I was born lonely. Sometimes the loneliness gets so bad I sob and rage and stare at my phone wondering if it has died in the night. And I have a lot of friends, know even more people, and have all kinds of others reaching out to me because something I wrote/performed moved them. (Not the creepy’s though, you guys need to quit that shit.) I also have children whom I adore, and yet so many times I do not feel “seen.” (It is not my children’s job to “see” me.) I have to remind myself that even when I was married, I was often chronically lonely. Historically, the presence of others’ has not been enough.
Yet a gigantic shift has occurred. Here is what I now know:
1. Loneliness is not predicated on whether or not you have someone to share shitty chocolates with on the most commercialized, sentimental crapfest since Hallmark hijacked Christmas.
2. If you abandon yourself all year round, it will not matter if you have someone to share that self-abandonment with on that one special day when they bring you a weird smelling, Made In China acrylic bear with a toxic satin heart.
3. Masturbating as an excuse to fantasize about someone who is no longer in your life, who may have been damaging to you, perpetuates the energetic connection with that person that I, for one, wish to sever. I try not to let these people wander into my thought processes as I’m getting off. I’m sure many men have already figured out how to do this, but porn can come with its own set of problems.
This Valentine’s Day, I am showing up and dating the shit out of myself, because I have finally managed to hack into the recesses of my own heart and find a shred of compassion – for others, yes – but more importantly for myself. To WITNESS myself, the way no one else can. To BE with myself as I cry, or laugh, or parent, or love, and not compound the loneliness with incessant self-judgment. To just STAY.
The last person I was in love with had this quality; he had finally learned how to be there for himself, after a lifetime of not, and I wanted that so badly, thinking I could learn it by osmosis. And yet when that relationship stalled, within weeks I started abandoning myself so completely, that I almost died. I am not being metaphorical. There was a note, a plan and a dangerous gesture, because sometimes in depression you lose the power of choice. Thank G-d I’m a fighter and a badass or else something intervened to make me seek drastic help, because I’m still here to torture/help/entertain you/my kids/friends for another day.
Which all puts me in a unique position to tell you something. Listen up, because I am reporting back from the brink. This may seem banal but… the keys to your own heart lie within you. I do not know how you will find them, but I know if you are engaged in searching, then you will. It is a lifelong struggle to know ourselves, to love what we learn, to witness our own true natures, without being predicated on others’ opinions or ability to show up for us. For those of us who did not gain this self-validating skill in childhood, it takes a massive amount of work to find within us the strength to face the loneliness, and go deeper. And I know you will.
If you are lonely on this vapid “holiday” please borrow my certainty as today for some reason, I have it to spare. I am certain that if you keep working diligently on yourself – your trauma, your “demons,” or whatever it is that keeps you from yourself- eventually you will be enough. The darkness may become less interesting to you, as you move toward the light, but more importantly, you will not feel a need to judge what is dark and what is light. You will be your own Valentine, dark and light both, and you will sit in fullness with yourself. Maybe you’ll burn one of those toxic bears (in a well-ventilated area) to protest how hard some of us have to work with our loneliness, instead of fighting it. I got so tired of fighting it; maybe you’re tired too. Happy Valentine’s Day to all the Eleanor Rigby’s. For today at least, don’t let it bury you.