I am alone this holiday.
“The worst loneliness is not to be comfortable with yourself.”
~ Mark Twain
I think it is my first Thanksgiving without friends or family. I have spent Christmas without loved ones before though there were people around. I was in a halfway house in Washington, DC. I remember watching Andy of Mayberry and shedding a few tears. That is all I remember.
This year, I am newly separated. Circumstances in the lives of friends prevented me from being with them.
Yet, this is my favorite holiday.
All this holiday asks is that we share and give thanks.
I shared this morning teaching yoga and I give thanks every day.
So I am alone but I am not lonely. I agree with Mark Twain. The worst loneliness is being uncomfortable with who you are. The worst loneliness is being alone and not being able to be.
For much of my life I was so uncomfortable being in my body. For much of my life I compromised my need on the platter of respect for a little attention. Today, I don’t compromise. Today, I have self-respect. There was a time I did not have any but somewhere along the way I earned the ability to love myself for real—enough to give myself respect and not allow others to treat with me with disrespect.
At one time in my life I lost my sanity as most recognize it—but worse than that was losing self-respect.
We often take things like self-respect for granted. I mean, when I did not have it I did not know it was missing. But somewhere after age 35 I found it and realized what a gift it is.
And this is a gift I give thanks for on days like today.
“To dare to live alone is the rarest courage; since there are many who had rather meet their bitterest enemy in the field, than their own hearts in their closet.”
~ Charles Caleb Colton
I live alone now for the first time in 30 years. The change came quickly and it was unexpected.
I looked at rooming houses and group houses. I looked to moving back to the city. But we had five cats and I wanted to bring two with me. And I did not want to live with strangers. I moved further out of town to Frederick, a smaller town and less suburban, into a one bedroom with a den for yoga and, I have two of my kitties, endless joy.
I have had to look into my heart after this summer. I have shed many tears. Every day I remain grateful that my ex and are friends, that my dad is alive and well, that I have friends, that I live my life doing what I love and that I manage to pay the bills somehow.
I bought a turkey breast from Trader Joe’s, I made dressing, mashed potatoes and coriander bread in a bread machine and microwaved some squash and spinach. I ate with my television which some may think not a good thing but honestly, it does not bother me. I enjoyed my dinner. One of my kitties kept me company and helped with the turkey and gravy.
The sink is full. My tummy is full. My heart is full. I am alone. But I am not alone. I am no more alone than the next person. And to feel alone when someone you love is right in front of you hurts more than being alone, alone.
And I have friends. I have family. I had enough resources to celebrate Thanksgiving and have a few more days of turkey and dressing in the fridge.
I count my blessings. I cry a lot these days but letting go needs my tears, demands them. But I am not lonely. I am not afraid of looking into my heart, even when looking these days makes me wonder what was missing for me to be where I am. And maybe nothing, maybe many things, maybe I’ll never know.
I do know change though. And gratitude goes with me every step of the way.
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Editor: Bryonie Wise