As an abused child I learned to keep it all inside. The pain, the suffering, the truth… All of it. Held inside like a fetus; balled up, a semblance of life, feeding off of the outer me, hanging on by a thread- or cord… whatever. Doing so, often resulted in extended periods of the lonelies The thing is, it doesn’t stop with your childhood. You bring the lonelies with you right into your teens, young adult and adulthood. The trick is to find a way not to take them with you to the end.
The lonelies. That false sense of being on your own. Alone. Without. Single. Unworthy and the list goes on as long as it’s something that’s isolating. Once upon a time an unmarried woman was called a ‘spinster’. There was such a negative connotation associated with being ‘alone’ – even if it was by choice.
But the lonelies, the lonelies are different. They come from a place of deprivation. From a history of being regarded only as a means to an end.
As an abuse survivor, I experience the lonelies similar to that sock in the dryer. You know the one that you swear went in with a match, but comes out solo? The sock that somehow has no match, anywhere? How could that sock have the lonelies when there are so very many other socks around? It’s easy. That sock doesn’t ‘belong’. It appears to be just like any other sock, but it’s not. It has a few holes in it. Holes that although they can be mended it would never be the same again.
That’s how I feel some times as a survivor. Like there are these holes in my persona. Holes that therapy has occasionally found a way to close up, but if you look closely, you’ll see that the hole was there. That hole helped to create the lonelies. It’s the imperfection that sometimes only you are aware of, but it seems as if the entire world can see. How could they not see the stitches? Stitches that barely hold you together. Stitches that while mending, they create a series of smaller, almost invisible holes. Almost. Yet to you, to you they are Grand Canyon wide. So you retreat. You go deeper and deeper into the lonelies. You begin to find and identify ways and reasons why you were ‘the one’. Why were you chosen to live this life? To suffer this trial? To ooze this pain? Not that you’d wish it on anyone else, but why did it have to be “you”???
In that self convicting moment you go even deeper. So far down that even you can’t find you, and someone else emerges, because SOMEONE has to show up. And then you hope and pray that this ‘someone’ who has come to fill the gap doesn’t create additional issues for you, if you should ever find your way out of the abyss of the lonelies that you currently reside in.
Luckily, and unluckily for me, my ‘someone’ is a perfectionist. A seeker of that which mirrors anything but the absolute chaos and imperfection that comes with the lonelies. The fortunate or lucky part of my ‘someone’ is that the perfectionistic tendencies masks the pain and insecurity better than a Fat Tuesday parader. Which, ironically, is the very thing that makes it most unfortunate. If you can’t see the pain, identify the pain, you certainly can’t treat it properly. It’s like going to the doctor because “something” hurts, but instead of telling her what or where the pain is you allow yourself to walk out of the office without a prescription, nor diagnosis for what is ailing you. And then you come back again because , well, you have not treated (nor dealt with) what the issue is. And so it worsens. It spreads contorting into lonelyphoma – a cancerous case of isolation that grows and morphs until you can no longer pinpoint or identify where the tumorous roots are. And now you have full blown lonelies.