I thought I was going to sleep, but the ocean in my head had different ideas and next thing I knew, I was swimming in crashing waves and coughing the thoughts out. I process myself best in picture/word combos, so here are the words I feel and some pictures I’ve taken over the years that resonate with the feeling.
I’ve never been single for any length of period in my whole life. My patten has always been relationship-breakup-heartbreak-relationship. Not even rebounds, just finding someone I could love as soon as my heart scabbed over from the loss before. I never had any desire or want to be single. Admittedly, my favorite part of being in a relationship is figuring out those little ways I can cause light to fill my Love’s face. I love being the one to make someone else’s life better in some measure. But recently, I went through a breakup that left me perplexed. I found that I didn’t want anybody else, but I also knew that where we were headed wasn’t the right way to go (or at least, we took a few wrong turns and the directions needed to be relearned.)
I started spending 90% of my time alone. At first, it was unintentional. Wanting to not break down publicly or “talk about it”, or worse of all, be hit on and have to turn someone down with no excuse at all, besides “I just don’t want to.”, I started going everywhere with my headphones on. Sometimes I wouldn’t even play music, but I would pretend, and even if I heard someone call my name, I would continue on as if I hadn’t heard them. Eventually it became habit. I went hiking. A lot. Hours every day, spent exploring paths alone and figuring how far I could go, both physically and in my own growth.
I found, surprisingly, that I supremely enjoyed my own company. I always laughed at my own jokes, and was content to sit in comfortable silence with myself, no obligation to fill silence for the comfort of someone else. I liked my commentary on things. Somewhere along the way, I became someone I actually liked. What a realization, coming from a girl who used to specialize in self-loathing.
As the days wear on, I have my ups and downs. Some days I feel invincible, that I could do anything, and other times it’s as if I don’t exist to anyone at all, not really. Invisible. What a difference a few letters makes. I’m determined to learn from this season, and be grateful for the bright spots, but somethings make it really hard for me to be single.
I never can get used to sleeping alone. When I was a kid, I always preferred the couch to my bed because I could turn on the TV and fill the room with people who didn’t worry themselves with the monsters inside my head and helped me distract myself from them, too. I still do that, allowing the characters to keep me company while I drift to dreams, but now it has the added benefit of the back of the couch doubling as a substitute for a warm body. I can just back right up against it and smother myself with blankets and if I really pretend hard enough, I picture myself not alone in bed.
Lacking a significant other to occupy the attention of my hands, I find myself touching people in inappropriately intimate ways, not sexually, but emotionally. Touching shoulders and cheeks, brushing hair back from faces of people I barely know and maintaining eye contact for a little too long, searching for the connection that my life is so missing. I wake up stroking my own arm with my fingers, gliding back and forth and causing goosebumps to appear quickly and then go back as if they were ashamed to have been evoked by a ghost. I miss the feel of human skin on my face and I satiate this by doing strange things like eating dried apples, biting all the Way through and getting some sort of pleasure from the texture.
I feel like a have a million different facets and I have to tend to all of them.
I feel at once alone, And completely whole.
You know how there are people eat bubble gum, but rush through the sugary start, chewing frantically so it gets the right consistency to blow bubbles, but as soon as that happens, the realize they miss the flavor? I don’t want to miss the sweetness of being with myself to rashly get the part where I feel outwardly useful and flashy.
I’m not ready yet to swell up, expand, and explode, but when I am, trust me, you’ll know.