Light rain falls, red tail lights glow as far as the eye can see, traffic crawls on the 405. A steady low rumble reminds me that I am driving on my spare, a result of a punctured tire the day before. Windshield wipers smear the silty scum across the glass blurring my view, blades need replacing. My mental to do list grows as I remember to add fixing the nearly-new kitchen faucet. Damn thing leaks like a sieve. My beautiful modern kitchen with its water supply turned on and off by me, on my hands and knees, tweaking valves beneath the sink. More mental notetaking and the list continues to grow.
My focus back on the road, I’ve been sitting in traffic for nearly forty minutes and nowhere near home. The first Monday commute since the clocks turned back on Saturday, and the first rain in ages. In less than 24 hours, everyone has forgotten how to drive and my patience wears thin. I’m tired and cranky. Is it the never ending list or the traffic? Work was a little rough, but none of this is new. Most days I wouldn’t bat an eye, this would all seem typical, no big deal. But today, today I find myself wishing that I had a husband, or a boyfriend, or even a wife that could relieve a little of my burden. I hate the way I’m feeling; sorry for myself . . . I want so badly to be rescued. Maybe it’s the weather . . . maybe it’s the dark.
This feeling will pass, in an hour or a day. I won’t race home and get on Tinder or Match, or whatever. Hell, it’s been so long since I’ve had a boyfriend, I can’t even make a phone call that I’ll totally regret. Even a drunk dial would be answered with, Who?! Don’t fret friends, I am far from desperate. Instead, I have to sit with my feelings. I have to find a way to be comfortable with being alone. Accept the discomfort like an old friend, even if it’s temporary. During these lonely moments, my little run-ins with self-pity, I find myself contemplating all of the overused phrases about the upside to being alone, It’s better to be alone than with someone who makes you feel alone. . . It’s better to be alone for the right reasons than with someone for the wrong reasons . . . Your life will get better when you realize it’s better to be alone than chase people who don’t really care about you. . . .It’s better to be unhappy alone than unhappy with someone. I could seriously be the poster child for each one of these quoted scenarios, and I can say with complete and total honesty that choosing to be alone, all alone, is difficult . . . and in the short run feels awful, really awful. I never woke up the next morning saying, God damn it, it feels great to be alone for the right reason, why didn’t I do this sooner?!? Hell no. I felt like shit.
In the past, following a break up, I was unable to conquer feelings of inadequacy and that damn gnawing loneliness. I can’t say I even tried. Instead, my spirits were quickly and easily lifted by external forces, a good kisser, a fun guy, a hand to hold. And before I knew it, without a plan or even thoughtful consideration of my needs or wants, I was in another relationship. Sigh . . . it never ended well.
Today, conquer would be a strong word to describe how I handle my feelings of loneliness and insecurity. Those two still hide in the dusty nooks and crannies of my heart, sneaking up on me while I’m driving my car, walking on the trail, or under my kitchen sink, wrench in hand. I suppress the urge to let them rule my heart. On my best days, I honor past loves, thanking them for being my teachers. I am wiser for the lessons they have taught me. I am a better human being too. I believe that I can be alone and still have a beautiful life, I do. On the not so good days, my heart aches a tiny bit, I want someone to fix my wiper blades, and after a solid hour of bumper to bumper traffic, I want someone to look at my crabby face, smile and say . . . I’m happy you’re home.