The Loneliness in Starting Over

img_0562I tried something new yesterday. I went to the northside and met up with a writers group, a woman’s writers group. I went there via Uber and the lady driver talked all about her husband who died three years ago. I mean, ALL ABOUT, including some kind of gross stories which I will not share. I guess she felt she was connecting with me once I told her my husband died. (I didn’t offer. It came up…really. I  can’t even tell you the number of times  it just comes up.) Perhaps she needed to talk about her grief. Whatever the reason, she talked, I listened and anxiety entered the car during her monologue. I don’t need to hear about her dead husband, do I? I have one to think about myself. Next time, I am doing a trick my daughter taught me. Wear earphones…even when they’re not connected to anything, wear earphones.

When I walked into the coffee shop where the group met, I shook off the anxiety from the ride and took a deep breath. This was scary shit. It’s always scary for me to put myself out there, alone, with no fallback, no touchstone.  I walked over to a table with a woman typing away at her computer. I asked her if this was where the writers group met. I guessed right. So, I made myself comfortable with a cup of tea, a bagel with rosemary cream cheese – so good – and an open computer.

After making sure this group wasn’t one of those write-now-talk-later groups – oh, there are some sticklers – I engaged in conversation. I asked her questions about what she was writing, what her writing process is, her day job and a little about the group. She was nice enough. She seemed shy and the conversation was painful for her. She didn’t volley very many questions back at me. She answered my questions then typed, typed, typed away. So, eventually, I stopped attempting conversation.

I left early knowing this was a bust. I did get a great chapter written, one where my character took me a place I had no idea existed. My book may change because of it. But I left and came home knowing this particular group won’t work. And it wasn’t just because of the shy woman. Remember, I married shy, I mourn shy. The group was going to continue to meet on the northside, too far from me. And while she said they mix it up a bit in different locations, those locations are farther north.  So, yeah, I was disappointed. Actually, in the evening, where so much of my grief and loneliness come out to play, I was sad about it, very sad.

Here’s the thing. People laud me for trying different things, for ‘putting myself out there’, for moving past my comfort. And yes, most of the time I am proud of myself too. I know I have explored different situations, different choices, different groups. No one can say I’m staying still or to ‘get up and go’. I’ve got up and gone many times.  However, nothing has clicked so far. Not really, and when you’re in the midst of emerging – an experience that has to be done alone – you want to feel something click. Otherwise, the giving up option is appealing.  And yes, it’s early. And yes, I have to be patient. And yes, I have wonderful friends. None of this helps me as I navigate and wonder where I belong now. 

Last night, during my grief and sadness, I wondered aloud, for the millionth time, why do I have to start all over. I can’t be the same person I was five months ago.  When Peter died, so did that part of me, changing me forever. As my lovely friend, Alison, put it, I am rising from the ashes of what once was. This rising crap is exhausting, it’s frustrating, it’s not anything I asked for or wanted.  I don’t want to keep trying, yet I really don’t want to stay still. Staying still is not my option, not this ADD person. Staying still would make me more uncomfortable, more depressed, and pose its own challenges.  But this moving thing? Well, it plain sucks. And thus the paradox of my emotions – the constant struggle of moving forward, while thinking standing still seems okay too, and hating both. Who am I kidding? I hate the reason I have the struggle.

This may not make sense to many of you. Hell, it doesn’t all make sense to me. But then again, the moment Peter died, I stopped trying to make sense of anything. I guess my point is, my impatience wants to magically be placed somewhere and told ‘this is where you belong now’. I don’t want to have to try.  I want it to happen. Honestly, I can do easy right about now. Hard is too constant in my life since Peter died.

When I put yesterday to bed and awoke to a new today, I decided, I am going to keep moving, keep trying. And I am not going to try so hard. I am going to let the world unfold the way it should. I am going to try to balance to do what I may enjoy, and relax with what might be.  I am going to loosen my control over my life because really, Death has taught me, we have no control.  It’ll be hard. I want answers now and I want the pangs of loneliness to disappear, the emptiness of being without Peter. And please don’t tell me to be patient. If you do, I’m not sure you have ever walked in these shoes.

Yesterday didn’t work out the way I had hoped. And it pained me, and it made me feel so alone, and the deep sadness ripped at me last night when Grief and Sadness showed up. Not sure what today will hold. I am not sure of so much anymore. The ashes I’m rising from tend to block my vision of me.