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Isolation - How to Change on the Path to Health?

Monday, September 06, 2010

I can see isolation, the loneliest patch of my life the past decade, is my main problem.

Today I learned someone I care for deeply is dating other women and changed his online dating profile from "open/undecided" in the want children section to "does not want children." Last week he wrote me he liked me and thinks I'm a good person, and could we get past his "freakout" about me telling him how I felt. So I see how I misinterpreted these simple statements to mean more than what he meant - that he wants to keep in touch as a friend but nothing more. I have written him nearly daily and also meditated/prayed blessings for him daily because I felt such a strong 'psychic' connection with him from the start of our connection. I know I need to stop and let go. Enough energy there.

I tried to step back and look at all the things I admire most about him and plan to try to fill my own life with those things I lack. One of them is team sports. Another is mountaineering. With my background, "team" was synonymous with "humiliation." I had my first positive team experience at age 40 and so badly want that kind of camaraderie that I am going to look into Parks & Rec beginning women's teams in anything (soccer, tennis, etc.). Maybe it's never too late to start a sport. That's one path out of isolation.

My volunteer activities are another place where I am among people and living with a purpose, despite traveling to and from alone and being the only single parent among these groups of people.

Today I could not stand another moment alone, so I asked a single mom from my single mom support group to go for a walk with me and her daughter. It was nice to have a moment of companionship in my otherwise alone weekend, despite the fact she is half my age.

My greatest well of sadness is over having had to face so many key events in my life alone over the past decade. Yes, I have "supportive" family, yet I shopped for my wedding dress alone, went through all but 2 weeks of my only pregnancy alone, my husband was out of town literally half the time I knew him, I faced mountains of legal papers/filings alone during my divorce, I went to domestic violence court alone, I raised my child essentially alone, administered much of her cancer treatment alone including countless trips to the ER, and I have worked alone from home much of the past decade.

I have had periods in my life surrounded by lively, interesting friends. Why does all of that feel so elusive to me now? I almost don't know what's appropriate anymore - to ask a married friend to commit to a cup of coffee or a walk when they'd rather spend every spare moment with their family? To ask someone to "play with me" like on Sesame Street when I'm in my 40s?

I start to feel something is terribly wrong with me that I don't have/can't find a date or friendship that works for me. I have lived by the "be a friend and you'll have a friend" philosophy, but now it feels like it is failing me. The people who seek me out in online dating have absolutely nothing in common (except being another lonely soul). I really don't want to spend another 4 years without an intimate relationship, someone to nurture/listen/support/hold. Some days I want to go ahead and have a fling with someone just to not be alone, but the emotional cost is too great.

All the self-help books about relationships say we must accept and love ourselves fully before we are ready for a fulfilling relationship. Well I want to know, if everyone becomes self-reliant, self-accepting, and self-loving, why would we even need one another? I've spent a good deal of time trying to meditate myself into accepting things as they are and made positive changes in my body and self. Maybe I don't accept myself or love myself wholly, but does that mean I cannot be loved? Doesn't everyone have different strengths/weaknesses and have a need to be held and nurtured by another human being?

Isn't it sad the only dinner date I've been invited on in 4 years was from my formerly abusive father of my child this week? (Of course I said no thanks).

I don't know where I belong anymore - other than as a mom to my dear daughter who needs me to be stronger than I've been. She's secretly bought me a "worry stone" with her allowance because she thinks I worry too much and gave me a card that said "be proud of your future." When I asked how a person can be proud of her future, she said "because you may not know exactly how your future will turn out, but you can be proud that it will be yours and something good." Should a 9-year-old hold this much responsibility for her mom's well-being? I know not.

I want so badly to have a better paying job and move from where I am. The only way I see to achieve this is to go to school. I have a window of opportunity that is only here once - to accept my admission to one of the best schools in the country by January 2011. But I fear failing without greater support in my life. I feel completely overwhelmed about getting through 2 years of grad school while single parenting and working summers without more emotional support. A part of me wants to keep status quo and work on adding social activities into my life. Continue to barely scrape by financially but not set myself up for failure.

I feel I have a lot to give someone. I just don't know why I can't be loved for who I am when I see so many people around me have that in their lives. Am I too broken?
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CAPECODLIGHT 9/6/2010 8:08AM

    I found your blog very touching.... honest, reflective, and perceptive. Only you should chose how your life should go, but I generally recommend taking chances - break the bonds you and others have placed on yourself. I have a mantra "What's the worst that could happen?" If you fail at something - it's not the end of the world.
I am basically a shy person.... find it hard to "make friends" and have had periods of feeling very lonely in my life. While in grad school (which I started 15 years after undergrad), I decided to take a basic acting course taught by an off-Broadway director. I was scared to death. At the end of the class, he asked 2 of us to continue studying with him because he saw strong potential. What a thrill to have done something I feared and to conquer it! You have all the potential to make your life what you want it to be - your daughter is right.
And, don't forget, you'll always have a lot of friends here on SPARK.

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ANITAJOYHALL 9/6/2010 4:23AM

  I wish you the best in your life

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