On Standing Alone

When I was 8 years old I left my home. I left my family.  I walked into a police station. And said “I’m done, no more” I fantasized that a happy normal family would adopt me but that turned out to be a pipe dream. I lived in 18 different foster homes before I aged out at 18.  Nine different Christmases. Countless foster siblings a host of different “parents” and a single truth, I was alone.

I was alone as I walked into each different school. Each time the new kid-

I was alone as I approached a table and faced to decisions; sit by myself or risk being rejected…again.

I was alone at the new church, where new “parents” were praised for “generous hearts” but within closed walls no such generosity was displayed.

I was alone as with clumsy fingers I tried to affix the buttoner on the lapel of my pitying dates, homecoming suit, I in a dated hand- me- down dress four sizes too big.

I was alone as I headed off to college, having no parents no mentors, no anything.

I made mistakes. I did things to try to STOP BEING LONELY. I threw myself into bad situations, wrong relationships, and ill-thought-out spiritual choices, All to be a part of something. To just not be alone ANYMORE.

And one day I realized…There IS POWER IN BEING ALONE.

Gandhi wrote-

“The best way to find yourself is in service to others’

One day I decided to look for another person sitting by themselves at the lunch table and started a conversation. When they didn’t reject me, I was encouraged to try again, I found that trying to comfort someone else met a need within myself.

I saw the hypocrisy, of my Pseudo families, for what they were. And made notes to myself of what I did and didn’t want for my own one day family.

I started to see being alone as a gift. A clean canvas, I have never been encumbered by anyone else’s demands. I’ve rarely felt pressure to settle for something not within my own vision. Since I was alone I alone was responsible for my decisions, I learned to make ones I could live with.

When I have been tempted to do REALLY Stupid Things, I’ve mostly found within myself that hard-won resilience to walk away. To leave it behind and not look back and to know that despite what anyone else might think or say, in the end, I would be okay.

So is this a selfish perspective? Perhaps. Unquestionably life taught me to be cautious, careful and a bit self-centered but, what is the alternative?

In my version of being self- centered I strive to be “self-aware” Conscious of both my strengths and my weaknesses and I acknowledge that working on those weaknesses is sometimes a lifelong process. In my version even after sometimes failing miserably, I still believe and try to give myself a little grace.

Sometimes we find ourselves alone because of our own crappy choices-

Sometimes we stand alone because of our good ones.

Never stay in a situation because you are afraid to be alone-

Become best friends and advocate for that person in the mirror!

Do something today that makes you proud!

I’m rooting for you!