I am convinced it takes the most independent women to understand the fear of being alone. We fight against it so much and so often that we impose it on ourselves long enough to really feel it in our bellies. It’s like a long sober alcoholic at an AA meeting who still gets up to speak every week. It’s always there, especially when we don’t indulge it. Indulging it is the errant lover we’ve already had too many of, the painful withdrawal in the morning, the relapse with the wine. Getting used to it makes it manageable but not easier. The longer it goes, the longer the clock ticks, the more it feels inevitable, like a character flaw. If only we were like the others, more open, it wouldn’t be like this. If only we were like the others, just enjoying a drink with dinner, it wouldn’t be like this.
A 23 year old who writes beautiful poetry has a poem that goes: “loneliness is a sign that you are in desperate need of yourself” and this felt very true and lovely while walking around Brooklyn eating ice cream from a cone on the way to see some friends with another week left of time off from work. It’s a great vacation idea. It’s the scrappy independence ideal, the romanticized one. It makes a beautiful story.
But it’s really just a story, and cold beds are still cold beds. I am alone with what I do.