Crikey, what a time it’s been for the whole world this year with each of us facing the challenges, horrors and, yes, even blessings of the COVID-19 pandemic.
I have been taking some time off work to rest this past week, being fortunate enough to sustain employment during this time.
I have not gone away for reasons of logistics, a medical appointment and public health safety. I’m okay with staying home, taking walks, sleeping in and getting cozy with the coming equinox. My occasional struggle is with the epic amount of time I have spent alone in the past seven months, magnified by time off from work.
Some of the time alone has been of my own choosing, in keeping my bubble microscopic for health reasons. Some of that time is naturally occurring owing to my single status, living alone and having no family within safe travelling distance. Also, as a middle-aged single woman who does not report to all of the patriarchal gender chains, I am somewhat invisible on a societal level - though grey hair seems to provide a mocidum of care by some in a granny kind of way... bizarre... but it beats the hostility encountered for denying the make-up, costume and subjugation demanded by the patriarchy. I have a few close friends and have seen them and I'm grateful for eachof them. I occasionally hug one close friend and it is astounding how healing that feels.
I text people. I Zoom. I FaceTime and I am grateful for these options. I am grateful for every blessing Mother Earth provides but, my goddess, at times the loneliness is bleak and damning.The feeling of separation sharpens when I lose my attachment to the whole, found again through time spent in the natural world.
The pleasure of sharing something with someone in the moment is rare and made more precious when it does happen. At times, I am grateful not to have to share my living space with someone, not to have to dodge and navigate but, at other times, I would love to make a fort with a blanket and the couch cushions and sit within it with someone close, feeling there is nothing we couldn’t face together, like nothing could penetrate the safety of our cocoon.
Loneliness is something not much mentioned as a simple statement of fact. I feel we have sterilized basic feelings into the packaged commodity of “Mental Health”, branded as shareable content in social media. It is valuable, no doubt, to show awareness and promote acceptance. We encourage it to be copied and pasted and that is good, I suppose. We try to diminish shame, yet rarely will we see someone openly print, “I am lonely.” - not as something to be fixed nor sent to a health practitioner nor medicated, simply as a statement of fact that is acceptable because it is a lonely time. It's hard for us not to want to fix each other. Sometimes another's feelings may be a reflection of our own and something we do not yet wish to see nor explore. My loneliness is not a reflection of another's absence of care for me. I am a competent adult woman looking for understanding - to be seen, heard and accepted. That is sufficient and gratifying. Also, I have an amazing counsellor to guide me on my path when it gets dark and I can't find my way.
Personally, I do tell those very close to me when the isolation gets to me and I hope others are able do so. Hell, I overshare it with all of you here in this piece, selfishly healing through writing it out and, to my credit, hoping it validates others feelings where appropriate. What do I know? - not much, but I share in an effort to understand it and to out the experience. Perhaps this is naught but self-serving twaddle. I hope it is not.
I am navigating puddles of loneliness with leaky boots as best I can - grateful for the rain as much as the sun, knowing I have the gift of the day and, for me, that is always a blessing. I am not seeking solutions nor advice. I am only reaching out to say this is my glorious truth and I see you. I feel you. I am grateful for all of you.
Thank you for reading, if you are still with me at this point. Though our forts may be virtual now, it won’t always be this way. At some point, we will come together again and what a glorious time that will be. I send love and wishes for well-being to each of you and immense gratitude to those who see me, hear me and accept me, beautiful scars, plodding and all.
Gillian Cornwall - c.October 20, 2020