I feel stagnant, life is going so well. When I make my complaints to my co-worker they kindly advise I try going out and trying new things: “But that’s the problem,” I groan, “I go out too much. I need to stay home.” And so, I commit. This month, I’m spending my evenings at home, especially weekends but definitely weekdays too, tuned into the deafening silence of evenings spent offline, alone, in solitude. What can I learn from this moment? What can my solitude teach me? What is so bad about being alone— not “alone” while on the internet, but alone alone— anyway? What is so bad about my own company?
Part 1. Why? (tired of runnin’)
You ever feel your potential trapped in and wasting away in the midst of getting through and surviving each day? I’m excellent at getting thorough and surviving— I have 28 years of solid experience— and I have become quite comfortable here. I didn’t have much choice in the beginning. I felt somewhere deep in my core, subconsciously and unbeknownst to me then, I deserved more out of life than the world said was available for a girl like me. And so I fought and fought and fought until running away to save my life, escaping here and there, became all that I knew, all that I know. But I’m tired of running. I don’t need to escape anymore. My logical brain understands this but the part of me that protected me all those years is still on edge, still on the lookout for more danger: Uneasy with safety and stillness it wants to keep running away. This is escapism in a nutshell: Pick your poison.
Going out has become my new escape. I know, I know, lucky me. What a blessing to have the means, the reasons, the people to go out and do things with, to enjoy being alive throughly. Thank you, more please. Still, I want to face the fear, that unease I feel with being alone and being present; tolerate stillness. I want to show up to that little girl that protected me all those years, subconsciously and unbeknownst to me, and ask her what she needs now, and what she needed then, to feel safe enough to be present, to remain still, and come back to herself. Tell her that we are safe now, gently remind her the gods guide and protect us like they did all those years— don’t you remember? Tell her I’m the adult I needed then now, we’ve accomplished so much to keep us safe, that I don’t need her fierce protection anymore. We don’t need to escape to feel safe. We don’t need to escape to feel loved and wanted— she is plenty loved and plenty wanted. We all are. We don’t need to escape so we don’t vanish, disappear way, way, way far out in the margins that they curiously study us and call us statistics. But Fuck that “Sorry for your loss” shit.
Instead, I can spend the evening (re)learning what safety feels like in the present moment, in my body, in my mind, in my heart and soul, like back in my childhood, before, before, before everything fell apart. I want to spend time in solitude getting back to the basics, unpacking each baggage from here all the way to back, back there and back then. It’s okay, we can hold space for all of it now; I’m much older, much wiser, much stronger than my wildest dreams. Feelings just want to be felt, right? And I feel the most in moments of quietness, stillness and solitude. I am not afraid anymore. Tell me, what did you need then? What do I need now? All that running away ain’t free anyway. May we heal. And may we live out our wildest dreams.
Part 2. How? (practical tips and tricks)
- Wake up super early: The gods show up at about 6 in the morning— get up early. Anytime past 10:00pm is the devil’s hours— go to bed early. Repeat for 31 days.
- Exhaust myself during the day. Easy–peasy.
- Plan daytime social activities: This was stressing me out until I realized almost every evening activity can be made into a daytime activity by simply planning it for the day time— duh. “Let’s do dinner!” “Can we do lunch instead?” etc.
- Plan at-home, evening activities: Films (Kanopy), books (Finish: The Dry, They Poured Fire on Us From the Sky, Deviced!; Start: Breath, Happyish), journaling, writing, Sudoku, contemplation (where I stare at the ceiling for long stretches of moments), crying— lots and lots of crying; calling people who love me and listen until I exhaust myself.
Part 3. What (if I fail)
Ask: What is this moment (failure) trying to teach me? Pay attention so I don’t miss the lesson(s) when the gods answer. Fail, fail again, fail better. Easy-peasy.
Until next time,
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