Loneliness is the most terrible poverty. ~Mother Teresa
Loneliness is the first thing which God’s eye named, not good. ~ John Milton
The next chapter in The Christian Girl’s Guide to Divorce is all about Paris. Don’t worry. We’ll get there. For the moment, I am choosing to reflect upon the present.
Hey, this is a blog. It’s my story, and I can do what I want, including time travel.
The past two weeks have been harrowing. Mind-numbingly difficult. I have struggled with wicked emotions, fear, grief, and, mostly, loneliness.
At first, I was quick to blame my emotions on a new birth control pill. After four days of nonstop crying for no (and every) reason, I decided that it was pointless to ingest birth control when I have not even the prospect of accidentally getting pregnant in the first place.
I felt a little better.
But the crying kept on.
Monday morning, I showed up at my therapist’s office with my eyes practically swollen shut from sobbing myself to sleep the night before. I was frustrated. Hadn’t I moved past this phase? It was embarrassing.
“You’re depressed, Leslie,” she offered, gently, yet matter-of-factly.
What the hell? No way. Nope. Not me. I am not depressed. Depression is for sad, lonely, crazy people. I am happy. I am hopeful. I am excited about life. I have first-world problems, like, how do I negotiate the book deal I was recently offered (!!!), which screenwriter’s pitch do I accept to make a movie based on my blog (!!!), and which week in May is better to travel to Paris and the south of France?
As I clutched my coffee cup and talked about the reasons why I had been so sad lately, it all started to make sense. I think.
My mind drifted to the brief relationship that I recently ended, and the sweet, dynamic, amazing times we shared together. It baffles me how wonderful relationships can be in the beginning, in that “infatuation” stage. And when things start to crumble a bit and then it all comes crashing down on you, you can’t even begin to deal with thinking about couples. Romance is off the table. Other people’s happiness is, all of a sudden, an encroachment upon your personal space. It magnifies your pain.
I have spent so much time working through and healing from the pain of my broken marriage. I did not expect this broken dating relationship to hurt almost as equally.
Perhaps it was because it was my first experience post-divorce? Perhaps I am ultra-sensitive? Perhaps it was my first attempt at doing things differently? Dating the “right” type of person? Perhaps it’s because I allowed myself to be open and vulnerable again, and freely fall in love with someone? Perhaps.
Maybe it’s too soon, maybe I can’t be in any relationship.
I still miss him, even despite the things that didn’t feel — or maybe weren’t at all — right.
And, of course, everyone has an answer.
People Who Offer Free, Bad/Annoying Advice: “You were married a long time, and now you’re divorced. You have a long road ahead of you. It could be years before you meet the right person.”
Smug Marrieds: “I seriously couldn’t date these days. I don’t know how you do it. But don’t worry! You’re going to meet the most amaaaazing guy.”
Tired Marrieds: “I am so living vicariously through you. Take. Your. Time. There are plenty of good men out there. Enjoy being single.”
Divorced People with Kids: “Be glad you don’t have kids. You’re free! You can go anywhere; do anything you want.”
Other Divorced People with Kids: “God, if I didn’t have my kids, I don’t know what I’d do.”
Pregnant People: “You have plenty of time to have a baby. You can have a baby into your 40’s!”
Recently Met the Love of their Life: “I had totally given up. I lost faith that it would ever happen, and, wham! When I wasn’t looking, he just fell into my lap. I’m sooooo happy.”
Single Person Who is in Denial: “I’m so happy right now. I really am happy being single.”
Single Person Who has Given Up: “I believe in love, just not for myself. It’s never going to happen for me.”
I seriously want to strangle all of you.
Of course, re-living the experience of my broken marriage in such a public forum does not mask any sort of growing pains that I have experienced. I am proud of “putting myself out there” after such a long time. I’m doing a pretty damn good job navigating this new life, as a Single.
What is more, I haven’t lost faith in God, or even men.
I don’t even know the point of this blog post. I don’t know why I have felt so paralyzed over the past week, not having had any motivation to write, or move forward, past this phase of loneliness. The crying has subsided for now, but the ache and hollow in my chest still threatens to well up and spill out.
It’s Palm Sunday, and it’s a beautiful, glorious, sunny, clear day. I’m sitting a block away from the ocean, in a coffee shop. I have been writing for about two hours. I daresay it’s just rambling, not writing. In 41 minutes, my computer battery will die, and I will walk back to my car, alone. I will drive home, alone. And I will sit for the remainder of the evening, and try to entertain myself, all by myself.
I’m not unhappy. I’m just lonely.
And in my loneliness, I am most alone.
And, yes, I know that I am not entirely alone. I have Jesus. I’m so grateful for Jesus. But Jesus can’t physically spoon me at night, or hold me the way I so long to be held by a man.
At the same time, I welcome this loneliness. I am choosing to sit in it. I have to endure this part of the journey, and I will, because I know that it’s beautiful. I know, somehow, deep down, that this growing pain of loneliness is going to be so fruitful.
I am a mass of calm and calamity, confusion and strength. I know to not allow my emotions to guide my future. I have faith in the God of the Universe that, in addition to many other dreams, He is leading me to that one man who will love me for who I am, exactly as I am. Broken, imperfect, divorced, potty-mouthed, frighteningly honest. That’s me.
Until then, I will wait.