“If you’re lonely when you’re alone, you’ve had good company” – Benjamin Brooks-Dutton
This is the articulate observation from an up and coming blog “Life as a widower” penned by the afore-named, which catalogues a journey following the loss of his wife in a freak accident in November 2012.
I find this statement both harrowing and poignant as I face up to the fact that I’ve never had good company. I don’t like to admit it but it’s true. Loneliness has been a constant theme running through my life.
I’m not unhappy about it though. In fact, I love my own company and am a person who loves to go within…and stay there. I’m no retiring wallflower and find myself reasonably popular with a sprinkling of close friends. I’m not short of a social life and my phone does ring with invitations at decent intervals. I was married, have children, now divorced and quite content in my own skin but….there’s something missing.
I’m missing a soul mate of the opposite sex. He passed me by or perhaps I didn’t recognize him when he showed up. I was a closed book, socially awkward and deeply insecure.
I had no idea about beauty so what was reflected back at me in the mirror seemed ordinary. I didn’t excel at anything but I did have somewhat of a wordsmith flair. I loved to write, to paint with words but most of them were for my eyes only.
Loneliness is not a burden if you haven’t known it’s opposite. For me, the opposite of lonely would have been to have memories of a special someone who thought I was the bees knees. To have had a childhood filled with love and laughter would have set me on a better path.
My childhood and adolescence was spent locked away in my bedroom listening to my warring parents. I heard and witnessed things that left indelible marks on my heart and mind. I didn’t know what happiness was and my early role models were sugar coated characters on TV shows.
I believed in love and craved it but, with little experience of the unconditional kind, I never knew how and where to find it. I wrote poetry in despair and found a talent but not an outlet for it.
I’ve not been completely loveless. I have always attracted a good deal of it but in fragments and slivers through friendship and little kindnesses. I’m a giver not a taker so I guess that’s why my love cup doesn’t runneth over.
I embrace loneliness as I do the other sorrows of life. It’s the only way I know how to survive. I’d sooner smile than cry and laugh than scream. My soul’s sensitive and my heart’s brittle. It’s been broken many times (not in the romantic sense) but by life or God showing me that there’s no straight paths.
I’m not lonely but I am alone. I am alone but I don’t feel the emptiness. My own company is the best I’ve known. I’ve been lonely in a crowd but never on my own.
Being alone is not lonely; it's a rich experience if you know how to spend time.