Personal Journeys with Gramma

Life adventures, inspiration and insight; shared in articles, advice, personal chats and pictures.

The Mirror of Solitude

Before the chilling reality of Black Lives Matter made us all stop to face the fractured society we’ve allowed ourselves to be, someone on Facebook asked friends how their lives have changed since the COVID-19 quarantine, if they’ve changed at all. Anyone who has whiled away a quantity of days in solitude—for whatever reason—has probably already discovered that when you spend time with yourself, you can’t avoid sharing overdue internal conversations. Some find they don’t like being with themselves. They turn up the TV or the computer or their music to drown out musings they don’t want to entertain. They pick fights with their housemates or drink or smoke until they can’t think. They don’t want honest answers to the questions. They’re desperate to forget what they did their best to avoid knowing. They want to blame someone outside of themselves for their misery. They suspect they aren’t as good as someone else. Perhaps they don’t like their loved ones. They’re the angry people because their anger runs deep within them. They don’t want to feel like less, so they bully. We’ve heard a lot from them.

Some happily discover their lives are much richer than they thought—not monetarily, but they’re seriously free from want. They suddenly notice not everyone has the same blessings. They knew that before, of course, but now the fact has settled into their awareness and won’t go away. They wonder what to do with this newfound information. Some invent beautiful ways to reach out to share. They want to show their children that we live in a huge interdependent human tribe, and no one should be shunned. We owe it to one another to care. They thank the workers who allowed them to skate through the alone times without undue pain. They realize they have debts to pay, and some will make payments. We enjoy hearing their positivity.

Some sigh and scrape, still trying to mold a life out of clay that doesn’t hold together. They’re missing funds or food or staples. This isn’t the first time they’ve been forced to do without luxuries, but this time is worse, much worse. This time hope is a distant vague glimmer—like a star that turns out to be a satellite that disappears beneath the horizon. They feel hopeless and helpless and forgotten. They aren’t wrong. For many, they’re expendable for being too poor, too old, or too “other.” They want to believe the future could be different, but they have no reason. They often suspect their voices have no sound.

Some stare at holes in their lives—like the bare spots left when you paint too quickly in bad light. They had suspected the picture of their lives wasn’t complete as is, but now the bare spots shout at them. These are the people who want to restructure the future for themselves…and for others, too. They want to find the missing companionship or stimulation or meaning. They don’t care about the difficulty as much as they care about the nothingness they need to exit. They’re afraid, because change is scary, but in this moment the scariness of not changing is more terrifying yet. Theirs are the words of hope.

My husband and I must adjust because the family we have held close these many years is relocating many hours away, tearing a huge slice of our hearts out to carry with them. But they must go. It’s time. In the meantime, I’ll admit I’m likely to be less reliable about posting these blogs, because I’m beginning a summer-long training that will change the portrait that is me in ways I can’t yet predict. It’s time for me to grow. I wasn’t unhappy, but I was faded like jeans worn too long. This blog may suffer. I’m not as good at technology as the beloved one who’s leaving, but I’ll do my best to fill in when my daughter is pulled elsewhere. We’ll see what comes of my efforts. And when I have a sketch of the person emerging from the woman I’ve been, I’ll share it with you in the hopes my trepidation and discovery will encourage you to try being more. Why not? You were never meant to be a two-dimensional drawing. You were never meant to be alone. You have dimensions yet to explore and maybe they’ll take you someplace or to someone you never anticipated. Solitude is a mirror. What do you see?

3 comments on “The Mirror of Solitude

  1. Frances Sullivan
    June 13, 2020

    One of your most poignant pieces and just so well written. As you know, I can relate at tad with your situation. When my daughter said they were going to move east, I was discouraged, but like you, I knew it was for the best. And they are very happy. Me? Well, what can I say other than I keep on learning. Everyday is an opportunity to choose a better road, yes? As for you not blogging (maybe), NO. That’s all. NO. I’m vibing a mantra in your direction “Susan WILL blog no matter what.” Hehe. Can’t wait to hear about the course – SO excited for you.

  2. Frances, Thank you for your vote of confidence. Sometimes writing this blog feels like shouting into the wind. I’m not sure anyone can hear me and, worse, if they care. I will certainly attempt to keep going if it serves you. In the meantime, I’m becoming a clinical hypnotherapist which will take all my savings and full time daily until August 14. It’s a live stream class for the moment. (Notice how I said that in the positive even though I’m utterly intimidated by the task?) I feel a need to reach out. People like you remind me the effort is worthwhile. If nothing else, I should be able to write with more sensitivity when I’ve finished.

  3. Evans, Kay
    June 15, 2020

    Susan, Beautifully drawn as ever. These are tumultuous yet potent times and not easy for anyone at all.

    You’ll be doing your bit in this time of tremendous potential for transformation. You’re leading by being brave and going where you know you need to go. You’ll do the inner work which is yours, and emerge more ‘you’, with your talents honed. You’ve chosen your door. Take a bow!

    Kay ________________________________

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