Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Solitude is a process...

For over 2 years now, I have lived alone. Well as alone as a person with 3 dogs and 2 cats can be!

But alone as in "no other human shares my space". And it is OK. Actually more than OK.
It is peaceful.

Growing up I never had to share a room as I was the baby of the family and all my siblings were older than me, the oldest were actually married and out of the house by the time I was 5.

It wasn't until college that I had to share space with someone. At times it was great, at times it was horrid. Then one summer I was without a roommate and I had my tiny apartment all to myself. And I loved it. I wasn't afraid to live alone, despite having never truly lived all by myself. There was a freedom that I had never felt. I could do as I pleased, eat what I wanted, stay up all night reading without disturbing anyone. I grew to like it and had a bit of trouble readjusting when once again I took a roommate.

After college I moved to NYC and began the never-ending roommate roulette; sharing small spaces, rooms, apartments, once even a brownstone with 11 other people. Then I got married and started sharing a bed. During that marriage we added cats and dogs and occasional guests and temporary roommates. And there was little solitude in my home.

As the marriage progressed other "things" began to share space in our home. Clutter, mental illness, anger, money troubles, physical illness and grief. The marriage ended and he moved out at my request. I was now without human companions but left with a lot of "stuff".

For awhile I sat amidst the stuff, grieving all that was and was not. I finally started moving and clearing out stuff. I became less sentimental. I realized "things" were not that important to me after all. Especially the things that brought sadness. Discovering his love letters to his high school girlfriend written during a psychotic break while we were married,  reminded me of how broken he was, how broken our marriage was 10 years in, never to be repaired in the following 15 years. Photographs of long dead pets, people and forgotten places proved to be painful in remembering. Mementoes from long ago events, report cards, childish letters, newspaper clippings, drawings, bad teenage angsty poetry collected in boxes and bags, mountains that I have to dig through and let go.
So much stuff... physical and emotional.

There were times I felt lonely but more and more I began to feel peaceful. Shedding layers of the past exposed a new tender and sometimes raw me. I have to be gentle with my newly forming self.
I began to love the quiet. I love coming home to be greeted by animals who were excited to see me, showering me with love.

I do not miss the anxiety of what "mood" I would encounter upon arriving home. I do not miss the disappointment of dashed expectations of a roommate or spouse if I had left dishes in the sink or the bed unmade. I don't miss the anger, the yelling, the distance between two people no longer in a healthy relationship but one that has become toxic and is held together only by a piece of paper and procrastination.

I made an active decision to be alone. And I know it was and is the right decision for me.

I cannot imagine sharing my house with anyone ever again. People have suggested getting a roommate but the idea is hateful to me. I don't want to share this space. It is becoming holy to me. It is my sanctuary, my fortress, my home. Nothing comes in unless I allow it.

I am painting it in colors that I love. I am heading toward minimalism keeping only things that "spark joy".  I am making improvements, stripping away all that I don't truly need. I have a firepit, a tv, an antique bed, red sofas, art work that I chose, things I have long wanted but pushed aside...

Peace and love abide within these walls; and within my soul. I have friends and family a phone call away, dogs and cats within reach, and in my sanctuary I am content and revel in solitude.

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