I received a question the other day from one of my YouTube viewers; they asked "How did you deal with the loneliness at first? How do you become ok being alone?" This question prompted by my video, Recovery from Love Addiction. This is probably the most exquisite question I have gotten so far. The answer can sum up recovery (of any kind really) and I am thrilled to make the video in response and I am even more excited about the direction this question gave me. But this isn't the best and most professional response. This will be my personal, rawest and most real response that I will merely reference in my upcoming video. I can give a general response for everyone but if you are curious how I became comfortable alone this is it...
To begin, let's be clear that there is a vast difference between being alone and lonely. I have never felt more alone than when I'm with people. I grew up believing that there must be, at the very least, one person that I wouldn't feel lonely with so I began to become attached to the idea of what that person would feel like when I was with them. I had absolutely NO frame of reference, this was all fantasy and that was my undoing. I got caught up in relationships that were toxic and abusive and my behavior spiraled to the point of being suicidal.
You see, in my world, loneliness was only felt in relationships, not out of them. I felt loneliest lying next to anyone who controlled me, betrayed me, punished me, ignored me, loathed me, demanded of me, and on and on and on. The space between us was palpable but being touched was worse, it was as though each touch was meant to take something from me, to use, to consume, to alter, to mutilate. Even when I found my refuge, when I had the opportunity to share a bed with a man who truly knew me and cared for me deeply, who was my safe space from my nightmares, I remained lonely because it still wasn't love, not the kind of love that is secure in a way I needed most.
But in my lover's eyes I would see my bruises reflected as well as the girl that was still trapped inside. I discovered myself, my power, my truest beauty, my womanhood again and eventually I had to say 'goodbye' to the mirror I loved, this mirror who had saved my life as I also said 'goodbye' to the lie that had brought me there.
Loneliness then became losing everything. There is no greater hell then losing the ability to see your child on a regular basis. There is no greater emptiness. And no other kind of love can fill that void. When I first lost my home I stayed with a close friend who opened up her home and sometimes would fall asleep talking with me. This was the least lonely I ever felt, sharing a bed with a close female friend that was willing to simply be present. My screams would wake her though. For those few nights someone else heard my screams, I wasn't alone and I didn't feel lonely.
That's the thing about having deep scars from the past. You spend years doing the physical, spiritual and psychological work on yourself, healing trauma, PTSD, and anything that may have brought you to the choices you had made in romantic partners (addiction, avoidance, past abuse, codependence, etc.) but that doesn't take away the many more years locked away. The mind has an interesting way of deciding when it's time to heal something. One thing dating has taught me is that no one can hear you scream anymore - no one except you. You will still wake up to the sounds of your own screams. You will hear your voice screaming in your dreams. The sound of your screaming comes and goes but no one else can hear you... not really.
You can look at someone else, try to explain it and only feel more lonely when their empty eyes look at you with confusion or their cold responses leave you feeling as though you cut yourself wide open just to fall to your knees bleeding alone all over again while they just watch you, with no compassion or worse yet, complete disinterest.
To me, loneliness is the emptiness you feel when an expectation is not met. So, if I expected a fairy tale, I was lonely every moment I was with someone that didn't give that to me. As I matured, healed, became educated, loneliness has become the expectation of a shred of compassion when a relationship comes to the point of needing to share more about my past and receiving nothing. Not feeling lonely has become loving who I am, accepting myself, forgiving myself, being compassionate with myself and surrounding myself with only those who treat themselves the same way. And most of all, just loving people as they are while loving myself enough to honor my own boundaries.
Spiritualists will tell you that expectations break your heart, not people. I'm here to tell you that there is nothing wrong with expecting compassion when you open up about something painful with the goal of being closer to a partner, connecting on a more intimate level and being able to release something that is ready to move from your psyche and your spirit. This also is in line with the Buddhist teaching of romantic love so when we talk about expectations, let's be clear on what expectations are reasonable and realistic and which ones may be exaggerated. That's all another topic for another day.
Image Credit: GoodVibes Photography
This is an important time to set an intention for the next lunar year. This New Moon is in Aries and the sun is in Aries as well. My sun sign is Aries and although it isn't the strongest influence in my chart I embrace the inner child. Aries is the first sign of the zodiac, related to the root chakra, foundations, renewal, rebirth and hope. Since the moon is new, beginning a new lunar cycle for the year and is in the sign that represents new beginnings there is no better time than now to get serious about what direction you want your life to go in for the rest of the year.
Aries is always playful though so look at your hopes and dreams with childlike wonder. Like a child, hold on to the belief that anything you imagine can happen. Resist the inner critic, the "logical" grown-up inside you that tries to protect you from being hurt by crushing your dreams before they even have a chance to be planted. Trust that with the right amount of faith, intention and determination you can make your dreams your reality.
When setting your intention remember that before taking any type of action make absolutely sure you are certain. Trust your instincts, be patient (Aries influence is a 'dive in head first without thinking things through' influence), embrace new ideas, have faith and lots of courage. Heal your heart, your relationships and your preconceived notions around relationships of all kinds (Venus retrograde is already forcing this right now). Then you will clearly see and feel what it is you truly want.
It's best to write your intentions down and check in with your progress throughout the 28 day lunar cycle. For now, notice any old belief, habit or pattern that has held you back or kept you in a state of fear. Without judgement release it and create a powerful intention from there. What can you be more open to?
It's International Woman's Day and, like most days that are celebrated, I am filled with mixed feelings about it all. I just can't help but see first the things that make us most alike and can connect us; then I see the differences. Maybe it's the naive child that lives on in me. But to appease the woman I have become and the trials I have gone through, largely because of my gender, I thought it would be a sort of purification ritual as well as a celebration of my womanhood as I feel myself transition into the archetypal crone.
For me being a woman started out as a dream of being a wife that would stay home all day and cook and maintain the household of my husband. Life decided I needed to start working at a young age and I fell in love more with working than I ever imagined I could a man. My dreams grew bigger, my heart exploded every day as I fell in love with my work, learning how to be better everyday and becoming hopelessly devoted to caring for patients. The fun I had was confusing to some, even me but I was in love. My career was my first love when I got married and my womanhood was challenged as I let my younger self down as a wife and mother.
Being a woman began to mean that I could have it all but only at the fears, insecurities and disappointment of those I loved the most and eventually me as well. Being a woman meant being incredibly creative with learning how to navigate my sanity in the vast sea of disappointment. As my heart grew more and more broken being a woman began to mean that I had to learn how to put myself back together again and love with all of the broken pieces of my heart at the same time.
For years, being a woman meant being punished for being sure of who I was and wanting nothing but to love people and how confusing that was to others. Being a woman, I later realized, meant that when you step in to your true power it can make the insecure forcefully pleasant or violent and the self-assured simply proud for you. Being a woman who wants secular success as well as success in love is selfish. Being a woman means you will be challenged to compromise your integrity, values, morals and even health almost daily for the sake of the male ego.
Then one day, being a woman meant having a choice. Being a woman meant having a choice in how much I allowed pain and suffering into my life. Being a woman meant I was sensual and in love with every savory aspect of living and I could be a sexual being without needing to have sex. Being a woman meant that I didn't need to experience the act of sex to feel empowered, valued and loved. Being a woman means that you can easily confuse a man with this ability and how they respond to their confusion tells you everything you need to know about them.
Being a woman has given me the opportunity to explore my creativity from writing to photography and countless things in between as I learn to appreciate the wisdom my choices (and lack thereof) had brought me. Being a woman means that I may have to work harder to prove myself and to be taken seriously but once I do it gives me a greater sense of pride than any appreciation, commendation or opportunity that is casually handed to me would.
Being a woman has taught me that with age you can grow in deeper love or deeper bitterness and that we can choose love. Being a woman means I have a greater responsibility to use my feminine energy to nurture and compassionately care for those who are in pain because it's part of who I am.
Being a woman showed me the honor and privilege of falling in love with a little human before anyone else could. Being a woman means I knew motherhood and a bond that lasts forever. Being a woman has filled me with pride whenever I feel my nurturing side co-existing with my creative and productive side.
On the topic of letting go a male friend once told me that he believes women have to experience this lesson more often and on a deeper level than men ever could. What an insightful and beautiful truth! Something about the way he expressed it made me feel connected in a deeper and more meaningful way to all the other women that have ever existed. Being a woman teaches us the literal and figurative way to cut cords and the pain we go through each time.
The biggest lesson I have learned as a woman is that if it wasn't such a profound and insurmountable gift then womanhood wouldn't even be a topic of conversation. It would just 'be'. We would embrace womanhood in all it's differences from manhood. Being a woman means we get to define beauty from the inside out... in all its forms.
Womanhood is a delicate gift but society has a way of telling us that manhood and all of its ways are all that can be heard, respected and appreciated so women try to learn the language of men. Women become louder, more creative, more clever, more successful only so that we can feel more comfortable being ourselves. Being a woman means making a conscious choice to be uncomfortable almost every single day in order to hopefully feel comfortable in our workplace, home, on the street, or anywhere in public. Being a woman means being as uncomfortable as possible for our daughters, our nieces, and all the little girls that don't quite know the battle they were born into. Being a woman means that we are meant to bring the world together, not tear it further apart.
When women step into their true feminine power they become a powerful and compassionate force that will help us learn to work together, cooperatively.
What does being a woman mean to the other women reading? Message me or comment!
Nothing like a professional photoshoot to help you embrace who you are and who you are becoming in all of our sensual elegance. Visit my friend Kim's site if you're in the Phoenix area! Good Vibes Photography
Micah's confessions and lessons that have helped with self-forgiveness, healing and acceptance.