I am not really sure why I stare at this page, blankly, as though I have nothing to say. Loneliness. I am an expert, an expert on this subject; or, at least, I am an expert at being its victim.
Though, it can be a difficult breach to talk about openly, freely. There can be stigma attached, or that oh, so common fear of what people may think if you actually admit to being lonely.
Hello, my name is Joette, and I am a lonely woman.
Funny thing is, I know I am not alone in this. There are so many of us, sitting at home alone at night wishing there was someone to watch your favorite show with or discuss the last chapter of the book you read, or even just talk about how your day was. Those moments you turn your head to tell someone a clever thought, only to realize, again, no one is there to tell it to.
Now, do not get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with a good night in with a good bottle of wine and Netflix or a good book. As an introvert, those are some of my favorite evenings. I love the me-time that is actually used to rejuvenate and care for myself…but many days, nights, moments do not fall under that category.
I think it hits harder this time of year, too. Seeing those Christmas cards sent from those newlyweds, from the weddings you attended this past year, seeing more and more engagements, can leave you wishing you could snuggle up with someone, not just your favorite holiday beverage or your fluffy cat, to share the holiday with.
It can ache. Physically and emotionally, it can ache. Yet, you keep going, yeah?
You put on your big girl boots and march to work and kick butt at what you do, because that is who you are. We don’t spend the entirety of our days moping and crying over our unshared meals and evenings. We have friendships and/or family. We have goals and dreams that we are fervently pursuing. We have purpose and meaning to our lives, and we know this.
Or at least, we should.
I am here to tell you, sisters, that you are not alone in the pain and the heartache of loneliness. And also, to tell you, that loneliness is not shameful. Women can be, and often are, portrayed as lonely spinsters or desperate, scary characters when we admit to loneliness. This is a blatant lie and it needs truth shoved right back in its face. Loneliness is not something we can place in a box or place yet another gender stereotype label to. It’s complicated, it’s raw, and it can be brutal.
Keep it in check, take your time to cry. Take the time to mend it in your way, whether it is a comfort food, a glass of wine, a walk accompanied by melancholy melodies. It’s okay to do this. But take your time, and then let yourself feel hope again. It is always there.
You can find hope in the fact that this is a season, whether you have been single for years, or months, or even just days, the heartache is real but it is only a season. But it is not a season to just get over. There is growth, there is opportunity here. As a single person I am allowed to tell you this, there are multitudes of blessings of this season. You can do things now that you cannot do when you are attached to another person. Traveling without having to ask permission, doing what you want with your free time, eating at the restaurants you want to, I admit I enjoy having all the chips and salsa to myself (eating alone at restaurants is a thing and it’s enjoyable and it’s not a spinster move!). You can take time to develop friendships with other single ladies, have sleepovers and coffee dates and enjoy this time! I love all of my married and coupled friends, but they are far more difficult to work schedules around. I miss them, I miss those relationships, take the time you have with those you can have it with while you can. You will miss it when it’s gone.
Yes, hearing “this time is a blessing” can be overload and exhausting to hear. But realize this is coming from a singleton, herself. This time is to be treasured and can be extremely fruitful if you allow it to be. There is growth and opportunity in your days, sister. Seize it. Nurture it. Go on adventures! Make new friendships, find a pen-pal, take a day-trip, try new cuisine; take this time to figure out who you are, what you enjoy, what you don’t enjoy, what you love and who you want to be…and dive headfirst into the crazy adventure of life. This season, it is awesome. You do not need another person to complete you or to make you feel like you are worthwhile.
You are loved and worthy and valued. Yes, just as you are. Love your friends, find new ones, say hello to a stranger, smile and be kind; I promise, that can fill a void, too. Love is ever-present. Please know that, and I pray you can feel it and know it to be true in your own life.
So, lonely hearts club, let’s make this holiday season one that brings joy to our hearts more than the last and give those “holiday blues” thoughts a good swift kick! They need it, every once and again. Keep your chin up, smell the snow, and spread the hope!