassment attached to being alone. I always have. Even now as I just write that sentence, there are tears. When I read it back I know I’ll cry again. It’s so strange and overwhelming. I had a very well-intentioned friend tell me a few weeks ago that maybe I should stop seeking advice from mediums and Tarot card readers and go see a therapist. Maybe she’s right.
There is a line in an old Indigo Girls song that says, “Oh, the fear I’ve known, that I might reap the praise of strangers and end up on my own.” My 22-year-old self used to listen to that song every afternoon in the car on the way home from work and cry, because those words in particular hit me right in the gut. They still do. Because I know how to be flashy and fun. I know how to be inspiring and funny and exciting and all of the things. This girl can reap the praise of strangers with the best of them. People LOVE me. But would anyone actually ever love ME? I feared then that I would never know real love, because who would ever love this weird, creative freak of a soul behind all that charade?
Being alone is slowly becoming less of a fear for me now. I am SO afraid of it. It makes me feel paralyzed. It makes me feel stupid and unworthy. It’s why I've picked that old habit of crying in the car back up like a champion. It’s why I married a man who was incapable of emotional connection. It’s why I stayed so long in that marriage. It’s why I pretended. Because having the appearance of not being alone was safer. This kind of alone I’m talking about though, I think for all these years I have had it misnamed. It’s not about a man at all; what it’s been about, all this time, is a lack of trust and love for myself.
Trust and love are funny things. As I go through the process of shedding this fear of being alone, I’m learning to love and trust in different ways that I used to. I didn’t love myself for so long, because I lied all the time, every day, to all of the people, and worst of all, to myself. I said, “It’s fine,” but I was terrified. I didn’t do it purposefully or intentionally. I didn’t mean to hurt anyone. I was just so scared. I didn’t believe that I could be alone and be fine.
I know that for all intents and purposes, I am not actually alone. I have my boys, I have my amazing family, I have the most extraordinary people that show me over and over each day that I am so very loved. They allow me safety, they allow me truth, they show me tenderness, they let me be real. They love that weird, creative freak of a soul behind the charade. I will be forever tethered to them with gratitude for that. For loving me, for letting me love them, for teaching me to love myself. We should all be open enough to allow ourselves to teach each other, to trust each other, to love each other, to laugh together. It's so hard and so worth it. Maybe I’ll cry in the car forever, who knows. But I know I am getting closer every day to feeling whole. I am alone, I am loved, I am happy, I finally trust myself. And truly... it’s fine.