Friday, January 4, 2013

Love and Be Loved. Or Not. Whatever.

 I remember our neighbor, Bonnie, in Australia speaking to my parents about the illusion of loneliness. I couldn't have been more than four years old at the time (we moved to Alaska that year), but her words resonated in me. She spoke of how we are each born into this world alone, and we will each leave this world alone. It is a natural, human thing to be alone, and so when we are feeling lonely, we should turn inward and keep ourselves company, because we could only count on ourselves to be there.

Of course, she was wise, I thought. She was older, smarter and had clearly thought it all out. I took her words to heart and thought about them from that day forward. I decided that she might be right. I might have to be my own best friend. Considering that my father was a globe-trotting military man, dragging us from one continent to the next, with no regard for the idea that it would be hard for somebody like me to make and keep friends, well, Bonnie's logic became my own.

That may have been the beginning of my conscious independent streak.  My mother once told me that I was born a loner, a non-conformist, a free spirit. She spoke of how I never put up with my sister's bossy streak and how I wouldn't go to church because the preacher was a moron, and how I would switch from bluegrass to rock-n-roll to jazz just because it suited my mood. She halfway suggested that it was a bad thing to be that way. I remember thinking, I like what I like. Don't stifle me, woman.

When I was twelve or thirteen, I met a girl who described herself to me as a free-spirit. She knew we would be good friends because we were so much alike. She chastised me for shaving my legs! She claimed I was giving in to male oppression by catering to their idea of how a woman should care for herself. I should stop shaving my legs and let it grow wild and free to assert my independence from the male population. I said, Screw that. I like the way my legs feel when they're shaved, smooth and silky against my cotton sheets while I sleep. She shook her head and said she didn't understand me at all. Clearly, she didn't.

Of course, I have had friends in my life, good ones and bad ones. I've even had good friends who turned into bad friends after a while, and I've been a bad friend to many people I should have treasured. I've been a fierce friend to many who didn't treasure me. I've loved and been loved. I've hated and been hated. It's all a part of who I am, but I've not ever been truly lonely. What's the point of that?

Now that I am thirty-nine some of my so-called friends are making noises about my looking for a man, but I guess they didn't get the memo. Hello, I'm not lonely for a man. I'd rather have a degree. I am content in the life that I'm living. If a man should want to be a part of it, he's got to be one hell of a pushy soul. It won't be easy to knock me off this course I'm on. Full-time school, full time job, part-time mom and grandma- this is not a life that leaves any room for new relationships. I might make a flirtatious comment to a man, but that's just personality, not actual suggestion. Keep it in your pants, buddy.

Today, I find myself a few friends short of last week's list. I've been compelled to scratch a couple of names off the very top. One of them thought I was lonely for his company. He was wrong. The other, his wife.

Hopefully, when everything gets sorted out, I'll be able to get her back on the list. In the meantime, I'm looking inward for company.

I promise, I'm not lonely.


22 comments:

  1. Really enjoyed this piece of writhing Nessa. I've always thought its ok to be alone if your happy with it, content to live your life regardless. Is is easier if you have a good circle of friends? I virtually spent my whole adult life in relationships, which has suited me as I happier with a partner, but if for some reason in my mid 40s I found myself alone - I would be ok with that too.

    Good to see you in my blog roll :)

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    1. It would be nice if I had a good circle of friends, but that, too, is elusive these days.

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  2. There came a point when I couldn't see the person for the baggage drug along. Or, how about someone wanting married to be taken care of. There are those who think I'm strange and those who don't. I think I'm just fine, and so are you.

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    1. I don't think you're any stranger than me. Just intelligent. ;)

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  3. I have a solitary and independent streak a mile wide. It took one pushy broad to get a bit further than arm's length. I tend to appreciate the loners over social butterflies.

    The fact you have a path is a good thing. If anyone or anything gets in your way, I'd suggest feeding them to a meat grinder.

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    1. Good idea. I do have a meat grinder handy.

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  4. Love how you told this story, it has your free spirit and independence yet with a level of refinement we've all come to know.

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    1. Thank you, Shopgirl. I don't know if anybody has ever accused me of being refined before, but I'll take it!

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  5. You're a fuckin great writer, Ness. I love you forever.
    -Jere

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    1. Thank you, Jere. You are definitely on my "keeper" list.

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  6. Haha! Just noticed I said "writhing" in my earlier comment. Obviously meant "writing."

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    1. haha! I didn't even catch that when I read it, but that's an awkward and hilarious visual. You enjoyed my writhing... :)

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  7. Great post Nessa - alone but not lonely :)

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    1. Thank you, Joe! I'm actually, hardly ever alone with all these kids in and out, but I do know what you mean.

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  8. 'I am content in the life I am living'. It's not often you hear/read that.
    Really interesting post.

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    1. Thanks, Lucy. I'm not a very interesting person, though. Just busy.

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  9. I love the introspective nature of this post Nessa. I love your blog :)

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  10. I LOVE being at home, doing stuff alone, and having time to breathe. However it's so out of the norm for us that Tony instantly tries to fill that "down time" with shopping, lunch out, or random movies. Drives me crazy. Seriously... I want to just "BE".

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    1. Exactly! Time alone can be very therapeutic.

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  11. I too have that independent streak, but am equally at home with others too. Nicely put.

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    1. I have to say, I'm better one on one, or alone. I tend to disconnect in a crowd.

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