My Journey of Aloneness

Insomnia Induced Epiphany

From a very young age, I was extremely scared of the dark. . .even in the middle of the day. My dad left a vacant spot in my mom’s king size bed when I was only five years old. I quickly claimed dibs on sleeping in the big bed by my newly divorced mom’s side. No need to face the monsters under my bed or the boogeyman hiding in the closet, I got to sleep safe and sound, snuggled up close to my mother. Perhaps this is when my struggle with aloneness began.

In my teen years, my mom worked full-time not getting home until after 5:00.  My school was just a few blocks away from our little two bedroom house. I would take my time walking home because every step brought me closer to the empty house that I would have to enter. By the time my hand would reach the “never-locked” door knob, my heart would be pounding so hard I could barely breath. My rational mind would buckle under the weight of my deepest fears. Many times, I would just sit on the front porch and wait because I was too scared to go inside in the middle of the day by myself. Aloneness, for me,  was a lonely isolated island filled with scarey predators, darkness and extreme anxiety.

My senior year of high school, my mother was diagnosed with bone cancer. After surgery to remove her cancer-feeding ovaries, she required full-time care and went to live with my sister in a different city. Suddenly, I was all alone in our apartment, in a city where I had no family. I had no choice but to abruptly face my fears. It is this part of my journey that remains most prominent in my psyche. Many nights, I fell asleep with the T.V. turned on – Johnny Carson, Joan Rivers and guests, my late night companions. 3:00 a.m. I would wake up  to the frozen Indian face staring at me accompanied by an irritating noise piercing my dreams. All programming was over – no cable, no remote, only three main channels. “Aloneness” during this time of my life, resembled a deserted island…I felt abandoned with no rescue in sight. Staring out the window was my perch, my guitar was my solace and favorite distraction from the depths of my loneliness. It is then, I began an ongoing internal dialogue with God.

Soon after my mom passed away, I got married. My aloneness, quickly replaced with domestic activities, in-laws and very close neighbors who I could reach out and touch. Not long after that, I had my son to hold in the quiet moments. Aloneness became the blissful moments in the quiet of the night highlighted by my newborn son nursing with his tiny hand gripped tightly around my finger. Fears of being all alone, a distant memory from my past life. A few years later, another child, a new city and my husband traveling around the world led to yet another phase of my exploration of aloneness. Yes, I was alone in my bed for nights on end in those days. But my children were sleeping across the hall, so fear no longer colored my quiet moments, and complete mother-fatigue left little time for deep contemplation.

Now, here I am. My children’s bedrooms are lifeless shells which hold their favorite photos, yearbooks and accolades. Once again, on the occasion my husband has to travel (which is much less these days) I am left to discover where and who I am in my aloneness evolution. Maturity and life experience has squelched my fears (as well as a trusty alarm system), loneliness is no longer a pain in my soul – what remains is my ongoing inner dialogue with the creator, which of course are just my own musings taking place in my finite brain. I ask a lot of questions in the quiet moments. I retrace my spiritual journey in my mind seeking to understand the meaning of it all. Questions…not so many  answers.

This journey of aloneness has taken me from trying to escape it at all costs, to actually embracing the moments where I am left with my own thoughts to explore self, soul and spirit. Once a remote frightening island, “aloneness” is now my oasis of calm, where the skies get ever clearer and peace can find my soul.

10 thoughts on “My Journey of Aloneness

  1. Kara S. says:

    This is absolutely beautiful very poetic and emotional. Also fascinating to see kind of how your journey thru loneliness came full circle and now that you’re older you have a different reaction to it. very cool. i too struggle with loneliness and have to think about what i am feeling and cope with it from time to time. luckily my hubby doesn’t travels as much 🙂

  2. Kelly says:

    Oh frikkin wow! I loved that Alison! How beautiful… I believe you touched on a piece of all of us who have ever faced fear or loneliness… It eventually does become a solace, and beautiful place to escape. Fear is replaced… For peace is not the absence of turmoil; it is the presence of God. This touched me. Love you!!

  3. Brenda Willis Knox Lubeck says:

    This piece touched me so much I am still wiping my eyes. I was your friend during those days you sat on the front porch not wanting to enter your house. I remember that house. I took piano lessons in that house before you lived there. Janell lived in that house before you who we both knew and loved. That house was always a happy place for me. I had no idea.

    Every Sunday my husband and I read the New York Times and do the crossword together in the NYT magazine. There is always a special interest story on the back page. This story belongs there.

  4. Marissa says:

    Love you, Alison! You touch my heart. I’m going to kiss my sleeping children now.

    I’m so glad that you found peace. xoxo

  5. Peggy says:

    continuation. . .
    I wrote a poem entitled “She Took Her Bed” after my oldest daughter left for college. I’ll post it later, but her leaving her room empty without her bed when she left made her absence shockingly real for me.

    Since I met you after I remarried, that’s the only “me” you’ve ever seen. He is, to me, a Gift from God just as my girls were. This time, this marriage, when my husband travels I am “lonely” and miss him so much. However, I realize how lucky I am to feel this loneliness now for someone when they are not here because we are so happy when we are together. Things have come full circle for me, also, I guess. Isn’t life just odd sometimes………

  6. Peggy says:

    In some ways, our “aloneness” has been very similar, just in different stages of our lives. Married at barely 19 to an abusive, controlling husband I treasured time away from him and looked forward to his trips out of town. I busied myself with friends, hobbies, and finishing my college degrees. Oddly, these were the years when I felt most alone because of this toxic relationship when we were together. When my daughter was born 10 1/2 years after we married, I knew she was a gift from God. I felt the same way when my second daughter was born 5 1/2 years later. Since my “ex” was jealous of the girls and my time with them, he chose not to participate in most of what should have been “family time”. So, we made our own and spent hours figure skating together, traveling and camping with my parents, and having our own happiness.

    We divorced after 25 years of marriage, but I felt FREE! Free of control, free of abuse, free of lies, free of criticism and sarcasm, and finally free to use my aloneness to discover who I really was – not just who he wanted me to be. I discovered I could be alone to read in bed without criticism, to dress as I wanted, to wear my hair the way I wanted, to play my piano without ridicule, and to rid myself of anger and hurt and be the free spirit I always wanted to be. All of a sudden, I had my own thoughts, dreams, ambitions and the “alone” time to contemplate them and act upon them if I wished.

    As you experienced, when my girls became more independent and eventually moved on to leaving for college, etc., I mourned my loss. I had to learn it wasn’t truly a loss, just a different phase of my life.

    • says:

      I am completely overwhelmed and deeply moved by everyone’s comments. Peggy, your story is so touching and personal – I feel extremely privileged you chose to share with us. I can’t wait to read your poem of your own discovery of aloneness. This sharing of experiences – is the reason I started the blog – to learn, to grow, to help each other along life’s journey. If hindsight is truly 20/20, then perhaps our stories can help those who are just getting started in life, to choose a better path today…for a more joy filled tomorrow. THANK YOU all who commented on this post. LuvYa !

  7. Nanci says:

    You manage to find a way with everyone to open your soul and share all your experiences-both happy and sad. You put words to so many of my feelings and concerns and let me know once again, I am not alone in many of these same feelings. You have once again touched my heart and made me smile because of who you are!!

    • says:

      Sent from my iPhone

      > On Sep 16, 2015, at 5:54 PM, wrote Nanci, you have no idea how much it means to me that you took the time to comment on this post. Thank you for your kind words – I’m grateful that you were able to relate and that by sharing my experience your heart was moved. You are such a giving person in all that you are doing in the community as well in your personal relationships. Thankful we got to spend some valuable time together on this journey! Much love and appreciation!

      > >

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s