Tout seul; A musing

Yesterday I organised a trip to Morocco that I have been planning for a year. I was meant to go with a boyfriend however since I am no longer with said boyfriend, I decided I would go alone, on a voyage I have been dreaming about for a year too long.
Yet, I spent last night lying awake in a state of anxiety about venturing to an entirely exotic land for the very first time, totally by myself. An unconscious and irrational reaction considering how truly independent I am. But it got me thinking about the emotions one can suppress to the point you forget you feel them, until your body physically reacts to it in most irritating fashions. In this case, my feelings about being perhaps, a little lonely.

Living a life in which one travels from place to place, never really settling in one spot long enough to secure roots, can be a lonely one. Lonely I think in the loss of the perfect essence of what it is to share deeply with someone ones experiences over significant periods of time, and therefore the losing some of those experiences oneself.
It is widely understood in the scientific community that from the minute we are born we begin to be shaped by external forces. This includes our culture, our environment, our parents and our peers. But what if you have not known any of these external forces to be stable, but instead discontinuous and ever changing? Of course I mean this in the most extreme of cases, as in even the most ‘stable’ existence change consistently occurs in ones environment. In fact change is about the only thing one can truly rely on in life. But what if a person’s experiences consist of a disarray of unfitting puzzle pieces. Of not a constant environment that adjusts, but instead constantly new environments entirely, with new places, new cultures and new people. As someone who has had a little experience with this, i can say that for me at least, while I do crave the escapade, it does at times affect one’s ability to know ones identity. My identity consists mainly with being sturdy, and knowledgeable about adjusting into new situations, but not how to become comfortable in established ones.
I find though, that no matter where I go geographically, physically or emotionally the most grounding and important feature of my belief in my own existence, are the people in my life.

Having ‘girlfriends’ is particularly important to me. Platonic female relationships are really quite special and have a huge impact on shaping us young women into the grown women we will become. Good friendships between women soothe our tumultuous inner world. They fill the emotional gaps in our romantic relationships, and help us call back who we really are on the most difficult of days. We understand each other deeply even without knowing each other well, and can laugh and be honest without repercussions. That is, in the best of friendships.

I have also known women to be wicked and calculating. Have known what it is to have my heart broken by a sister. Have experienced the breaking down of a female friendship that has felt much like the breakdown of a deep romantic relationship, through loss of trust, or just plain loss. And these experiences have been valuable teachers as well. 
So much of our happiness in life is governed by our hearts, whether we are willing to admit this or not. Rational thinking can only get you so far, but if all of life was ruled by reason alone, there would be so few opportunities open to us.
I know you understand what I mean, when I say a life without love is a life barely lived at all.
I was reminded of this recently on a trip away from Paris, a new place full of lots of fantastic new people I am just beginning to know, back to a place where there are people I have loved many years or my whole life. It was a wonderful week truly lived, but not in any place I could happily settle.
A paradox.
To love the old, with all the history that comes with that. Or to seek the thrill of new love.
Upon reading Walt Whitmans Leaves of Grass when I was a young teenager, and these words will forever stay with me:

Love the earth the sun and the animals...stand up for the stupid and the crazy...
hate tyrants...have patience and indulgence towards people...
take off your hat to nothing know or unknown or to any man or number of men...
dismiss whatever insults your own soul and your very flesh shall be a great poem.

In my life, the one thing I try to do with all my strength is love. People, places, food, books, work, everything. Even when I am afraid, which I will admit is often. But there are many kinds of love open to us, as there are many kinds of hearts. And I realise that where my bed does feels empty, my heart aches often for a person to share my soul with, and I long for a full home of laughter, family and friends, the biggest love most true to my own soul at this point in my life, after an illness that stole so many years from me, and a disrupted incredibly emotionally unsettling home life, is that of challenge and adventure and the seeking of experiences that allow me to grow.

I sat by the canal today with a good friend of mine, who this year also, alongside many people I know, had her heart broken, and is missing someone.
There are people I always miss that are no longer in my life for one reason or another. There are people I miss as I rarely see them for we all live in different corners of our worlds. There are people I miss I have not even met yet, with full awareness they are out there.
We seem in transition. In mid flight, just awaiting a great wind to propel us from beneath so we can soar high into the heart of our realised dreams 
I realise that so many of us experience the art of loneliness. And together create a beautiful canvas, a great song of melancholy, longing and laughter.

Paris has a long standing tradition of being a city of lights, and love. It is incredibly easy to fall for her charms and twinkling eyes, and spend many hours getting to know her flesh until you feel she is a most perfect lover. All the while knowing you will soon most probably leave, with beautiful memories, and yet another hole in your heart. The holes left in our hearts are couture. They fit that one love, that one passion or person and nothing else can fill it. But why would we want it to?
The scars we bear, the scars we stare at in the mirror, especially as women and fault ourselves for, for our imperfection, are the scars of competitors. Marks we should be proud of. Marks we should record for means of prosperity.
My friend and I sat by the canal today in the winter sun and discussed this transitional period in our life, our loneliness, the people we have loved and lost and the new people we are becoming acquainted with now, and I am glad to have that time with her. To break bread and share coffee, smiles and little anecdotes before, as she said ‘it is time to return to real life’. For a few hours we are not so lonely. We soothe each other’s stress, express our desires for finding a good man to love, a new place to marvel at, and our desires for friends to become our family.

A thing of beauty is a joy for ever:
Its lovliness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
Therefore, on every morrow, are we wreathing
A flowery band to bind us to the earth,
Spite of despondence, of the inhuman dearth
Of noble natures, of the gloomy days,
Of all the unhealthy and o'er-darkn'd ways
Made for our searching: yes, in spite of all,
Some shape of beauty moves away the pall
From our dark spirits. Such the sun, the moon,
Trees old and young, sprouting a shady boon
For simple sheep; and such are daffodils
With the green world they live in; and clear rills
That for themselves a cooling covert make
'Gainst the hot season; the mid-forest brake,
Rich with a sprinkling of fair musk-rose blooms:
And such too is the grandeur of the dooms
We have imagined for the mighty dead;
An endless fountain of immortal drink,
Pouring unto us from the heaven's brink.

(John Keats, A Thing of Beauty)


  1. I think I said it before, but again: I really like your writing! And congrats on the Morocco trip - those travels on your own always make you bring back unforgettable memories!

  2. Thank you, that means a lot! And i know, i am so excited! Just a few weeks to go... :-)


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