I’ve often asked myself why it seems I can’t manage to be single for any real length of time. Since Joe and I became boyfriend-girlfriend when I was 14, it’s really only been a matter of months of singledom for me in between long monogamous relationships.
Part of it is that I really like people, and men in particular. I am fascinated by aspects of personalities. I love learning people– the things that make them happy or scared or excited, the things they hate and love and can’t live without, their favorite books and foods and colors and songs. People are great. Male people are especially great, with their arms and smiles and dirty jokes, and that way they make my gut pull a little bit when they smile a private smile meant just for me.
And, ok, part of it is that I’m not good at the alone thing. I never have been. When I came into the world, my twin sister was already here, and I had no reason to be alone most of the time. Alone is scary and quiet. Alone means unbidden thoughts in whispers that sound almost real. Alone means no one to help me if I need it. As a kid, my fear of being alone was literal. I wasn’t thinking about being an old maid. I was thinking about being left by myself in a room where some unnamed evil could swoop in on me and no one would ever know. As a teenager and young adult, some of this morphed into a need for love and guaranteed companionship.
I’ve recently found myself alone again. (This blog should probably now be called My Five Exes, but no. It’s too fresh for that.) I expected this new alone to be terrifying, like it had been in the past. I expected the fear. I expected nightmares and anxiety and general falling-apartness. And, yeah, that stuff happens, but it’s not so much about being alone. It turns out I like being alone sometimes. I like the quiet. I like the freedom. I like my space.
I’m ok. You know, mostly.
So maybe this time alone will be comfortable, and I’ll be able to unclench and be me for a while without the expectations of a relationship, and with the freedom to choose what it is that I want for myself.