It was a Friday evening and I was alone. I decided this was not going to stop me from eating in my favorite Italian Restaurant.
The line was long enough that required the hostess to hand vibrating devices to the guests, so they would have the convenience to wonder in the Mall and when the device vibrated return to the restaurant.
Unlike most times, I was happy to wait, may I dare say, I was grateful at the opportunity to “kill time.”. There was no other place to rush, no one depending on me, no kids to drive anywhere, no hungry husband to feed or wash to do. I was just responsible for myself, a new odd feeling, as if it wasn’t right, as if to be in charge of only myself, was not enough. However, this was the reality of that particular evening: I was alone and lonely. I felt incomplete after years of pouring my love and focusing on others, now I was forced to look inside myself to determine if “the container of ME” was empty, and if so, what would it take to replenish it with love of self…
This was happening after my divorce, and I was determined to not fall into the stereotype of “rebounding,” of diving head first, numb heart, into the arms of the first available male, so on the surface I wouldn’t be alone, yet feel lonely inside.This time, I was going to do it right: Get to know myself first, take my time to understand what I really needed, and more importantly, what I could offer an eventual new life- partner. Above it all, I was determined to have the courage to be alone, in the physical world, until I was comfortable enough and love myself enough to not feel lonely!
Going out alone, on a Friday night, was a first small step, which felt huge at the time…
“”How big is the party you are expecting?” the hostess asked, handing me the “call back vibrating device.”
I breathed in, I breathed out, slowly…
“Table for one, please.” I asked the restaurant hostess.
She handed me the “call back” device hesitantly:
“For a party of ONE, the wait would be longer…”
I assured her time was not a problem and grabbed the call back device.
In time, it got easier and easier to be a “party of one.” Many times it was a game I played counting how many other parties of ONE were in a movie theater for instance, and if I were the only one, I’d treat myself with ice cream, after the show, to celebrate being a party of one and feeling better and better in my own company.
After a few months of being alone and getting used to myself, I had to admit that in the last years of my married life, I was not alone, but I was lonely most of the time.Whose fault was it? His? Mine? I settled for both. Relationships are two-way streets and the grey areas are predominant. There is no such thing as his or her “fault.” When a relationship starts to deteriorate, the key is unmet expectations on both sides.
The lesson I learned is to identify my own unhealthy patterns, the “whys,” of my actions, so in the future I would be able to change repeating the same mistakes, into life lessons, from which I learned and will never repeat.
Most importantly, I understood that the only behavior and attitude I have the right and the power to change is MINE, and before I’d say “I love you,” to somebody else, I need to look in the mirror at myself, say “I love you,” and mean it.
“Party of one, please, and I don’t care how long it takes!”
Today I am alone, but by no means lonely!