It’s the proverbial most wonderful time of the year. I’m inclined to agree, whether due to evidence or brainwashing. This is especially true when I get to be at home in Jamaica, as I am now. Which is why I surprised myself, on my first night home for the holidays, after a lovely evening with family, I went to bed tearfully sad with no immediately obvious reason. All l I knew was that my heart was hurting and my eyes were flooding.
I was so confused by the tears, my inner self even reprimanded me like “you have some nerve to be crying.” My life is so good. As I gathered my emotions and fixed my thoughts on gratefulness, I expected the sadness to dissipate; it didn’t. Instead, the tears continued as I tried to understand how this feeling of dissatisfaction entered by orbit. Then I realized, the pang I was feeling in my heart actually wasn’t a new feeling, but rather an old one that had resurfaced unexpectedly.
Loneliness. To be specific “no sweetheart loneliness.”
You see, I kicked this feeling out of my thoughts and life experiences a while back. Through meaningful friendships, close family ties, lots of travel, pouring my time into charitable causes, cultivating spiritual growth and encouraging other single women to do the same I managed to evict this bitch called loneliness. She stays far from me, I stay far from her. I actually quite enjoy the freedom and independence I am afforded by being single. Nonetheless, loneliness paid me a visit, uninvited, unexpected and really unwelcome, making me cry.
She sat there, heavily on my chest, impairing my ability to fall asleep. So I did what I thought would work best to shoo the nagging thoughts, I prayed put some Hillsong music on and waited to gain some revelation that would appease my soul, or at the very least give me the peace I needed to fall asleep. No such luck, the loneliness persisted. So next I tried distraction, I pulled out the screens (Kindle, Instagram, Netflix, I even checked my work email) but still, couldn’t shake her. Before long it was 3 am, heart still hurting, eyes puffy, still unable to fall asleep, loneliness my company.
A few years ago, when the company of loneliness was more frequent I shared the struggle with friends many of whom empathized and shared their own stories. Knowing others have experienced similar plights doesn’t necessarily bring comfort, but it certainly makes one feel like less alone. Ironically, we are not alone in our loneliness.
This post isn’t ending with encouraging platitudes, but rather a word of knowledge from my experiences and connecting on the topic with others. Loneliness, in whichever form it comes, afflicts all of us. She is cruel and never a welcome guest, causing lament whenever she shows up. She visits us all, sometimes without real cause. She is not to be trusted, her perspective is damaging. That night I wasn’t able to shoo her, she settled in and reminded me that big girls do cry.
I felt compelled to share these feelings because often times from the outside it’s easy to see someone’s life and think “lucky her.” I often get messages of encouragement, especially from women who are inspired by my journey. I love my life, every bit of it. However, I think feelings of loneliness are to be expected as a part of the human condition. This can be especially true for those of us craving romantic love.
“If two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken. (Ecclesiastes 4:11-12)
They often read the bible verse quoted above at weddings. I remember at one such event, after being read by a pastor, my friend commented: “that is the saddest scripture I’ve ever heard.” At the time I laughed, unaffected. It is only now that I get why she had that response. The intensity and frequency that each of experience loneliness is unique, and comes and goes. Even my boo’d up friends, with a different plight than mine, have similar pangs. Until it passes, I’ll chalk it up to cuffing season and I won’t forget no matter how alone I feel out on my little limb, I am really an individual piece of a much bigger picture. I am not alone. You are not alone.
Stay warm friends, Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.