Posted September 6, 2019 by Prairie Wife - 3 comments
Alone isn’t a word that most people would use to describe me.
Anyone that knows me, would most likely label me as a “people person” and in my youth, I constantly sought out the company of others.
I needed to be surrounded by noise, by other people to feel comfortable.
I couldn’t fall asleep unless I had the TV or music on.
I have been with The Cowboy since I was 19 and we were married at 22.
I had my first child at 24 and my second at 26.
For over a decade I was a SAHM.
First with 2 children then 3 more came along.
The Cowboy traveled 4 days a week (or more) but I was never really alone.
My nights were filled with nursing babies and toddlers that didn’t sleep through the night.
My days were spent hanging out with like-minded moms or running errands.
I was never alone.
Eventually, I began to crave the idea of being alone.
Just a few minutes where no one was touching me.
Where no one needed me or said “mama” over and over and OVER.
I remember one time, I told The Cowboy I wanted to take a relaxing bath and asked him to please keep the Cowkids out of my hair.
After about 4 minutes I heard a tiny voice asking what I was doing and I opened my eyes to see my son. He immediately tried to crawl in the tub and my zen was completely lost as I held him back and screamed for The Cowboy to get him.
I burst into tears and blubbered hysterically, all I wanted to be was alone.
I would force myself to stay up well past the point of exhaustion to have a few moments alone watching TV or reading.
I fantasized about running away for a weekend and just sleeping and watching TV…alone.
I even looked forward to my many doctor’s appointments when I underwent my Preventive Mastectomy.
It meant four hours of driving to Denver and back…alone.
Listening to a podcast or a book on tape.
A night in a hotel room watching HGTV and eating room service, alone.
When I first started running it was always with friends, which was great, and offered much-needed adult conversation and fun.
Then I started training for my first race.
And even though I trained and ran that race with TallGirlJ, a few times I had to run alone.
At first, it scared me.
Noone to cheer me on, to ensure that I made it safely back.
The fears that I couldn’t ignore when there was nothing else to distract me surfaced.
There were times when my face was streaked with tears during my runs because of the thoughts that came in my mind, the stress that had been held at bay bubbling to the surface and breaking through.
Being alone with my thoughts didn’t feel like a good thing anymore.
But, eventually, I began to crave this alone time.
As I began to conquer longer distances I became more and more comfortable in my own skin.
Encouragement from a friend led me to become an avid hiker and in the winter, snowshoeing became my escape.
When plans to go on these adventures with others fell through, I went anyway, alone.
I learned that I was #strongenough to face the fears, to think through the problems, and to be alone on the top of a mountain with nothing but snow and trees, bitter wind and soft winter sunshine surrounding me.
Lately, when I’ve been driving back or forth to town or home, I’ve been doing it in silence.
Just me, alone.
To step back and resist the urge to fill the spaces around me with noise, with doing.
This entire last week The Cowboy has been gone hunting.
I find that for the first time in a long time, I am alone for hours on end in my home, day after day.
With no baby to nurse after the big kids are asleep, or a toddler to sooth every few hours, it’s just me and Netflix, or a good book.
Years ago I would have filled the alone with friends, a jam-packed schedule of activities to distract from it.
Instead, I sat quietly on the couch and worked.
I put the laundry away and did dishes.
I let the alone comfortably settle around me.
I unexpectedly had two hours in town to myself this week.
I had a list of people I could have called, things I could have done to fill the time.
Instead, I grabbed lunch, and sat under a tree at the park, alone.
I leaned back and felt the bark against my back, the coolness of shaded grass under my legs, and listened to the sound of the leaves in the wind.
Comfortable with the quiet, the still, the pause.
At ease with where I was, who I am, and where I’m going next.
Alone, but not lonely.