The Chill of Isolation

As a child and then as an adult, aloneness was my best friend. The world around me was so terribly unsafe, what other conclusion could I draw? What other form of reprieve could I seek?

When I was about eight, I created a safe play area in my closet. I turned my shelf over to create a stable, flat drawing surface. I completed the space with a small lamp, crayons, paper and a chair. I closed the door to the world and cherished the little environment I had created. I stayed inside so long the heat of the lamp seemed to draw out all the oxygen in the air. I was then forced to open the door and breathe in deeply for a few seconds before I could retreat behind the closed door and continue my isolated journey.

I loved being alone – separated from harm’s way.

When I grew up and had to leave my parents’ home, my institutionalized behaviors followed me. They crept into every area of my life. When I married a control freak, it bothered me but I didn’t fight it, it was what I knew. When he shooed away my few high school friends, I didn’t mind. I knew how to be alone.

When I became a mother, unfortunately, my behaviors remained unchanged. I knew how to cook, clean and run baths but did I know how to bond correctly with my children? I don’t think so.

I loved being alone. Or, did I?

When I divorced that wretched man 19 years later, guess what I did? I ran into addictions of all kinds. Sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. Why? To be alone. Isn’t that what all addictive behaviors are really about? They leave you isolated from those that love you. They keep you preoccupied and away from connection. They leave you in the form of a prison, don’t they?

I’ve emerged from those tombs and left that wasteland behind. Is it easy? Hell no! I’m learning to find refreshment in connecting to others. I have friends that I actually rely on and a husband I admire. I can now spend time with my children and see them. I hear their needs and it hurts. My love for them is so powerful that it makes me weak in the knees. I’m terrified at this new kind of living.

The struggle to stay on the path is real. Difficult are the times when I desire the run. I’m stretching my wings by staying. My flight path is becoming more steady as I rely on the strength of others.

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