The unbearable lightness of being alone

I woke up late in the morning and ended up going back to sleep for a while which was really good but I did not sleep in a position that was good for my back. I kept intending to put some pillows or blankets under my legs to support me but I was too lazy to arrange things. I’m surprised it is not later than it is as the sun gives the impression from my window that it may be setting soon, but it is not due to set for four hours, and when I walked to the store I noticed someone walking beside me feeling for raindrops. There is no forecast for rain today as far as I can see when I look up the weather and it is much more overcast than the current weather data would have you believe (it is supposed to be ‘partly cloudy’ according to meteorologists but I would say it is cloudy with a chance of sprinkles or perhaps some kind of plant-based balls). I woke up with a motif from a particular song running through my head and I am not quite sure what it means yet but I think I will find out when I listen to this album again, hopefully today, hopefully in just a little while.

Last night I read a few chapters of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory in Spanish. It was fun and I want to keep reading more today. I don’t know why movie adaptations so often change so much of the plot and I think it’s unnecessary but I found myself worrying that if I ever started making movies I might find myself having arguments with people about how you don’t need to change the plots to make books work as movies and I can already feel the resistance from folks who might tell me you do!!! I wonder what authors think about film adaptations changing essential aspects of the plot to make it work as a movie. Is it really necessary to change things in this kind of way to make books work as movies or is it less about what works as art and more about what makes money? I do not know and I don’t necessarily judge these decisions, I often appreciate the choices that are made in filmmaking even when they are not true to the book, I just wonder why it is that so often they are not.

What I am thinking about today is a bit of magic in the book, as I read it in Spanish, that is lost, that talks about this chocolate factory that Charlie walks by twice a day being the biggest torment in his life. Okay, so that’s not the magical part, but in the movie you don’t get quite the sense that Charlie is tormented by this factory. But I like how Charlie really did not know anything at all about the factory until one day he asks Grandpa Joe about it. Grandpa Joe is astounded that Charlie has not heard about the factory and he becomes excited like a little kid as he starts to tell Charlie all about it. These conversations go on every night. Grampa Joe, who is usually so quiet and acts quite old, is so childlike in his excitement about these stories and Charlie is so excited to listen. There is something magical about time with a grandfather transforming a simple question about an ordinary and even tormenting aspect of existence into magic like this and I don’t think the movies really capture that at all.

It reminds me so much about experiences with my grampa, moments when something totally new opened up in my life through him, and this feeling of possibility when I discover something new like that is with me today. It makes me think a whole lot of Lily too. Really it brings so many experiences to mind that I don’t know if I can just choose one. There were so many times when it turned out things were not as they appeared and grampa would talk to me about something magical in the world for hours and we would talk about such things every time we talked and indeed chocolate factories were actually one of those things! I remember when he introduced me to metal detectors and the possibility of finding treasures in the earth, or when he got me interested in morse code and the possibilities of the radio waves and… there were just so many moments that remind me so much of what Charlie experiences in the book, where whole new worlds are opened up to me through exploring a curiosity with grampa and suddenly realizing that entire worlds were out there that I knew nothing about and he, like Lily, introduced me to magic. I think if I were going to do an adaptation of the book I would want to capture somehow that particular kind of magic.

I am excited to read more… and to start listening to more music in Spanish… and it’s like I hold off because I am not ready to open up my heart or something, like there is something I am not ready to feel, and I don’t get it. Certainly my reading skills are so far beyond my oral comprehension skills and this is the most frustrating thing in the world because I don’t really have a safe space to practice these things until I have a safe space to just be with a friend by my side. I know that my life could be so much more in a flow of creativity and yet there is something holding it back, something almost too simple to say, something almost so subtle that I don’t dare imagine that anyone will be able to help me with it at all and I could be like this forever. I want to find a way to put ordinary things that worry me aside, to stop worrying about things that could go terribly wrong to the extent that I let that keep me frozen as far as doing things I want to be doing. I want to create conditions in my life where I feel a safety such that I don’t have to worry about them, and then intend with all my heart and all my might to enter into a different way of living and being, a whole new world, where the creativity and natural curiosity that really wants to flow like a river can simply do that.

Last night I listened to Tara Brach’s latest meditation and the talk she shared from the archives which has a lot to do with heart-armoring and forgiveness and letting go of blame. I think I might want to listen to it again today. Forgiveness is such a strange thing in my life where it is right now because I know I am holding onto a lot of blame but I do not know exactly who I am blaming or why and I think sometimes I am blaming simply as a defense mechanism because I *want* to armor my heart because I have not been ready to feel love. People talk about forgiveness like, oooh, it’s such a wonderful thing, and then when you do your heart opens and you’re free to love, but I’m like, yeah, but maybe that’s precisely why I don’t want to release blame, because that blame is a protective wall that keeps me from letting in what I might not be ready to let in yet! So why not just hold on to reasons to blame so that I don’t have to melt the armor in my heart so I don’t have to feel the love and everything it means and all the responsibility that comes with it? I am not doing that consciously but I know if I release blame in certain ways love can enter my heart a whole lot more and part of me braces like, nope, not ready! If I release blame love is gonna get to me so I might as well keep resenting so I don’t have to feel that (I am still afraid of what is our greatest protection, love, being that which could hurt me) — but I don’t know exactly what I am resenting, what I am blaming, what I am not forgiving. I just feel like if I let go of that the floodgates of love might just overpower me and I’ll sink and drown and die!

Well, maybe what I am blaming most is whatever leads my mother to be in the situation she is in right now and… in that case I know exactly what I am resenting, blaming, and not forgiving, and as long as she is in that situation, how am I ever going to forgive what continues to be a cause of it? As far as what I blame most directly I don’t think I can even begin to think about forgiving right now but there are other places that I can start like forgiving people for telling me that ‘spelling is important’ even though it is so connected to my fears of being misunderstood and unheard in general and… they might put me down and pour salt in my wounds when I am in my most vulnerable place, isolated while the worst is happening to my mother. ‘Spelling is important’. And what if I am told that just when I am incapable of being broken any further? I think in general I am blaming life for the situation she is in and I am blaming everything that seems to be connected in some way to some of my worst and most painful memories around all of this. I feel like if New Culture had not exiled me in such a way and if communities had turned out to be more connected and responsive to abuse and to statements of need so much that I have experienced would not have happened and it is hard for me to untangle what I do not trust from what I do but I know that when I release blame that does not mean that I have to trust anyone that I actually do not trust. There is a sense though that I find it hard to trust anyone because I do not know who might be complicit in all the horrible stuff I have experienced and I feel like I need to place the blame somewhere and besides it’s scary to feel love and if I let go of the blame I would feel it more and I’d be able to let it in more so I might hold onto blame in certain ways just because I don’t want to risk feeling it.

If I am holding onto blame around Sarah’s words to me before camp that summer that could be a good part of why… people are like, if you forgive you can let love in, and I’m like, yeah, but that’s the problem, so why not just keep blaming, because the moment I stop doing that everything I am afraid of could come true! And I am so afraid of wanting what I want, of loving, of just being, of… life! I keep thinking of that little girl, Sydney, at a summer camp in Vermont, who tried so hard to pretend not to like me and then broke down and she couldn’t hide it anymore, and I feel like the way I want to blame Sarah could be kind of like that. Maybe I want her to see what I’m doing but I feel like I am seven. Like, this is a game I’m playing, or something, and it’s also very real and serious and I don’t want everything that hurts to be dismissed because I say it’s a game, but there is a way that I feel like Sydney, like nope, even if I get every sign in the world you’re on my side, I’m just never gonna stop blaming, because then I’d have to admit what I want, then I’d have to admit how close it is, and it’s so much easier to hide, and to keep talking about cows! But I want someone to see me like I am seven, not like I am… older. The only way anyone is going to understand the games I play and find them endearing and not judge me for them is if they really and truly believe I am seven years old.

One of the hardest things in the world is when you’ve gotten so used to the ordinary daily rituals of love and connection, sending each other messages, waking up and having someone to talk to, having someone to do this and that with, to say certain things to that you can’t say to anyone else, to cuddle… and that might be the hardest thing. When you start to get used to having someone to cuddle, and then suddenly you don’t have it anymore, it might take forever before you get used to the idea that this part of your life that was so natural is just gone… and it is even harder when you are so lonely and heartbroken that you can’t find friends to make up for that emptiness in any way at all. You got so used to what life feels like when you are connected like that and the way life feels when you are no longer in that kind of relationship feels… fake, like you’re wasting time, like how did you ever let yourself get so dependent on the way it feels to be in a relationship? You start to get used to it a lot of times after a certain point and then suddenly it’s like you can let the possibility of that kind of connection into your heart again but it’s really hard to even want to do that when every single day you are missing the way it felt to be held by one person in particular. At a certain point, though, it’s like, oh, being alone starts to feel normal again even though you never thought it would, and your identity is finally separated from who you are ‘in a relationship’. As long as your identity is wrapped up in some way in being in a relationship it’s pretty hard open up any space at all to be in a new one!

And… it’s kind of like I went through that roller coaster so many times, wore myself out and never again wanted to feel that sense of being reliant on having someone to cuddle to feel okay, and I started to feel that the only option and the only way to not feel that torment again was to get really used to being alone, to make friends with it, and now, it’s not what I want, but I have in a way gotten more used to being completely alone than I ever, ever thought that I would, to the point where I fear that being separated from my loneliness could be excruciatingly painful. I think of reaching out to a friend and I am afraid of not being able to explain the fear in my heart as my heart opens and I think it’s all too likely that a friend I might reach out to could get the wrong idea, they might think something is wrong with me and distance themselves from me, but it’s just… my heart is so unused to feeling that kind of connection, it’s soooo uncomfortable and messes with my sense of identity, but give me a little while, let me be awkward, and I think my heart will open again. It’s just kind of the mirror opposite of the way it feels when you no longer have anyone to hold or to say sweet things to anymore… eventually not having that starts to feel, if not normal, at least an accepted part of life again, and I have gotten so comfortable with it that anything else feels sooooo bizarre and I don’t know how to explain that bizarreness to anyone so I think they will get the wrong impression if I reach out and there are signs of some kind of overwhelm or anxiety as I am risking letting love in again… it’s like not having that kind of connection and the everyday sense of friends that I can count on and have fun with and grow with in soooo long makes it feel like that kind of connection is now the furthest thing from who I am and who I can be and that is scary and lonely and I don’t want it to be that way but… I need to somehow at the very least state what is real, and figure out how to do the intense processing that it might take to deal with the discomfort of being in connection with others again.

I need to figure out how to be real about what is going on with me so that they don’t run away due to misinterpretations of my awkwardness and strangeness but it’s just that I have been alone for so long that connecting with anyone in a really deep way has come to feel so bizarre and I don’t know what is going to happen when I feel the things that I feel that come with a different way of being. I don’t know how to get support in it but I definitely want something *other* than support from professionals: I need to remember what it feels like to be connected again and to let myself feel all those things without fearing that people are going to run away from me precisely because connection has become so unfamiliar. In a month connecting with the right person it could become familiar again and that’s what I need, something like that, something so simple, that might shift my sense of identity, so I no longer feel like such a fraud at the idea of connecting with anybody at all.

I want support in jumping in the deep end, I think that’s what it’s going to take. If there is a deep end to jump into, I want to jump in the deep end, I just want someone to show me where the deep end is so I can jump into it! Sometimes it’s just so much easier than getting used to the water bit by bit by bit… I know I am nervous and so I give off all the wrong signals and it looks like what I want is precisely what I don’t want but I really do want to jump in the deep end and immerse myself in heart connections. I wish I had help transitioning into a way of being that is not so lonely because the right kind of support could actually be really fun, but it is not easy, especially when you remember how hard it is when you finally let yourself get so comfortable knowing you have a place to share your heart like that and it is then torn away from you and then it feels like it takes years to be okay being alone.

At a certain point being alone has become completely natural to the extent that it feels like being connected just couldn’t be who you actually are and you don’t want to let go of that because it’s like you’ve finally succeeded… but at what? There are certain times when a change needs to happen and the only way it feels like it’s going to happen is to somehow find real, dedicated support to really and truly immerse yourself in a new kind of experience so you forget your old, false, armored senses of identity, and start to live into the creativity and flow of who you are. Support for deep immersion in a way of being that is soooo different than my status quo, that would be nice, and I wish to find that kind of support in a way that thrills me.

I think Valentina is outside of my window feeding the dogs, speaking to them in a lovely Italian accent, calling them signore, and sometimes talking to them in bits of Spanish…

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