I feel alone. Deeply alone.
There I said it. Phew.
The weight I have been carrying around, feeling like I am hiding this part of me, has been released. That’s what happens when you speak these dark and isolating this into the space around you – the grip they have over you lessens immediately.
I have been feeling this way for a very long time but didn’t want to speak those feelings into the world for fear of the judgement and wrath that would be put on me by others. People would question why I feel this way, not understand how because I always seem so fun, happy and carefree. And, I am. I am tons of fun (*pats self on back* ha), I am a genuinely happy woman. You can still be (and even appear) happy but still be lonely. I am full of life and don’t take myself too seriously, but loneliness is something I am struggling with at this moment, and it comes from deep within.
Sometimes life can be lonely.
I can be in a room full of people and still feel alone. Like no one gets me. No one understands my struggle. No one sees me for me. I have to keep the mask on. Keep the show going. Because letting those people in to see what’s going on inside is too hard.
A huge piece of all the self love work that I do is about being in tune with who I am and what’s going on within my heart and soul. So, it’s no wonder that I can pinpoint a few reasons for my loneliness.
My mother unexpectedly and suddenly passed away in August 2018. We were extremely close, and it’s incredibly difficult when your partner in crime vanishes from your life overnight. Since that traumatic and life changing moment, I have been a shitty friend. Why? Because I couldn’t see past my own emotional trauma to help others. I needed to take time for me. While still doing my photography work and coaching others here at The Self Love Chick, I couldn’t be anything more than that to anyone else. I had to “just be” – whatever that means – in the times I wasn’t working.
I lost friends. Friends who didn’t understand me. Friends who couldn’t support me in a troubling time. Friends who felt that I wasn’t grieving the way I should be. Friends who couldn’t wait for me to work through this time in my life. I don’t blame them – it is not an easy thing to be a friend when someone is going through PTSD.
When I started to see those friendships fall apart, I retreated even more. If the people who were supposed to stand by you the most couldn’t do that, the other people in my life must be pretending that they can. So I stayed in my bubble.
BIG MISTAKE. HUGE.
(Yes, Pretty Woman reference!)
I didn’t want to burden people with my emotional trauma, so I put my head down and focused solely on my work. My life is built on making women feel good about themselves. And if I couldn’t feel good about myself, I was damn well going to make sure my clients felt freaking fantastic. So I poured even more of myself (cause let’s face it – I already put most of myself into my business and clients) into my work. Head down, focus on others, less focus on me.
Running a business is hard work. I have scarified weekends away, trips with family, time with my husband … all because business things needed to get done. My livelihood was dependent on business running smoothly. It’s a lonely place to be because not many people can understand why you can’t do all the things. People think that you have your own business you can just do what you want whenever you want. You can, but your business won’t flourish that way. I consistently show up for my business because it is my passion and my driving force in life.
Are those sacrifices worth it? Some of them. Others, not really. I am incredibly proud of what I have built, and continue to build. But, at some point, you have to stop sacrificing yourself all in the name of your business.
I have never been one to have a ton of female friends. Growing up I mostly played with the boys, getting dirty, climbing up trees, being wild and free. Into high school, my best friends were male. In college, I met my lifelong sister from the heart, who to this day is the best friend a girl can have – and she’s female, imagine that! I love her with all my heart. She’s shown me that true friendships can exist between women, and maybe my own internal bias was keeping me from believing that.
When women share about their amazing ladies weekend away, man, my heart sinks. I don’t have a large group of female friends that I could get away with. I don’t have that kind of support system for myself.
I then begin to ask myself what can I learn from this, because as a life coach I’m always asking people what is the lesson here? How can we move forward? Have you defined what you want? All those questions I have asked myself as I’ve been dealing with this loneliness.
What have I learned in my loneliness?
~I’m not actually alone. The few people I have shared my story with have expressed similar feelings. We all face these challenging times.
~There is a lesson in everything I experience, and there is a lesson in this. Something I need to experience in order to help others, perhaps. I don’t know. That’s the thing about these kind of struggles. We have no idea what the purpose of our struggle is but each of them has a greater good. It will have to remain a mystery until I come to see the reason later in life. So, I can lean into these difficulties, learn from them, and move forward with a new understanding of life…and of myself.
~Practice bravery and vulnerability. This is brave. I show my bravery by sharing this emotion, fighting for myself, continuing to show up for others, not letting go of who I am, knowing that this point in life will have a lesson and the growth that will come from it is going to make me unstoppable.
What am I going to do about my loneliness?
~Savoring the moments as they come. I look for the good in each and every situation. Sometimes that’s harder than I’d like to admit but I try to savor what is happening WHILE it’s happening. Practicing gratitude for the big and small things, every single day.
~Asking friends to have lunch with me. It sounds so simple but I am not waiting for people to invite me, I am going to be social and work on cultivating deeper friendships.
~Be kind. To myself, to others. I have a compassionate heart, and I will continue to extend myself kindness during these times. I will also be extra kind and mindful of the people around me. Continue to dish out compliments, recognize people for their work, and lift people up who are struggling. Because I recognize we all struggle, and in the midst of my loneliness, I WILL BE a vessel of light and hope for someone else.
~Wring this post. This was a first step because I always try to be real. What I tell my clients is that just because I’m a certified life coach, a licensed body positive facilitator, and a boudoir photographer, doesn’t mean I don’t struggle too. I do. So I will continue to keep it real and share my truth with people.
~Get out and experience new things. I will not sit around and wallow in self pity. I am going to get out and experience new and different things. I’m going to push myself creatively. I will try things that scare me, things that might excite me, even things that I don’t seem all that interested in. You never know who you are going to meet, who you are going to need in any given moment, and who will need you in return.
~Stop Negative Nelly. That negative party that meets inside my head is shutting down for business. Those thoughts have no place in my mental space and I am moving forward without them. How do I do that? When those thoughts pop up, I speak TRUTH back to them.
Being lonely is only temporary…if you let it be. Don’t sit back and watch your life pass by. Go out and be an active participant in the great things that are out there for all of us. You can do it! Your light and hope is right here if you ever need it!