I’ve lived alone for almost four years. There’s nothing like alone time as your default to really get to know yourself. There have definitely been solo dance parties, tireless scrub the floor at midnight extravaganzas, and stretches of time that were both eerily and nourishingly silent. Some days, I would go to the market around noon and when the person at the checkout counter would ask how my day was going, my voice would get caught in my throat because it was the first time I’d spoken that day. Blame it on texting or getting caught up in my head, sometimes that was the first time I’d hear my external voice (my internal voice is a lot more deafening). Like most things in life, sometimes living alone is amazing and sometimes it’s downright lonely.
Over the years, I’ve run a pretty tight internal ship. A recovering perfectionist, I can always find tasks in the house that “need” to be done as a way to avoid whatever really needs to be done (especially if that something I need is to do nothing). I would often march around my apartment with a critical eye, scowling at the dust bunnies under the couch and the never-quite-clean-because-they’re-old wood floors. Thinking back, I can feel the tightness in my chest and the harsh words in my thoughts. The zest with which I would accomplish these tasks was harsh and heavy. I couldn’t sit with myself, my thoughts, my emotions, so I would tidy and clean the outside world. Not much joy there.
And then the other day, I noticed that I was talking to myself. I was bubbling about the kitchen creating some kind of Trader Joe’s concoction, and I heard myself laugh at something I did. OUT LOUD. No dog to justify who I’m talking to. Just me. A chuckle. And then I started to smile because I noticed the EASE. I felt the ease with which I was moving around my (somewhat messy but homey) space deciding what to cook. I felt the lightness in my heart and in my mind. I looked around at this beautiful space I had crafted – the pictures on my fridge, the room I had painted, the curtains I chose. And then an amazing thing happened. Pride followed. I felt PROUD. Of my apartment, of my presence, of my ability to feel joy. Of all that I’m creating. Consciously and peacefully.
I let that guard down. I loosened my grip. Even a little bit. It’s been many years of developing this kind relationship with myself. And in that moment, I was present, enjoying an everyday task in a place I love. Years ago, I would have given anything to feel that.
I felt like I was enough. Just as I am. Prancing and humming around my home.