I am home alone this week as my husband is on a business meeting in Oxford. To tell you the truth I hate being alone. I enjoy my own personal space and alone time, but not at night. My mind races and my imagination goes bonkers. I hear and see things. Ever since I was a little girl I have had a hard time with the dark and I always thought I would grow out of it. Well, I almost have. I have faith that one day I will stop letting my imagination get the best of me, but on the other hand it is that imagination that lets me write and act and do the things I truly love. So go figure.
Last night as I was on my way up the stairs home after a great session at the gym, I bumped into a neighbour who is a dear friend who let me know he was going for drinks with some friends. “There will be live jazz” he told me. I hesitated and he assumed I wouldn’t go. So did I, to be honest. But when I got home I realized that this slump I find myself in will only improve if I am pro-active. “You are going out!” I said to myself in the mirror. I gulped down some leftover quinoa and jumped in the shower.
Entering the bar was an experience. My friend hadn’t answered his phone so I wondered if they were in fact in this bar. I walked down the side of the bar and people looked at me curiously. Several men asked me to come join their table, which I found quite flattering. Then finally I found my friends and I sat down to a delicious cucumber martini. The music in the background gently painted a soothing backdrop of encouraging notes that got our conversation going. We covered all sorts of ground from relationships, to films, to politics. It was swell. True chicken soup for the soul.
One of the topics we talked about brushed upon how insecure we all are as human beings, especially when we are in a relationship. Of course there are varying degrees of these insecurities and varying degrees of how you deal with them. I am ridiculously insecure, rather destructively so. Every year I vow to get better though and I do intend to love myself more and more, no matter how ridiculously corny that sounds. Sometimes when you talk to others about how they have fought with partners you find yourself realizing, it isn’t just you. I have heard stories of throwing things like shoes or paintings, of shouting and screaming whilst pounding fists against the wall, of intentionally adding too much salt to the food, of getting out of the car in the middle of the highway and hitchhiking home. Oh, let me tell you I have heard of, and been instrumental in all sorts of fights. And I have also heard of all sorts of make-ups to. We all fight, we all react in ways that make us ashamed at times. It’s what we do afterwards that counts. It’s how we pick up the pieces and move forward. It’s the intentions we have to do better and be better. Accepting when I instigate an argument, or when I wrongfully blow something out of proportion isn’t easy. But I am learning and as my husband says, it always takes two.
At the end of the day we are social creatures who don’t like to be alone. We need acknowledgement, empathy and love from people around us. Nevertheless, we have to love ourselves too. Something I think we often dismiss as silly. Something we don’t really dedicate that much time to (hopefully, if you dedicate too much time to it – find a balance for goodness sake.) Is that why I am scared to be alone I wonder? Because I don’t love myself? Nah.
As I am attempting to find things that make me happy these days, I just remembered a quote from Elizabeth Gilbert’s fantastic book, “Eat, Pray, Love” which I had forgotten and will surely make me feel far less alone and afraid at night. She explains that the Balinese believe that when we are accompanied at birth by four invisible brothers, who protect us through our lives. “The brothers inhabit the four virtues a person needs in order to be safe and happy in life: intelligence, friendship, strength and …poetry. The brothers can be called upon in any critical situation for rescue and assistance”. She then goes on to tell how she has had nightmares since she was little of a man with a knife next to her bed. Similarly I have always dreamt of a man in my room watching me. The medicine man tells her that this man is just one of her four brothers who is there to guard her while she sleeps.
Funny how when you turn something to the positive we just become happier. I am off to bed knowing that I am protected and loved – and I say a prayer and send love to all those out there who feel a lack of protection and no love. It’s true what they say, happiness comes with being content and appreciative. But I won’t delve into the meaning of happiness today. Goodnight Moon and cow jumping over the moon. Goodnight and may you all take a moment to realize how swell you are. You truly are.