I'm approaching the twelve month anniversary of my move from San Francisco to Los Angeles. My insides feel as tumultuous now as they did when I tossed a suitcase and a couple grocery bags into my car and drove south. In spite of a few decor acquisitions—a lamp here, an end table there—I don't feel any more at home than I did the day I climbed the steps to the empty apartment for which I'd just signed a lease. If anything, as the one year mark draws near, I feel a rising sense of panic. I wake from nightmares in which I'm tasked with finding something in a big, empty mansion, yet I don't know what to look for. I fight against a shortness of breath like someone is sitting on my chest. I feel achingly, heartbreakingly lonely.
I've alway struggled with loneliness. I don't mean a 'call up a few friends to chase the blues away' loneliness. I mean a profound sense of isolation that confines me to my bed; that wracks me with sobs sent from the pit of my gut to consume me from the inside out; that finds me in a crowded room deaf to everything but my echoing thoughts. It's a self-absorbed, self-induced, self-perpetuated sort of loneliness—because the heavier it grows, the harder it gets for me to push it off and do something about it.
The thing is, I'm tired of trying to do something about it. Tired of showing up at therapy. Tired of risking the whim of fairweather friends. And man alive, am I tired of reading the books. The ones that suggest I never learned to express my emotions or set boundaries in order to feel heard. The ones that claim we are all essentially alone and the sooner we accept that the sooner we'll find peace. The ones that tell me to stay in the now, practice gratitude, feel my feelings. I'm tired of circling endlessly in my own head.
One book, however, has pushed me out of my head and onto paper—a small distance, granted, but a step forward nonetheless. Writing Down Your Soul teaches an approach to journaling that draws out the frightening, audacious things you've been keeping even from yourself. It forces you to ask difficult questions such as 'What am I hiding?' and 'What do I truly want?' It leaves you staring at a page on which you've just written the words, 'I want someone to love me enough to come find me, no matter how hard I hide.'
According to Writing Down Your Soul, I'm not supposed to judge that statement. Which is hard, because wanting someone to come after me seems just as passive and selfish as crying in bed all day. Plus I know without a doubt that I do have people who love me unconditionally. But maybe that's not what I meant when I wrote that. And maybe it wasn't even me who wrote that but rather something deeper, the same something that sends those gut-wrenching sobs up my throat. Maybe it's insisting that I not give up on myself. I don't have an answer yet. So I'm going to keep trying though I'm tired, keep asking questions though I'm afraid, and keep searching though I'm not sure what I'm looking for.
P.S. For our regularly scheduled lifestyle programming, check out my work for Clementine Daily over at Hayneedle today. Sharing ideas for a cheerful attic, a calming patio, and an industrious office. Images, to which there's no rhyme or reason: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.