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Saturday, July 6, 2013

This Solitary Life

When I was a little girl, I spent most of my time alone. My father was a veteran of WWII and was over fifty years old when I was born. He suffered terribly from the malaria he contracted in the Philippines and PTSD. Our home was a ticking time bomb... as long as it was silent, it was tolerable. I have very few memories of before my parents divorced and I have absolutely no memories of my mother and father ever speaking to each other. I have a sister seven years older than me that I pretty much pestered as little sisters have a tendency to do.  She and my favorite cousin Pat would shut me outdoors to entertain myself.   My  mom worked each day in near by Gatlinburg and my dad was permanently disabled and basically home bound ,not to mention pissed at the world. He would work the tobacco patch and garden early in the day and then return to the house around noon to rest and sleep. This was when the code of silence had to be strictly adhered to or hell would break loose.  I would stay outside most of the time, playing in the woods or in the creek.  I was fearless and  regularly ventured into the deep woods alone to eat tea berries, stomp on devils puffballs and play fairy houses with the lush moss as their carpet. I loved the songbirds and all the wildlife I would see occasionally and I did not fear them.  I wasn't much of a girly girl.  I wanted a holster and pistol for I longed to be a cowgirl, galloping across rolling fields and prairies. On my fifth birthday I got a stick horse and  it was possibly definitely  the best gift ever.  That same fall,  I realized there were other children  and a terrible place called "school" I must attend. We lived about a quarter mile from the small school house and my poor mom had to literally drag me screaming and fighting in the door each morning. My school chums would later tell me they would gather around the heater and watch out the window each morning to witness the tantrum I threw as she pulled me through the gravel. Sometimes I would be completely flat and limp.  I was boneless before it was cool.  I have a few memories of those mornings. After I got into the daily routine and made playmates I chilled out a little.  I suppose it was this early independence that has laid the groundwork for me to long for solitude in this stage of my life. I went through a period during my twenties/thirties and forties that the thought of being single and living alone terrified me. I stayed in a unhealthy marriage way too long because of fear of being alone. I had just been diagnosed with the Fibromyalgia and couldn't imagine facing the future without someone to support and help me. Even a toxic spouse was better than no spouse...at least that was my belief at that time.But life has a funny way of showing you who's boss. I had a very close relationship with my mother and the loss of her in 2006 to breast cancer was life altering. But the shaking had just begun....within one month I was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma cancerous mole on my face. Fortunately, it was found very early and my prognosis was good. The next month my marriage of twenty five years imploded and became dust. I was paralyzed with fear and anxiety. I was sick, divorcing and terrified. I was thankful for the support system I had in my daughter, sister, and my lifelong girlfriends who fifty years earlier watched me come into their lives kicking and screaming.  They knew I was a fighter and I would be o.k., eventually.  A year or so later my daughter moved to Colorado. I wanted to scream "don't go!", but I knew she needed to take flight and find her own path. I didn't want her to feel the responsibility for my life and happiness that I had always felt for my mother. That is not fair to a child. I was becoming more comfortable in my own skin and somewhere that little person who traversed the hills and woods alone, playing with imaginary friends was wakening. I have talked before about how I actually don't live alone, I have my inner child to nurture daily. I love the solitude of my life.
Outside of work, I don't socialize at all except with immediate family and best friends.  My medical problems dictate much of my life. I only have so much to give and I will never again give any of my energy to undeserving/selfish humans. If I can take care of myself, so can everyone else.  I have a family of furry friends  who need and rely on me and that is where I am centering my limited energies. I won't say that I don't miss the human touch, I do. Sometimes I dream of intimacy, not sex, intimacy. Big difference. It would be nice to trust and love again but I don't think it will happen. My wall is pretty much impenetrable at this point. On the other hand, not being responsible for anyone except yourself is quite intoxicating.  I am too tired and ill to put any effort into a relationship, and as we all know they require a lot of time and attention, not to mention shaving your legs on a regular basis. So I have embraced this solitary life and I'm trying to redefine who I am daily. If I could have one wish it would be to be energized and healthy for a season so I could spread my wings and do a little flying of my own.