My loneliest years were in my early twenties when my life felt small and insignificant. All of my friends were still away at college, and me, the royal screw-up, was back in my hometown trying to figure out what it was I should even do with my life. No one had given me that label, but it was how I saw myself. I was defined by my past and my choices and failures and I felt as though I had messed everything up.
I "lost" my purity, I quit school and music and singing, I was at the heaviest weight of my life and I knew more of heartbreak and death at 20 years old than most people know by the age of 50. I worked for a very small office playing secretary and doing light bookkeeping duties, and the church I went to had no one else my age that attended. I lived with my grandmother and every single day after work, I would come home and eat until my stomach hurt and get lost in reality television shows until I would eventually doze off to sleep.
I remember that ache well. This gnawing pain that no amount of food or TV could was ever able to keep me from feeling. For some reason, those feelings and that time of my life feel easy to access in my memory. It feels thick and tangible, almost as if those days were just yesterday instead of ten years ago.
The ever present feeling of loneliness - I could never escape it. I was so very alone.
The secrets I held kept me in isolation from the rest of the world. I coped through my addictions - some seen and some not. Then, I had no clue how to reach out or ask for help or that I even needed it. I thought I was being punished and that God was punishing me.
Oh how my perspective has shifted on how I see Him. And how He has changed me...
With Todd gone, I've been aware of these feelings rising within me - and often. Especially when both boys are sleeping and I'm left alone in a big quiet house, feeling the void, feeling alone. Remembering the depressed young woman I was, desperate for friendship, for fellowship and community. For intimacy and relationship with a man. For a reason to laugh, or even cry at something other than how pathetic my life had become.
This lonely isn't the same at all - I'm married, I have two children, I have a wonderful group of friends. Yet without Todd here and feeling stuck doing life by myself again - this time, with a much fuller plate - the lonely feels just like it did back when I was twenty-something and longing for relationship. I've felt this pull to old ways and addictions and things I've used in the past to numb out. To kill what I'm hoping for, to try and keep myself from feeling any pain. And it's been a fight to stay in this. To let myself feel it.
I've lost count of how many times I've opened the fridge to stare at its contents, then closing it and walking away - it must happen twenty times a day. I may have a ways to go in the weight loss department, but I have learned to be mindful about my eating. Even with all I've learned and lived out though, it's interesting how out of pure habit, I still go there. I still look at the food. I still think about what I could make or eat to distract me from the pain I'm feeling.
Tonight, I'm aware of where loneliness is...well, it's lonely.