I’m a nester by nature. I like to bed down in my condo with my Mac on my lap and sip hot chamomile tea while I work on Truly Madly Sassy. And there’s nothing better than watching the boats go in and out of the harbor from my screened in porch on the marina while I sip my morning coffee in one of the tall Adirondack chairs outside. My friends get concerned about me—and often, Suzi drags me out for a bite to eat when I say ‘let’s just order in’ (“how long has been since you’ve been out? Can I talk you into going out for dinner instead?”—it always works). There’s nothing wrong with me really, I just like to nest!
Most of you who have read my blog since the beginning know that I fled my hometown of Tennessee to heal my heart in December of 2016. The plan was to return in mid-April as a good-as-new-woman and continue my studies at a university there that I’ve always wanted to attend (and I had a free ride, just so you know). But as it got closer to the time for me to return, I knew that I never wanted to go back to that place I called home again, so I made plans to stay and didn’t go back until mid-May to pack up my belongings and make a new start.
I craved solitude. Peace and quiet. Stillness. And this place on the coast of North Carolina that I’ve been visiting since I was 8 years old brought me that. It also allowed me the anonymity that my hometown didn’t because as you know, small towns have the reputation of everyone knowing everything about everybody (egads…it’s exhausting!). Here, nobody knows me…nobody knows him…the him-he-used-to-be, I mean. I don’t hear his name all over town, nor do I run into his family unexpectedly. The reminders are diminished. The devastation is a little bit number. And the clean slate is cozily inviting.
(all images in this entry were colored by me)
But it’s also lonely.
I’ve always associated ‘more people’ with ‘more drama’, so I’ve set down very few roots here. I did that on purpose (rest, ya know…), but solitude has come at a very high price: I miss my support system. I miss the familiarity of my mountain surroundings. And if I’m being completely transparent with you, I miss the him-he-used-to-be, but my heart holds out the hope that someday, I won’t.
New beginnings are always hard, but this one has been especially so. I’m fortunate, however, that I had the resources to pack up my life and move hundreds of miles away to fulfill my dream of living by the sea. I had a lot of encouragement and most days, I’m fairly confident that I made the right decision, but there are times when I wonder what the hell I’ve done…
…I’ve made myself vulnerable.
…I’ve left every comfort that I know.
…And I’ve stepped into the unknown in the blindest way possible, but here I am.
Solitude may have come at a great and personal cost, but I’m intact, and if you know me well, you know how inconsolable I was when I parted ways with the man who still has my heart. My friends took shifts, checking on me during what seemed like every minute of every day. If I didn’t answer when they called, they started a phone tree and sent the ones with keys to barge in on me. When I couldn’t sleep, each and every one of them was there at 3am when I couldn’t catch my breath from crying so hard. I had a lot of support when it came to my moving here, and for that, I am so grateful. Even my ex-husband, who hated to see our dog move with me, said “You’re happier there. Go. Go and get away from him so that you can finally heal and be whole again”—now how many people are able to maintain a friendship with their ex-spouse in such a way? Not many…
…I am fortunate.
…I am loved.
…and I am resting in the hope that this too shall pass.
Loneliness is a gift because it forces us to grow whether we want to or not. It also forces us to get comfortable being in our own company (who’d have thunk it?!). You may not be able to pick up your life and move to a brand-new place, but you can always find stillness if you’re determined to look for it. It might be in the middle of an open field bursting with sunflowers, or it may mean getting lost in the wilderness on a nature trail along a river somewhere, but stillness is around every corner we turn. And sometimes, we have to wither in aloneness in order to heal our aching hearts. I don’t know about you or what you’ve been through recently, but I, for one, am tired of aching. Are you tired of aching, too? If the answer is yes, find a way to create the space where you can grieve and heal…
…you are not repeatable.
…you are needed.
…and you make somebody’s world a much better place to exist in.
Til next time, stay sassy!