Not Never Alone.
I married young. I’m not saying that’s necessarily a bad thing, but it didn’t help my situation. My naïve 21 year old self believed in the fairytale, saw only flowers and rainbows where really there were demons and monsters. Dramatic? Maybe a little, but it’s not necessarily untrue. I knew there were problems in my marriage – big ones. I just didn’t want to see them. A favourite saying of mine is “it’s not what you look at that matters, but what you see.” I saw what I wanted to see.
I spent 10 years married to a narcissist. An only child and whilst not spoilt, definitely sheltered, I moved out of my childhood home into my marital home. I hadn’t lived yet and I’d never been alone. The short version of what followed is that I spent 10 years of my life with a narcissist, too afraid to confront the reality of my existence and terrified of being alone. This culminated in him cheating on me, and eventually throwing me over for the other woman. That story, however, is not for today.
What followed was an amazing journey, a journey filled with many lessons and adventures, twists and turns, tears and triumphs. One I want to share is a lesson I learned which has become my focus, the point from which I hope to go on and help others. It’s a play on words, terrible English, but means everything that’s important to me – Not never alone.
People told me in the beginning that I would be fine because I would never be alone. They meant well but it wasn’t true, I found myself alone many many times and that meant a lot of time to think. I realised that I had never been alone, and had never gotten to know myself. In time I learned what a gift I had been handed.
Being alone can give you time to reflect on things. It’s scary, sometimes terrifying, and empowering. I would spend a lot of time floored by the things I was realising, both about what I had been through and about myself. The very thing I was terrified of, being alone, became my greatest gift because it gave me time to stop, think, breathe and heal. It became as simple as that.
In the beginning it hurt, because having that separation from my situation allowed me to start to see it for what it really was. It helped too though because I saw that I really was better off. More than that though I began to be introduced to my own self. All the things I had been made to believe about myself I was able to face and confront. Was I really unsociable? Moody? Difficult? Unpleasant? Did I really hate going out? Was I really incapable of towing my horse float by myself? Of doing manual tasks like fixing fences and the like? What did I really want for myself? Who did I want in my life? What did I really enjoy doing? For the first time in my entire life I got to answer those questions for myself and a picture started to take shape – I rediscovered who I was and I was stunned.
I learned the things that mattered to me, that I value loyalty, love and honesty above everything else. That I am outgoing and friendly but I do also value my quiet time. That I’ll take on any challenge and usually find a way through it and thrive in the process. Being alone gave me the opportunity to focus on me.
I think my most defining “alone” moment was the most simple. I was feeding my horses, I’d just finished with the last of them and was walking down the hill back towards the sheds. I was looking out over the paddocks at the other horses and suddenly I was struck by how beautiful that outlook was, and even more that I had not noticed the simple beauty in the world for longer than I could remember. I cried like a baby, but happy tears when I realised that yeah, ok, I was alone, but I was free. I was free to make my own decisions, to be myself and be the best version of myself that I could possibly be in time that evolved into something even better.
Even on my darkest days, when alone went from being my freedom to feeling like my own personal cell, a dark echoing room, something with no way out I realised I still had someone to lean on – myself. I had gone through the worst thing in my world and I was still breathing. Better than that, I was alive, I had my health and cliché as it all is, I still had things to be thankful for. I had the opportunity to start again. I had lost so much, some days it felt like too much, but I was still breathing and I had the chance to start over. And so, on my dark days I would tell myself to get out of bed, I would lecture myself into the shower and I would force myself out the door. In the beginning that was hard but the more I did it the easier it got. I learned my best and most trusted ally was myself, and in that knowledge came the phrase “not never alone” because you’re not NEVER alone, you will always have time where you are your own and only company. However, even then, you’re not alone in the negative connotation of the word, because you will always have yourself, your qualities, your strengths, even the ones you don’t yet know you have.
Now, 2 years on from my separation I am blessed to be a stronger, more confident person. It took a lot of hard work to get here, it was never easy and it may sound vain to be saying that about myself, but I owe it to myself to be proud of what I have achieved. I am lucky enough to have someone in my life now who loves and values me. That said though, I am no longer afraid to be alone. There are worse things than being by yourself, and I know if ever I find myself “alone” I will always have the things that make me who I am, I will always have the tools to survive, and while ever you survive, you have something to work with, you always have those things with you… always.
My Facebook page is: https://www.facebook.com/notneveralone