What is there to say?
What is there ever to say?
It’s been so long since I dipped my toe in the murky waters of chronicling my life that I can scarcely remember how to do it.
But since time is a weighty currency not one of us can spare, I’ll get to the point:
Due to a set of circumstances I am nowhere near ready to disclose on this blog… I am single. And now living alone in a city apartment in Portland.
Having been in my most recent relationship for just shy of three years, and the one preceding it for four, and the one preceding that for one… I’ve been somebody’s girlfriend for eight of the last nine years, and my entire adult life.
In other words, being single is entirely unfamiliar territory.
And, let me tell you: it’s hard.
It’s hard not having an automatic recipient to your random thoughts throughout the day. It’s hard not having a witness to your life, a sounding board who knows all the right backstories to every character in your story. It’s hard not having someone to wonder about, to care for.
Being alone – which I count as a separate entity – is also hard. Even surrounded by people, the world can be a lonely place. What if I told you that you had to spend the rest of your life, every single moment until the end of time, with the same person? More time than even your best friend. More than your significant other. More than any member of your family combined.
And the weird thing is, that person is you. YOU are the person you’re going to have to spend eternity with, forever, regardless of the presence of others. And, consider this carefully… do you even like yourself? If you were someone else, would you want to spend eternity with you? Or do you even know yourself to begin with? What kind of person are you? What do you like to do?
That’s what being alone is like, and it’s terrifying.
…But, okay, it’s also awesome.
Being alone – as far as I can figure (having had about two weeks under my belt) – is also an awfully exhilarating adventure.
I feel thoroughly unqualified to adequately express my experience thus far… so by way of explanation, let me just describe my day today:
I woke up by my own accord.
I don’t mean to say that I didn’t set an alarm, because that’s been true of most weekend days in my life.
I mean that when I got out of bed, it wasn’t because I knew someone else was up and puttering around in the kitchen. It wasn’t because waking up was the polite, considerate thing to do. It wasn’t because on some unconscious level I knew it would be improper to sleep any later, and that it was “time” to start the day.
I woke up for the luxuriously simple reason that I was done sleeping.
Once awake, I asked myself a deliriously wonderful question: “What would you like to do today, Susie?”
And as bad at I am at decisions, I knew the answer right away. Gosh darnit, I want some eggs benedict.
And here’s the crazy part; are you paying attention? I got some eggs benedict. I walked to a locally acclaimed breakfast joint just a few blocks from my apartment, and asked for a table for one.
Because I wanted to watch the Charger game (no, I don’t want to talk about it), I was situated in the far back of the restaurant with my very own dedicated TV.
I was in heaven.
This restaurant (not that I’m in the business of promoting random restaurants) offers bottomless mimosas for $9.
The secret to bottomless mimosas is to make sure you get your money’s worth. $9 is a pretty penny, UNLESS you have a fair few of them to balance it out. #lifetips
Also, while most boring places will offer you breadsticks or some nonsense while you’re waiting… this place serves complimentary homemade doughnuts. So, no big deal or anything.
Gee whiz, I sure hope nobody’s paying too close attention to me photographing all this food.
After swallowing my last bite of eggs benny and watching the Chiefs return a Chargers punt 50 yards, I made my way back into the misty sidewalk and headed home.
Before reaching my building, I stopped off at the local supermarket and treated myself to a some fresh veggies and (because I won’t be kissing anyone anytime soon) cheese curds entitled “Garlic Cheddar – Vampire Slayer.”
I munched on them while
watching (who am I kidding?) crying over Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.
After I was all cried out, I started to get sleepy, and (because there was no one around to suggest otherwise) I went ahead and took a two-hour nap.
When I woke, I dolled myself up, grabbed a book, and walked down to my favorite vietnamese restaurant. I reveled in every last nanosecond of slurping my pho (because why hurry?) as I devoured Truman Capote.
The pho place is the hokiest hole in the wall you’ve ever seen, and their source of music is YouTube playlists. I made it through two of them (I know, because the proprietor had to yell at her son to change it twice) before pushing my bowl away, thoroughly satisfied.
When I left, the owner gave me a bright, genuine smile and shouted, “Happy holiday! Happy holiday to you!” as I walked out the door.
On my way home, I passed a bar and – what the hell? – grabbed a glass of wine. I met a girl named Jennifer, Asian and gorgeous with dark-rimmed glasses, who spent the evening convincing me that I should care more about the Blazers than the Chargers. (I am absolutely not convinced, but A+ for effort.)
When I arrived in my over-budget, outdated, turn-of-the-century brick apartment, I cranked on my noisy radiator and plopped on my horribly uncomfortable couch to write a blog post.
And you know what? I absolutely adored it. Because it’s mine, all mine, and this day is mine, and this life is mine, and every decision I made or will make in the future will be mine.
This isn’t a novel idea. I’m sure there are people all over the world – in the most remote African villages, even – who wake up in the morning and decide what they want and then go get it for themselves. This is probably very simple for some people. You might be reading this right now and think, “What? You had to double your rent and move into the throbbing heart of a new city to learn this? This is Adulthood 101, you idiot.” And you’d be right.
But the thing is, when you lasso your life with someone else’s, you forget how to want something and go get it. Your life becomes this multi-colored mishmash of desires, and everything becomes gray after awhile. “Do I want this? Or does he want it, and I only want it because it’s what he wants?” You truly can’t tell the difference. Because there is no difference. You are one being, a single floating amoeba.
But now, I’m forced to press the question, over and over again, “What do I want? What is important to me?” And I keep surprising myself with the answer.
So as terrifying as it’s been so far, it’s also like some part of my subconscious – the adventurous, spunky, ‘why-the-hell-not’ part – has been locked in a closet for the better part of the last decade, and has finally been let out to start stretching her legs.
And boy, is she ready to run.
12 thoughts on “What it’s like to be alone”
Hi, Susiegirl! This was the BEST blog! I loved reading it and learning even more about you ~ who you are and how you feel this minute. You are gifted and I love you for it. You remind me of someone . . . someone whom you told me about as you were watching him float by on a cloud … when you were three. You are so good, honey! Keep up the good work 😉
Love, Auntie S.
This is fantastic and you are wonderfully amazing; simply the best. 🙂