Loneliness, Self-Care and Forgiveness.

I don’t like what I wrote earlier. It feels like I’m complaining and I don’t like feeling that way. I wish I could efficiently write about my loneliness without sounding needy. I have been able to do that in the past, but not so much now. I wonder if it’s because the loneliness has become more immediate, more grounded, tied to the dirt of life as apposed to previous times in my life.

In an earlier stage of life, I could easily escape my loneliness with selfish things. Not that those modes of escape were negative in any way, just different. I could travel, go out and socialize at the drop of a hat, or stay in and read without any distractions and enough energy to keep me awake past the fifth page of any given book.

Now, I have to relegate my loneliness to certain blocks of time. My loneliness is the victim of the assembly-line day.

I can’t stop everything and just feel. Well, I suppose I could but that would make me a bad mother and cause more problems than it’s worth.

Now, I can’t think or feel until the baby is put down, the dishes are done, the house is picked up and the dogs are fed. And even after all of this is accomplished, I may want to simply tune out and watch whatever is on Netflix, or paint my nails, or take a shower.

For a writer, this can be difficult, because the more the reflection and thought-roaming is put off, the more pressure builds and builds, until one day you’re looking at your computer screen at the office and tears start to appear in your eyes for no good reason.

I have been trying to focus on staying off the screen as much as possible outside of work, where I am forced to be in front of the screen. It’s easy to shut off at the end of the day and click random video posts from clickbait or whatever website that churns out mindless, time-wasting content. However, the less I am in the present–in what little time I get to be alone with my thoughts in the present–the more the suppression builds and builds and the less I am in tune with my inner-workings.

I am trying, also, to remember my dreams. The mind does not shut off during sleep and there have been many opportunities presented to me in the past to take notice of my dreams and understand what they may be trying to tell me. I want to be efficient again at staying in touch.

So, what is this sadness/loneliness really about? If I take an honest look, it may have more to do with feeling separated from myself, from lack of self-care, from missing out on quality time to sort through the complicated emotions that are sure to be alive in me after the past year I have had.

My daughter turned one years old yesterday. It was an emotional, fun-filled day. I am so proud of my ex and I that we were able to have a lovely party for her, together. But I did have a head-butting-againt-the-wall moment when, pulled into a long conversation about the safety of our child in his care, it turned into our marriage. Our history. I think, for the last time, I tried to get him to understand where I was coming from. I don’t think he got it. And that’s fair. But so frustrating. He did, however, reiterate to me how I made him feel two inches tall, all the time, every day. How my anger toward him rose and had no where to spill over. Anger over what? I asked him. Where do you think that anger came from? The fact that you never told me the truth. Never trusted me enough to be real with me. I was the invisible wife.

Every relationship is a two-way street. I understand that I could have been more loving. But where I take a break and stop myself from bashing myself against the guilt wall is when I remind myself of this simple, and honest, fact. I did not feel safe. I wanted and I pretended and we created an illusion of safety, but where there is no honesty, there is no safety.

I hope that wherever I find myself in the future, I will give myself permission to feel safe, or leave.

I guess, in the end, I did.

Where forgiveness comes in is where I hope and pray for his sake and my daughters sake that he can one day find someone who he, in turn, feels safe to share the real person with. I can only forgive someone to the extent that I want to be forgiven, and I can only wish upon another person the contents for which I wish other people to wish upon me.

And there it is: at least an hour of time where I have given myself the gift of time to write. It feels so good after so long. Twice in one day! A record since graduate school. Congratulations, Shannon. You’re getting there.

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2 Responses to Loneliness, Self-Care and Forgiveness.

  1. I’m so glad you’re writing, Shannon. That you wrote this. And I didn’t think your previous post sounded needy at all, unless you’re talking about an urgent need to express something, which is always a thrill to read.

    Isn’t it tragic how the sometimes-necessary (single motherhood) and the not-so-necessary (the self-imposed work stress of “being a good person”) causes of exhaustion separate us from writing, and thus ourselves? (How else are we supposed to know what we’re supposed to be doing with our lives? How are we supposed to hear what we’re called to do?)

    I too felt detached from myself for a long time, thinking that the external gratification of having a money-making job AND a socially-conscious job would make up for being in tune with my self. It took going on my honeymoon and not having an agenda for two weeks to make me acknowledge that this was never going to lead me to do what I feel called to do, which is to write (like it or not).

    I guess what I’m trying to say is that it can be difficult to tune back in (fuck, it must be when another human life is what is drawing you away!) but writing things like this — and you previous post — is a way back to yourself that’s real, not small, and I am so happy that you’re sharing it.

    This post made me feel less alone in my writerliness. (And also made me miss you real bad!) Keep writing? xo.


  2. randomyriad says:

    There are many ways to be honest. Writing is a way to get a piece of yourself on the outside so you can look at it. If you are able to accept it and yet see another way to look at that aspect of you , and then, are able to express your experience of your own thought process, this an amazing gift. Everybody is full of angles and possibilities. When I write I find it easier to see and learn from the messy process that is my life. Write when you can, take time to think and dream without analyzing too much. In this way you can give your daughter a clearer message about who you are, because you will know better about all your tricky angles.


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