Super Independent, Secretly Lonely?
Fireworks (in and out of the bedroom) are my favourite, so to all our US tribe members happy Independence Day. I was over in San Francisco for this holiday a few years back, the Bay area certainly know how to party and yes, you cheeky monkeys, there were certainly fireworks…
Let’s talk one of the biggest taboos of all, and trust me, I talk about sex and masturbation for a living.
What subject is even more taboo, so much so we don’t even joke about with our friends?
It’s a word that I would never have associated with myself before - I mean, I was a strong independent woman. I didn’t need anyone else. Anyway, I was never alone.
It is only since I left the corporate world and started to spend time on my own that I started to realise how much I avoid stillness, quiet. Fearful of experiencing loneliness.
Most recently, undergoing a full health overhaul in response to some nasty stomach infections, I have not drinking alcohol or able to eat in restaurants, I can do very little training and I’m sleeping more than I ever have.
This has killed my social life. No dating, no meals, no beer gardens, no CrossFit, no family meals, not even networking events.
I have spent more time on my own than I ever had before.
As a result, I became super aware of how I was feeling and of habits that I have that distracted me from, well, myself.
Without alcohol, men and socialising my only ‘escapes’ were mindless eating (not fun when you are only eating chicken, eggs and almonds) and Netflix.
It’s then I realised - I am avoiding something. I’ve spent my entire life surrounded by people, phenomenal friends, amazing family, and I have an incredible life that is exposing me to some of the craziest, most beautiful, inspiring people; but for a few years now, I have not let a romantic partner ‘in’.
There is always ‘someone’. They may not be my boyfriend, but someone to play and connect with, to fantasise about, enough to keep my headspace entertained - but nothing like the big four-letter word.
Then it hit me. The drinking and partying that had crept back in since Christmas, and before that, training hard, mindless eating, Netflix binging or obsessively working, Tinder app and social media scrolling whenever I was alone...
This is avoiding, numbing, escaping from something I am terrified of even admitting….
I am terrified of feeling lonely.
Yet I am feeling lonely.
We all numb at times, we all have our weapon of choice - it may be calorie counting, hitting our steps, drinking to oblivion, drugs, cake, being ‘just so busy’.
The fun starts when we get honest.
All of us get lonely at some point and it isn’t always when we are single; one of the loneliest periods of my life was during a long-term relationship, we’ve all loved someone who hasn’t loved us back, or we’ve become so numbed by life that we can’t seem to connect to the person we love the most.
Feeling lonely is normal. It’s okay.
Fighting it and ignoring it doesn’t mean it goes away; in my experience, the more you ignore or numb, the stronger it comes back until you just can’t ignore it anymore.
Once you feel it, you can share it with an empathetic ear (my favourite ear is my fabulous mentor Junior Zoschke).
Once you share it, the feeling starts to dissipate, to complete it’s natural cycle.
Then awareness of it being there allows you to choose a different response, take different action.
My inspired action: No more shallow end. This numbing meant I wasn’t feeling, I wasn’t able to let anyone in past the surface.
Magic happens when my clients get honest and stop pretending ‘it’s fine.’
Now I get to do the same. If there isn’t real passion and excitement - I’m walking away, when feelings come up I’m allowing and sharing. No more fighting.
I don’t worry about ‘fixing’ myself anymore. Loneliness and every other emotion we shy away from - fear, happiness, love, terror, sadness - are all part of the human experience, fighting them is fruitless.
If this resonates, if you are feeling trapped in a loop of the same emotion, or have noticed that you are constantly avoiding or numbing and you know this is impacting the rest of your life –reach out and share, whether that’s with a close friend or a professional.
The only way we get to move past anything is by acknowledging and experiencing.
p.s. For more goodness, tap here to join our IM Woman Tribe, where we talk frankly and openly about how our bodies actually work, myth-bust years of damaging cultural advice and strive to love and accept our bodies exactly as they are, right now.
I mean why wouldn’t you??
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