An unwelcome emotion

5 Apr

Putting in a full day at the office this past Saturday, I got back to my apartment and for the first time in a very long time, I had absolutely no idea what to do with myself.  My eyes welled with tears as I stood in the middle of my bedroom, looking around hopelessly for the distraction that would take whatever this feeling was away.  I frantically started a mental checklist of my options: make dinner; watch a movie; go back to work; read; write; watch TV; go grocery shopping; call someone; go for a run.  Suddenly the temperature in my room spiked.  I felt dizzy, my vision blurred, I was suffocating on stale air.  Before I could even recognize the symptoms, I was in the midst of a panic attack.

In all honestly, I knew it was only a matter of time before this happened.  I had avoided any acknowledgement of this recently experienced, and quite unwelcome, emotion but I knew it was there.  While I had successfully outrun it for weeks now, it had finally caught up with me.

The “it” that finally  seized me is not a simple state of being alone.  In the last ten months I have figured out how to be alone…and I actually embrace it a lot of the time!  I have my own bedroom for the first time in years.  I do not clean up after anyone but myself.  I can have frozen yogurt for dinner if I want.  I don’t have to share the remote control.  I have clothes and shoes and makeup everywhere.  I can work until 9 pm without it causing a fight.  I don’t have to divvy up my takeout.  Or my wine.

So if this wasn’t about being the only one in the room, what was it?  In trying to figure it out, I simultaneously – and very unsuccessfully – tried to pretend it wasn’t there.  Or at least that it didn’t have such an immense effect on me.  But it did.  It does.  Loneliness.

I should probably be relatively embarrassed that at the recently celebrated age of 30, I’ve never been alone long enough to actually have experienced true loneliness until now.  Even in the then unthinkably tough days of last summer, in the days and weeks after my fiancé left,  I never experienced such intense feelings of sheer loneliness.

It is something completely different from anything I have felt before.  It is unfortunately not something any friend, even the ones you love most, can alleviate for you.  It is driven by the missing intimacy of specific moments within a relationship that, based on the pure nature of that relationship, is unlike any other you have.  And to be clear, I am not talking about sex.  I’m referring to the intimacy that comes with being completely in sync with someone else.  Of sharing an all-knowing smile in response to an inside moment.  Waking up in the middle of the night to the comfort of knowing someone is within your reach.  The mundane feeling of an arm wrapping around your waist while you make dinner or pour a glass of wine in the kitchen.  The warmth in catching that person’s eye from across the room, or store, or street.  Holding an all too familar hand as you stroll through the streets of New York with absolutely no particular destination in mind.  The intimacy of sharing your life with someone.  That someone.

So which is worse: missing this intimacy in your life or worrying that you’ll never trust enough to find it again?  Or is it the endless regret that comes from once having these intimate moments in life with someone who so clearly did not deserve them?

Wait.  Don’t answer that.  I’m not ready for the answer yet.


4 Responses to “An unwelcome emotion”


  1. Artichoke relish « Unwedded Bliss - April 15, 2011

    […] work and that not so welcome emotion of the past few weeks, I’ve been slightly on edge lately.  I don’t think I realized […]

  2. Daily ruts « Unwedded Bliss - August 19, 2011

    […] part of the past year that has been torturous to get through – other than the obvious –is the loneliness that I wrote about back in April.  That feeling still seizes me from time to time but never as […]

  3. No good deed goes unpunished « Unwedded Bliss - November 24, 2011

    […] about before, up until earlier this year, my motives were very mixed.  Back then I was regularly overwhelmed by Saturday mornings, the once “us” time that I used to look forward to all week long. […]

  4. 31 things I know I know « Unwedded Bliss - March 30, 2012

    […] wouldn’t wish loneliness on my worst […]

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