It always comes back to this one question. What am I doing with my life to impact, help, and transform others? Am I? And that bit hints at the underlying question that tinges all my insecurities and issues. It’s a usually silent but occasionally clawing uncertainty in my value, my quality, my goodness. What am I worth really?
But what have I, but what have I, my friend, to give you, what can you receive from me?
My youngest brother told me what he’s getting his girlfriend for the holidays. A stocking. She had never had a stocking before because while her parents celebrate Christmas they don’t put much stock in stockings, and she has wanted one for quite some time. “Everyone should have a stocking if they celebrate this holiday” It was a beautiful moment, and I reflected for a moment how he has grown into a mature and kind-hearted adult. And oh how lonely I am.
I shouldn’t be lonely (interpersonally of course); it’s ridiculous. I have amazing people in my life who enrich and support me but nevertheless there is this almost imperceptible space left unfulfilled. Ordinarily I am able to overlook this space but lately it’s become more difficult, and the space is steadily growing to become a void. A vast potion of me is upset with myself for feeling this way and for griping because I “have it good” so to speak. I know I’ve commented elsewhere years ago about this same thing-unearned sadness-and I know how ridiculous this entire paragraph is because sadness and happiness and everything in between is relative. I know this.
But still. People are suffering. I have discontent.
I stoke my scathing self-admonishment with thoughts of how lucky I am, how I really don’t have a reason or “right” to have such persistent dissatisfaction. Then I realize I have a double-standard because I would never chastise someone for their feelings no matter their situation because pain is pain, loneliness is not ascribed to a certain set of conditions, and it is okay to feel as one does. This thought and perspective manage to mask the discontent for a time, and it was masked for several years (in some areas). Clearly something has shifted right now.
Because when I wake up in the morning or maybe a week later I will be okay. Perhaps I’ll still be lonely, but it’ll be manageable, tolerable, something I can file away like a fact. I’ll bring out my existential views on loneliness and humanity, on the inevitability of being alone, on life’s impermanence and one’s attempts to create meaning. On the possibility inherent in loneliness and the beauty and power inherent in interpersonal connections. These views are ever-present, but tonight I’ve shoved them into the corner where I usually store my box of irrational thoughts.
This is a sometimes dark, sometimes shot through with streaks of harsh light, box of an unfixed size. A voice does not always echo from inside the box as silence or shaky whispers often accomplish the same end. I can’t catalog all the thoughts in their entirety as this box has the useful skill of fading from view, hiding in plain sight. But here’s a sample….
I need to meet my fitness goal. I am not satisfied until then.
Why congratulate yourself on success when you expect it to happen?
I am quite inadequate and incompetent.
What the hell makes you think you can do therapy anyway?
And…what am I really worth?
-When I leave the box of darkness and light these answers all have perfectly logical answers. It’s getting out that’s hard.