- Mental Health»
Loneliness Turned Into Poetry
Never did I imagine that at 55 I would be alone. Not alone in the sense of being a shut in or living off the grid. Alone in the sense that I have no significant someone to share my thoughts with. No one to hug me and comfort me when I am filled with self doubt. No one to wipe my tears away and kiss me goodnight. I have my children. My son does his best to discuss my fears of the future and patiently listens as I lament over what used to be and my disappointments over what I had dreamed my future would be. He is sweet and as I said...patient. He however, is untainted by bills, grown up demands and the experiences that can shatter your heart and your life's compass. I hope he tackles things differently as he ages. He certainly has had me as an example of mistakes that can be made as an adult. My daughter, still a teen but almost an adult is self absorbed presently and I merely exist in her mind as someone that takes care of her needs and bothers her endlessly about what she is doing the "right" way and the "wrong" way. She holds me at arm's length and lives not in my world but her world of skype, texting and computer relationships. It scares me to death personally.
Don't get me wrong. I've been a wonderful mother. The Martha Stewart of mothers actually. Every holiday during their childhood was celebrated with parties and friends. Lavish meals; all representing holiday fare. Birthdays had elaborate themes with goody bags and props, prizes and games. Nothing was left undone. I was so good at imitating Santa that my kids were believers into their early years of middle school. When I divorced their father 16 years ago I purchased a home I knew I wouldn't be able to afford so that they were near their schools and could safely leave the door unlocked with no fear of intruders or crime infiltrating our home. They've grown up with trips, pets, privileges and lots of love. I feel that while being a demanding mom... expecting manners, morals and human decency from them, they've turned into pretty, good people. However, they are getting ready to leave me. Start lives of their own soon. The realization of this has induced some deep, reaction-triggering emotions within me.
I am going to be truly alone.
Why Do I Feel This Way?
According to Livestrong.com:
Anyone can suffer from depression. Its causes include brain chemical or hormone imbalances, genetics and environmental issues. However, singles are at a higher risk for this emotional issue.The World Health Organization says single and divorced people have an overall two to four times greater rate of depression, with men facing a higher risk than women.
NIMH explains depression has physical and mental symptoms. Physically, depression can trigger overeating or loss of appetite, headaches and muscle tension. It can cause insomnia or oversleeping and drain energy. Mentally it can make a person feel sad, worthless, irritable and frustrated. It can interfere with concentration and memory and strip the appeal from once-pleasurable activities. These effects are particularly troublesome for singles because they can prevent formation of intimate relationships. A person who doesn't feel well and has little interest in outside activities won't have many opportunities to meet others.
Turning My Thoughts Into Poetry
I've always loved writing. I decided to put my recent feelings into verse. Not only is writing cathartic, it gives me a chance to examine my own thoughts more constructively.
Loneliness is a shroud that covers your happiness
A single tear that falls…
One to be never seen by anyone
But from whose eyes it escapes.
A cloud of darkness that follows me around
Blocking out the light
The joy that I see in the faces of others
But evades me and isolates me
Pushing me to the side
As an outcast….
I just don’t belong.
And forced smiles are cast my way
But they seem truly meaningless;
An obligation to be nice
And then a quick get away
To someone more interesting…captivating
Not some middle aged
Sad excuse of a person
That walks the straight and narrow
And chooses to be in control…all … the… time
Not the person who would do anything for another
But is the last person to be given any regard
I appear strong and resilient
But in truth I am weak and weary
So tired of attending functions alone
where couples and friends
Form small inner circles and don’t allow me to join
And if I do, they quickly disperse…and leave
Nothing is said
It need not be spoken…
I don’t fit in
I don’t really have friends
I have a long list of people that care from afar
Who write caring statements
But never call
And family that loves me
Because I am just that… family
But not because of who I am
I’m more like an obligation
Rather than a preference that someone chooses to be with
Just as in love
I am either too much
Or not enough
Either I settle for traits that don’t appeal to me
Or I return to my empty place where happiness
Constantly evades me
Why do I stay?
Guilt? Obligation? I always feel as if I must be an example.
I can’t be the one that is out of control
But how I wish I had control of my life
Never did I dream I would grow old like this
That I would be struggling so to keep the water
From filling my lungs
And have to swim like a fish with one fin
Upstream only to reach what I felt would be the end of my struggle
To find that another has just begun.
Death knocked on my door recently
And it opened my eyes
Not to what I need to do from this point on
But to the realization that my life
All that I’ve worked so hard for
Seems meaningless because there does not appear
To be anything to reach for
A goal to set for myself
My children had been my life for so long
And now I have become a horrific image of what growing up promises…
I no longer enjoy the laughter and joy of everyday living with them
Rather have become the shrill voice in their ear
To continue their responsibilities…
To stop asking me to raise them
For them to begin volunteering their efforts on their own
Alas, my attempts appear to have proved fruitless
In gaining their help without request
Rather, I continue to bray out conditions like a tired, old mule
And I begin to sew a shawl of resentment instead of weaving a blanket of happiness
As I tired of hearing my own voice
Begging for help…for recognition… for even an hour or two of their time…
I suppose that is what happens in most families
I wouldn’t know
I am never included as a friend in the homes of others
And I don’t know why?
When did I become the person that nobody wanted around?
The person that people liked from afar
But failed to welcome into their homes in flesh?
Wherever I go
I hear the comments
The insults and gossip
Of people speaking of a person they think they know well
But they have no idea
That I have a huge gap in my heart
That longs for someone who will love me
Not for what I give them
Not for what I’ve done
But simply because I am me.
I need to explain some things. I did almost recently die. It was a bacteria that invaded my body. It didn't kill me. Instead, it awakened the longing for a relationship with someone that I had worked so hard over many years to suffocate and kill. Now, with these repressed feelings escaping my body like a spirit fleeing it's human remains; I find myself feeling hopeless and terribly isolated.
I work with young children who fill my heart with joy. I am fond of many people that I work with as well but I am rarely included in their conversations or activities. Most are young and starting out with young children. I assume that I don't fit the stereotype that a young person gravitates to when looking for a friend or confidant.
I've been questioned for my lack of "fun" behaviors! I really don't drink and have never abused other substances. I walk the straight and narrow. I dated on and off after I first divorced but decided that my kids needed a mom that provided more stability and chose to give up that aspect of my life until they got older. Now that they are older, I'm not the active person I used to be and I find it difficult to present myself as a catch given the effects aging and debilitating genetics has had on me.
I give of my time and resources quite a bit. I volunteer to help with projects and I'm good at it. I don't ever give of myself to earn something in return but often finish an endeavor feeling as if my involvement was welcomed only for the job that I did and not for the opportunity to spend time with me.
I do a lot of people watching and observe genuine care being given to others through engagement of conversation and physical contact. I am not sure when that began to diminish for me... if I allowed it to happen or if what I am experiencing is a natural occurrence for people that have chosen to pursue life without a partner for a while?
I have to believe that my future without children at home and a continuously aging body won't map itself out to my being one that accepts solitary life to be acceptable and filled with sadness.
There has to be more.
I'm not sure how and where. I don't know when I will be hit with an epiphany that changes my perspective on it all. I am not willing to give up. There must be a happily ever after that doesn't fit the stereotypical expectations built by society.
My plan is to find it.