Solitary Confinement


It’s time to quit hibernating.

I woke up at 3am again with this thought in my head. It’s natural and healthy to hibernate so to speak when we are grieving the loss of something that is woven into our hearts. It’s not good for us to stay in that state, to withdraw from sharing ourselves long term, to retreat from the wonders of living because they might bring us more pain.

Once we teach ourselves the black art of isolation, it can be difficult to find our way out, especially the way the world moves now. When I began writing again, I struggled between writing what was pretty and what was real to me. They are not always one and the same. I hold inside me things that are beautiful and things that are hard. I was overwhelmed with the feeling that we have lost our grip on the ability (and the courage?) to share who we are with our world.

“We are like puzzle pieces who are perfectly suited to make a giant picture together, but we are assembling ourselves in the dark.”
― Vironika Tugaleva

When we isolate ourselves for too long, our heart slows it’s beating and our breath becomes shallow. We sink into apathy for a false feeling of safety and become disoriented to our purpose for being, we lose our sense of direction. In our escape from those things that hurt us we lose ourselves and become less. We harm ourselves more than the pain we try to avoid.

In this place we clutch things to us to fill the holes. We can become addicted to things that deflect our need for connection to each other and begin the slow process of suffocating us emotionally and spiritually. We know this in the back of our minds, but what the hell do we do about it?

“[…] the sense that everyone was incommunicado with everyone else and living on an entirely wrong plane, so that the meaning, the message, the love, or whatever it was that each life contained, never could find its expression.”
― Patricia Highsmith

If we don’t speak or write or share something from the truth of us we are the equivalent of the drowning one waving in the distance, not for help (of course not!), but the public expression of “I’m fine, nothing to see here, carry on!”. It’s sad and ridiculous.

Suicide is on the rise. Check the statistics. More people are waving from the distance and as we wave back they go under for the last time. Reaching out to each other is more important now than ever. We have to learn how. We have to try.

“No wires tender even as nerves
can transmit the impact of
our seasons, our catastrophes
while we are closed inside them”
Margaret Atwood

I can hold hope in one hand and the truth of where I am in the other. I won’t let go of either. I think it’s dangerous to do so and I will keep writing of what I hold in each hand, the light and the dark that passes through me. I hope that doing so says to those struggling in their own waves of isolation that it’s safe to come in.

I read somewhere that when we cut ourselves off from one another for an extended length of time, our personalities deteriorate. When we isolate ourselves we become someone we no longer recognize and suffer a loneliness unlike any other. I know what it’s like to find yourself missing, to have to search the woods, howling, and bring yourself home, to swim towards the shore when you’re so fucking weary you have to tell yourself to keep kicking.

“And when you die only your thoughts that have reached paper remain.
Finally when someone stumbles upon those words, reads about your loves and your losses, you touch them emotionally and for a time they finally feel understood.
For that time they realize, they too shared the same thoughts and ideas,
And then they realize just as I have realized,
You are not truly as alone in this universe as you think are.”
~ Morris R. Gates

I hold hope in one hand and truth in the other. You can too.

You are not alone.

 

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