I have felt the coldness of being truly alone. The place where you sit and think “If I died right now, nobody would even notice.”
I shut myself out from the world. I was the one who pushed the most innocent of offers to become friends away because I was too afraid to let anyone in. I was fearful they might see what my life was all about. The silence of being alone was deafening, so strong that I couldn't hear the offers of help.
My isolation was purely my choice. I didn't know it at the time. But I know it now. I made the choice to look away when someone gave me a welcoming smile. I put in the effort to avoid human contact because I felt so unworthy of acceptance.
That was just about 16 years ago. That's when I had to make a choice, change or be okay with never knowing what it was like to have someone there to love me, ever.
The steps were little, accepting a smile and trying myself to copy that feeling and pass it on to someone else. Pretend to be someone who understood happiness, and fake it til it feels like it could be true. Risk rejection and call an old friend just to catch up, enjoy it and do it again.
I look back at those little steps, and I walked miles and miles with tiny baby inches. Eventually I started meeting friends and they taught me how to laugh, how to be there for others when they were in need, and most of all that I was worth loving. But I had to accept what they were saying and believe that it could be true.
Sure, I had some fall backs. Not every relationship – romantic, friendly, family, work, ect. will work out. But even though I was a bit fearful of starting over each time, I am so glad that I did.
Life is what you make of it. You can hide away from the world, your nose in a book, dreaming of the perfect place. Or you can get yourself out there, make the perfect place out of what you've got.
Recently I've been going through some personal drama that I really needed to be able to vent about, seek guidance, and really just be able to cry and feel the warmth of comfort from my friends and family. I realized that when I actually open up and let people in, they aren't judging my failures or looking for a reason to hurt me. Instead I have had wonderful conversations with other people who have also gone through the same things or something close that I am going through. Their hurt comes through in their words and I get the chance to comfort them as well.
A few days ago I was really afraid of admitting to my friends and family about the frustrations and issues I am working with surrounding a family member. My husband just put it out there when he said that my friends don't want me to pull away and hide the bad parts of my life and only show them the good. They want to know I am just as real as they are and give them a chance to be there for me too.
Today I got a sweet note from a friend I don't talk to as often as I should. She's gone through hell in the last few years and lost both of her parents tragically. She said she knew what I was going through and it was going to be hard, but she understood. I sat here for a few minutes just looking at the note and feeling so thankful for that sweetness.
No, people can't take away your pain. You have to want to let go of it. But there is something truly wonderful about standing in the middle when you are hurting and feeling the circle of comfort that radiates towards you when you need support from your friends. I am truly thankful that I know what being alone feels like so I can use that dark place as a reference as to why I need to keep pushing harder to overcome being an introvert, and reach out to other people.
So, thank you to all of you who have been so sweet and kind during this really difficult time. Your words do mean a lot and I am very thankful for the warmth of your energy and love as it is truly felt.