Up until I went to the convent. In my book, I enjoyed riding my horse, which ended abruptly when I left home at age fifteen. The absence of pets left a big void in my life. Being without close friends and the company of animals accentuated my sense of loneliness.
The rain has arrived and so has fall. Along with the leaves, I’m falling ever so gradually into a new and unfamiliar lifestyle. Living alone. Bit by bit, I’m falling out of loneliness and into being okay by myself. My two cats keep me company and my home is small enough that I don’t feel lost.
Many years ago, I joined a communal life after having lived in a large family with seven other siblings. Then I lived shoulder-to-shoulder and elbow-to-elbow within a community of nuns for nineteen years. After that, I continued to live with others–in and out of relationships–until now. I only lived alone for a brief time in between two of my relationships.
So it doesn’t feel right.
Friends tell me I should enjoy it, but I don’t.
Of course, being with someone doesn’t mean I was never lonely. I mostly felt alone in the convent, even though surrounded by others. I go into detail about this in my book. Which I’m still presenting to potential publishers. Eventually. By then, maybe I’ll be happy living by myself.
Until then, I continue to sometimes stumble
A grove of trees consoles me from the opposite side of the park outside my patio. Five trees as one. So, even though I feel completely solitary on this day of golden light, I remember. It’s been said that we’re never really alone. Especially not in a world of more than a billion people. Neighbors reside so closely above and beside me that draw my blinds in early evening. Reminds me of the convent where I struggled with feeling alone while living in a five-storied building with two hundred other women. My excuse then was that we weren’t allowed to talk to one another, except during brief periods of recreation. Otherwise, we observed Silence.
I yearned to talk.
To be seen and heard.
We stood alongside one another in rigid line, bumping elbows. We obediently did our best to ignore one another and stay focused upon an invisible god.
Though I no longer have to, I keep Silence again and live alone with my two cats.
Except for the grove of five, who keep watch over me from across the lawn.
I’ve rarely lived alone and have no desire to. It doesn’t take living in a separate house to feel isolated. All those years in the convent taught me that. We had rules back when that forbade us to get close to anyone. . . even one another. The only one we were encouraged to get closer to was God, and that could be pretty lonely. That was often my experience, even though I was surrounded by nuns.
Loneliness is a recurring theme in my yet-to-be-published book, Once Upon a Convent