What I Learned From A Week Alone

Tom was away for an excursion all week. I learned a lot during that time.

We said goodbye last Saturday, after waking up and having breakfast together. Every tiny moment seemed more precious and significant than before because I knew I would not experience it for some time, and maybe never again. To wake up and kiss his cheek, to hear his sleepy sounds, stroke his warm shoulder. To sit across from him at breakfast and talk to him, watch his lovely hands with the one finger that always gets yoghurt on it, to hear his voice and accent, look at his face, into his eyes. When we were ready, we hugged and kissed and Tom seemed to feel the weight of the moment, too. I asked him to take care of himself and he said he would, and we both said we would miss each other. Then we left the house and parted at the garden gate. He had to catch the tram to the station, and I the bus to ballet class. It was a touching moment, our last kiss, and a rare deep look into his eyes in bright daylight. His eyes are blue and brown. We turned around several times to wave and at last I saw him walk away. He always looks especially small and bald and pale and unattractive when he is walking away from me, or when I see him from afar, but I love him nonetheless. I missed him more than usual that weekend because I knew he would be gone all week. And there was always, always the thought that he might never return. Accidental or sudden death is always a possibility, but travel seems more dangerous.

I knew I would miss him terribly, and find it hard to be alone, so I decided to go back to my ‘old life’ and take ballet classes every day and try to take an interest in other things. Deep down I was afraid of also falling back into other parts of my old life, like depression and binge eating and staying home sick when I wasn’t really physically ill. Not being able to look forward to Tom at the end of the day made me feel lost and empty, as if I had no joy left in my life. In autumn, when we were getting to know each other and meeting every week and I was still wondering what would come of it all, I had felt the same, I remember. But then I had been able to turn it around, tell myself I wasn’t dependent on him, to find other things in my life that gave me the same feeling of happiness as Tom’s attention. Now, I knew I was in too deep. I had let myself indulge in the bliss of being with Tom, and was addicted to that bliss now.

I did end up eating too much on two days, and I did stay at home for a day and a half, so I wasn’t entirely successful. But: I managed to postpone those things, do an important presentation, and stay more or less conscious. All in all, I am proud of myself because I have made progress. I am not where I want to be, but a lot closer.

Tom and I couldn’t write much, just twice a day usually, which was unexpected and made it even harder to feel connected to him. I wrote that I was missing him, but held back because I felt weak and dependent, and didn’t want to seem like that in Tom’s eyes, or make him feel guilty for going away. But then Tom wrote saying he ‘was missing me extremely’, and that was such a relief. So, maybe I wasn’t mad and what I was feeling is normal when you’re in love? It even got easier to be without Tom after a few days. The vivid memories faded a little and other thoughts came back, and I was busy. I slept much better, too, having the bed to myself and not waking up cramped because we had been holding each other all night. Nevertheless, going to sleep and waking up were the hardest parts, because they had been some of the sweetest moments.

I was reflecting a lot, too, on that feeling of ‘no joy’ without Tom. It was not at all to my liking to be so utterly dependent on Tom. What if I lost him? There are not just accidents, but what if he fell in love with somebody else, or fell out of love with me and left me? What if he had to move away for some reason? Would my life be over, would I suffer from a severe depression and gain back all my weight? It certainly seemed possible, and that thought scared me very much. I know that feeling of emptiness and no joy. It comes when I feel depressed. And I had felt exactly the same before when I had to work longer and miss my ballet class. It seems that for most of my adult life, I have needed a daily ‘fix’ of happiness or ecstasy. It used to be eating, then ballet or other exercise, and lately has become Tom. I spoke about it to Mrs. H, too, and she agreed that those were signs of addiction. We explored alternatives, and I discovered the feeling of calm and ‘solace’ I sometimes feel, when I am deeply unhappy and stop fighting it, or when I have eaten too much and forgiven myself. This is what I could have instead of desperately chasing the next ‘fix’. If I can resist the urge to eat, if Tom is not there, if I can’t listen to music or exercise or dance, this is what remains. I need to go there and explore it. The voices of the distractions are just so loud that I always follow them. But now that I know, I want to explore. It’s hard, I have only been trying one day. It’s very uncomfortable. But I think my next step lies there, my freedom lies there. So many things I am afraid of right now tie into this: loss and loneliness, illness and injury etc.

This doesn’t mean I won’t be with Tom, or not enjoy every second of it. I just need to do it consciously, and remain aware of how I feel, and that there are alternatives. Not necessarily other ‘highs’, but that place of calm solace. Ever since that realisation, I have been happier. I had cravings and urges to overeat but managed to not do it and remain calm. It is new and interesting and still very hard to grasp or write about, but good, very good.

About annalienor

Lover of beauty, adult ballet student, deliberate creator wannabe.
This entry was posted in Health, Love, Milestone, Moment, Travel. Bookmark the permalink.

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