Alone in the Universe
“Do not feel lonely, the entire universe is inside you.” ― Rumi
Recently I was playing a getting to know you game with a friend and the question about what is my biggest fear came up and my response without hesitation was, “ Being alone forever, I am fearful of experiencing life without someone by my side.”
A few days later as I was triggered back to an old feeling of loneliness I realized that I was wrong. I am more fearful of feeling lonely while sitting, laying next to or living with someone than actually being alone. That is too familiar a place that once broke my soul and spirit.
Loneliness while in someone’s presence who is supposed to give you peace, protection and love feels like you are watching your life as an outsider. You can sit in disbelief wondering what about you is not enough that your existence is inconsequential to that moment and person.
In those moments I recall feeling invisible and my hope of something shifting overwhelming me. I could never find the words to say what I felt, so my body just responded with internal and then eventually, external tears until I would be holding back my sadness from slipping through into a messy cry and breaking down like a sniffling baby.
Not a pretty sight, but that is the level of impact I felt in those moments. For someone who is generally calm, cool and even keeled, that level of emotion is off putting to myself. I felt an unfamiliar incongruence to who I was . This was a weaker, needier version of myself.
Yet, I would still hold onto hope that he would turn around and place his arms around me to just remind me that I was there and not invisible or walk back into the room with an apology recognizing I was hurt. But it never came and instead I settled into the loneliness as the reality I would learn to exist in.
I would cry myself to sleep, wake up the next day with tear crusted eyes and a new perspective of stuffing emotions down until I could no longer feel them and keep chugging along being a mom, wife, professional and all the roles I had to hold regardless of how hurt or sad I was. I felt lonelier by someone’s side than I ever had when I was actually alone.
Whereas being alone is just a matter of circumstance. As Rumi’s quote says in the beginning, what I discovered in the three years of being alone is that although I may have moments of wanting and hoping for a partner or someone to be by my side, I also have the choice not to acquiesce to the role that person is expecting for me to follow as their behaviors and emotions dictate the temperature of the space we share. I have autonomy to determine my own barometer of emotions and energy in the space I create.
The universe is in me. I can create the reality of my world, my life and my dreams alone.
And one day, I will have the person who recognizes the impact of those feelings and needs by my side co-creating the universe we exist within alongside and independently as partners while experiencing life together.