The Cowboy needs time and space, and I’m giving it to him. So I’m single once again. I’d gotten pretty comfortable being part of a partnership – the closest I’ve been to such an idea yet – so it’s taking me a little work to remember how to do this stuff on my own.
In thinking about how this works, how one really defines “on your own” or “solo” I have gone round and round on the word “alone.” Don’t worry – I promise not to tell you how our good friend Mr. Webster defines it, or his pal Merriam, or any of their egghead buddies. (admit it – you just totally looked it up yourself!) But I think that the true definition of “alone” is “without a partner.”
I’m surrounded by many people who love me: friends who’ve known me decades, family members who would give me the shirt off their backs, etc. Even The Cowboy and I even still connect during the day because we’re staying friends. I’ve got two cats who love me so much that they fight over who gets to sleep on what parts of my head most every night. (and they’re so kind – they try to work it out peacefully each night to start, until their love for me finally overwhelms their ability to negotiate. Usually at around 3 fucking am…) So I’m not someone who would say that I spend all of my hours in solitude. But that doesn’t change the fact that since losing my partner I’ve felt tremendously alone.
So in thinking about that I tried to figure out what the big differences were. There’s a few that are significant, but this is the thing I think most defines being without a partner; being alone: not having someone to share the stupid little stories of the day with.
Think about it. Why do people on FaceBook tell us what they’re eating or about the squirrel that just did that super-cute thing or how crazy it makes them when folks do or say or wear such and such? Because those folks don’t have someone in their world who loves them so much that they want to hear those stories. You don’t call up someone and tell them these stories because you know, before you’re done, there’s gonna be that tone on the other end of the line. That “…where is this going?...” tone. The tone that says that they’re taking time out of their day to listen to this tiny little vignette from your life because they’re sure, in the end, that it will be worth it, but now that you’re two thirds of the way into the story they’re starting to realize it’s just this story. In the end they’ll just have this new, tiny, fairly “who cares?” story added to their arsenal, and that’s all that they’ll have.
But not a partner.
When you have a true partner – someone who sees it as “you and me, baby, against it all;” who looks forward to seeing you at the end of the day just because seeing you is that great; who finds THE stupidest little quirks about you just adorable or fascinating or cool or at LEAST hilarious – that person listens to these stories. Knows them for what they are right off the bat and still listens. With a smile. Laughs when you laugh, scoffs when you scoff, grumbles when you grumble. Your partner tells your silly little stories to other people! And the stupidest of your “part of my day” stories are still worthwhile to a true partner because, if nothing else, it shows them just one more tiny little facet of who you are.
As I felt my partner starting to abdicate his position I stopped telling my stories. To him, and then to everybody. Those stories suddenly looked just as stupid and pointless as they are, even to me. I even stopped posting on FB because I couldn’t avoid seeing those windows into my life as ridiculous, and certainly not worth anybody else reading. And that’s the thing I’m having the hardest time with in adjusting to solo life again. I feel like my brain is getting cluttered with these stories and there’s no release valve. They’re piling up in the corners of my brain like packing peanuts let loose before a 20” box fan. They’re small and gooey, so they gum up the works of other parts of my brain. So I guess they’re like packing peanuts dipped in Mrs. Butterworth’s.
Yeah. That’s nasty.
I’m gonna get back into the swing of this – hell, I’ve spent more of my life alone than anything else! But if, in the meantime, a pointless “part of my day” story escapes and gets on you I’m apologizing right now – sorry about that. I hope it doesn’t leave you sticky.