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I am at home . . . .

Posted by Dr. D , 03 October 2012 · 396 views

It is a discovery of self.  I suddenly realize that all I have is me and it isn’t enough.  Education, the gung ho military training, personal success, the trials of staying alive . . . . none of it prevents the moment of discovery – I am not self sufficient– I cannot take care of myself – there is not enough substance within me to fill the vacant emptiness of who I am.

Two weeks ago I was in San Francisco.  I had not been there in years and everything came back to me like an old movie.  I walked the streets and the panorama passed in garish wonder.  A man sitting against a brick wall, huddled beneath a blanket, embracing his dog.  He had taken off his shoes as if to remind himself of when he had a bed.  The women advertised themselves on dark corners, music coming softly from an apartment lost in the alps of the city.  Everyone walking in twos.  I moved past the tenements; condos with doormen and gaunt houses pushed against each other like firewood .  They came to me; the scent of the ocean and the complaint of a gull; grilled shrimp at the wharf and the bonsai trees of Chinatown.  I walked as faceless people passed and the night grew dark and heavy.

Why can’t I enjoy something seen through my eyes, registering on my brain?  Everything is measured by “She would have liked that,” or “Imagine that with her.”  Nothing stands alone with merit but falls prey to comparisons that fade its wonder and taunts my aloneness.  The restaurant filled with chatter and the fingered piano somehow invites bedwarm thoughts.  My steps resound against dew moist sidewalks and it is said there is danger there.  Why don’t I care?

There was the insulting instruction of seat belts and rules; just in case someone doesn’t understand to put the metal flap in the handle; high tech at its finest.  The chatter of takeoff and the vibration that settles into the sense of floating over the clouds; the plane has said, okay, one more time.  The overpriced parking lot; pay the red cap a twenty and he’ll give you another ticket for half the price.  Drive home.  Move into the foothills with its lime green leaves of autumn.  Squat adobe houses standing like dominoes. Women smile, kids wave, I am at home.  The lock turns, dogs bark and leap with joy, my suitcase is wheeled inside and I am at home.  The night comes, dogs curl, outside is washed in moonlight and the emptiness settles in.  I am at home.

I have been alone, I have been one-half of a couple, and I have been married (twice). If I have learned anything at all, it is that in those times when I felt the most lonely, I was part of a couple or a marriage. But--ironically, considering the person I may appear to be in the virtual world--I am at heart an introvert. I not only crave--I need--time alone with my own thoughts. It is only when I'm alone that I am able to see the cloud that looks like an angel reaching toward me...the deer whose startled gaze searches my face for signs of impending threat...the dark red leaf on the ground before me, its shape a perfect heart. I recall a day, years past, on which I took a walk in the woods during a snowstorm. I could actually hear the huge, wet snowflakes hitting the branches above me, and the song of the stream as it merrily kissed the rocks in its bed. Aside from my dog, I was alone that day--and it is one of my most cherished memories.

For me (and I don't expect this to apply to everyone, or even to most people), the greatest lesson I have learned in life is to value my own company.
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it is certainly better to be alone than to want to be.  I was married but once and it was the far more than ever I expected.  I guess all things re relative after all.
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I have been alone for most of my adult life, well since I was 16 actually. Relationships came and went, family were evil and absent, colleagues never understood me. My only comfort was my pets, my dog, my faithful friend. Now I'm not alone as I've found my soulmate, but the years of being alone are never a distant memory. I understand what it feels like to have absolutely nobody....and it hurts like hell.

You're not alone, you have us don't forget! Whether you like it or not :P
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I found your words very meaningful, Bling.  It is rare to find someone who truly understands the frustration an futility of aloneness.
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