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  • Writer's pictureeschaden

Two is the Loneliest Number...

I know that isn’t how the song goes. I know it is really supposed to be one is the loneliest number but that is not my experience. I have felt the most alone in my life while partnered with another person. I am sure that says volumes about who I choose to partner with and about who I am as a person.

But it is my experience. That isn’t to say that I am never lonely while alone. It is just way more comfortable for me to be with me, having agency over myself and my life without having to navigate all the perils and pitfalls of love, sex and commitment. I am just better and happier on my own.

It is an odd place to be in life when all I see is two of everything...everywhere. Even this morning as I walked in my most favorite woods, I sat on my favorite bench and I looked at the enveloping trees. There were two of them, I mean where ever there was one, there was another, each tree branching off from the other. I have sat on that particular bench and walked that particular wood so many times yet I never noticed that all the trees are not solo, they are all pairs. Felt particularly painful today. Almost like they were mocking me. But I know trees do not mock, they stand giant, stalwart in their demonstration of life and living. Their scars and burns apparent, trees do not hide their truths. They are way more transparent than people...

How did I come to sit in a wooded forrest of trees that were paired for life?

How did I walk those same woods for years and never notice it before?

Not sure. All that I do know is that I noticed it today.

And while I walked solo in the woods I was struck by how much alone I need. How much better I feel alone than struggling to relate and hold up others. I can do alone. It is relationships with others where I tend to get lost, scared and neurotic.

Yes, it is true, being alone doesn’t present the challenges that others do. I know what I want. I endeavor to tell myself the truth. I have only me to deal with. Relationships with others are fraught with painful missed connections, disconnections and vulnerabilities. What I realized today is that I am so lost when it comes to others. I do not know how to be in an intimate relationship...except with myself. And that has really only started recently. I chased the delusion for so long that I could just do what others did and reap the same rewards. But that is not my path. I have a lot of tentacles from the past, that even despite years of therapy and work, still devastatingly alter the course and trajectory of my intimate relationships. It is just how it is. I will keep working on it, but I am not sure that I will ever make any real progress. The body keeps the score...always.

So for me two is the hardest number. One much safer and easier. I keep trying at two but I am losing interest in the work honestly. I would rather walk alone in the woods with the dog than with pretty much anyone else. The effort to carry the relationship on my part, now feeling like too much of an ask. And I don’t have a very good track record which only seems to be a very jagged path that gets more painful as the years march on.

I would love to just give up. Say fuck the two and just be content with one. I guess I might. But I also believe that I am getting this very hard work in relationships because that is what I am supposed to do in this life. This is my work. Other people have theirs, this is mine. Relating, committing, being honest, opening, trusting, loving, helping, taking care of myself but also allowing others in feels like the work I am supposed to be doing. On days like today, I just don’t want to. I want to resign from the human race and just hide in my backyard.

It probably didn't help my internal landscape that I wrote my son’s impact letter today. It broke my heart. I cried and then just felt angry. Anger the bouncer for all other emotions. I had to keep kicking anger out because I wasn’t really angry, I was sad. Despondently sad and unsure of how to move forward. Lost and sad are places that I do not visit often. And I do not like either of them.

So I went for a hike and tried to cryke out the hard feelings. It worked sort of until I walked among the paired trees. Then I just felt even worse. And confused. Stuck. Lost. Sad. Pissed. I did get charged by a cow so that was momentarily alarming and jarred me out of my melancholy self absorption.

This is where I am today. Sad and needing to be alone so that I can process and also not inflict myself on others. You don’t deserve my foul mood and I can’t change how I feel right now. I know it will get better, maybe in an hour, maybe tomorrow. I know that it will get better. It always does. Today I am just plagued by how much two there is and how very inadequate I feel in anyone’s company except my own. And that is huge progress because I used to not be able to stand me either. So there is that.

Sometimes life is just lonely regardless of the number. Today one feels less lonely than any other number. So I am just going to go it alone and spend the day trying to give myself some grace and allow for the passage of time to heal this too.

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