Sunday, April 17, 2016

On Loneliness

I don't know how to stop thinking.

I know how to wander. I know how to assume things. I know how to settle into the darkness and make a cup of coffee.

But I've never known how to stop the thinking.

I stood in my kitchen not too long ago, chopping an onion, and my eyes began to water; those red onions are always making me tear up. But after I finished and washed my hands and bagged the remaining onion, the tears were still present.

So, not the onion, after all.

And I began to wonder why, on this Sunday where the sun is welcoming and comfortable and filled with the promise of heat not far down the road, why am I crying in my kitchen?

I can't stop thinking.

I think about the week ahead and the laundry that should be getting done on this one day that I've made no plans (and it wasn't even a full day, if you wanna call me on my transparency.) I think about the grass in my back yard and how it looks like I might've planted it blindfolded because it is, literally, three different heights. I think about that journal that hasn't been cracked in a couple days and the way words cut and don't just go away, even when everyone is saying you just need to ignore them. I think about the way the pit of your stomach can feel like it's folding in on itself just to feel a little less like you're the only person in the world who can feel a sense of loneliness so deep that your bones hurt.

And then I think about running and sitting in the darkness and putting my feet up. Because those things I can be rather spectacular at.

Here's the thing. Sometimes my overthinking becomes so suffocating that I can't do anything but write about it. Tonight, it happens here. I don't know that I have any wisdom to tack on to the end of this post -- I don't know that encouragement will leak through the musings I'm laying out tonight for people to skim or read or absorb.

Because, bottom line, guys? I am not qualified to hand out advice. I am much more qualified to recognize someone else in the darkness and pray like hell that my eyes relay the message that they are seen. People recognize their people, right?

Perhaps you're reading this and you are feeling full and cup-runneth-over joy. And, truly, I am undeniably happy for you.

Ironically enough, a lot of things are going incredibly well for me. Like, never would I dream that this is what I would be doing with my life, well. And there are days I cry about the insane grace that has been given me in this part of my story.

But loneliness has become the proverbial backpack I am afraid to leave home without. Some days I slap it on my back and then am able to leave it in the car and forget about it for a while. Other days it weighs me down and feels as if it is pulling on the very marrow of my bones.

Some days it feels like it's sucking some of the sunshine from the center of my soul.

Today, my cartilage feels the loneliness. It feels the weight of friendships that have been lost because an evening of vodka sodas with friends can turn into a bit of a blood bath on a heart that was fractured to begin with.

People draw lines - whether they intend to or not. And I can pretend to play hardball and say "there's no looking back," but I don't have the energy to suggest that it hasn't taken everything within me not to reach out and attempt to mend things that might never have been alive and breathing in the first place.

And I know people say words all the time. But listen, words are my heart beat. They are my love language. And I'm realizing just how many people might not grasp that. And it's okay. But I can't act as if words from people, or the lack of them, won't stay with me long after they might have forgotten they even uttered them.

I'll replay things and think them through with a fine-toothed comb. And eventually I'll shatter them and I will be done. I am learning my patterns as a human in this world. But it felt like I needed to free up some space in my head and in my heart about how the darkness and the loneliness is real and it can be crippling.

It can be crippling and blinding and today it is choking the airways.

I'm not sure where you are. Or where you're reading this from. I don't know what you want or what you have or what you're trying to wash clean from.

But if you know this place - of painful replays and wondering what's to come next - then we are kindred, you and me.

You are seen.

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