Leaving Alone

Because you need more than presence,

Some days, you’ll find that “I’m here” isn’t enough,

That you want to be heard and then replied,

None of that listening ear shit for you.

You’ve been alone for too long, learnt too well to cope with loneliness and drown it out with your too-loud claims of enjoying your own company.

Everyone knows now, they know how self-sufficient you are. They all envy you, blind to your desperate exaggeration by their own equally desperate need to appear enough in each moment that seeks to reveal just how needy they are. (As if it’s pathetic to need more than oneself.)

But at midnight, when the hollowness comes to eat you alive with the playful wickedness of a disease gleefully sweeping aside the puny barricades placed haphazardly in its path, you surrender to the admission that you’ve fooled everyone but yourself.

In your tearful confessions to your weary heart, you say it all:

“I crave warmth.”

“I need meaningful connection.”

“Nothing less than a kindred spirit would do.”

What wouldn’t you give to feel the comfort of mutual understanding and the reassurance of reciprocated trust?

That’s genuine warmth, coursing through the cells, heart and spirit with the kind of searing conviction that the electricity of romance cannot muster. Priceless.

You dream, and in your reverie you’re not stunned or dazed by desire. You can see and think, maybe more clearly than ever, each outgoing thought pinging off a corresponding incoming thought as streams of expressed consciousness crisscross in the most delicious ways.

There, you find parts of yourself in another equally precious human. The parts you love and the parts that frighten you. But you’re not afraid because, finally, you’re no longer alone in the great darkness of unknowing that swallows up what little comprehension of self there is.

You’re home.

You wish to not have to go to battle by yourself again,

Because life is easier to face when there’s someone to stand with,

And to not have to be the watcher on the wall every day,

Because you can let down your guard when there’s another to be a lookout.

But not just anyone.

You’ve done that before, let strangers into your hallowed spaces and watched helplessly as your peace was set on fire by those who only knew how to make war.

We see too little of others until there’s little we can do to stop their madness when it shows itself.

The knife wound in your back still hurts. It hurts almost as much as the pain in your heart. The cut of the trusted is the deepest.

So now you walk backward, sideways and every way but in a straight line. You have many eyes but no reprieve. You don’t know what rest means anymore and you’re worn from the endless toil of caring for yourself yet you haven’t healed.

Look, maybe the war ended a long time ago. Maybe you’re just fighting a memory, shoring up your defences against phantoms made from pieces of yesterday’s demons.

In anticipation, you never let your guard down, you never let yourself breathe, you always keep your fists clenched. Survival mode is the thief of joy.

If horror is what you wish to look out for, it’s guaranteed that there will always be demons real and imagined.

But hell isn’t always other people.

Sometimes, you’re the one holding the match. Drop it and find a hand to hold instead. Find a hand that holds yours back and squeezes it in validation – “I need and want you too.”

Inner peace is at the end of a series of actions that begins with letting yourself out of your self-made mental cage long enough to accept that even though you have much less control than you want, that’s okay.

You accept that you need ‘together’ and that it won’t fit tidily into whatever framework or model you run your adult life with.

Quite unnerving, isn’t it?

Of course, it is. It’s supposed to be.

You see, to trust is to surrender to a wave that never stops cresting. You won’t always surf elegantly but when you do, it’ll be the most beautiful thing you’ve ever done.

Leaving alone, letting yourself go so that you can have more than yourself, is the most beautiful thing you’ll ever do.

That’s the dream.

I hope we wake up to find that it’s real.