I have a secret. Something I've never told anyone until now. I am ashamed of being lonely.
Turns out that's because I'm not and never was. I'll explain.
I was raised by quiet parents in a quiet place. We were OK with quiet. It was admittedly a boring place to grow up as a kid, it was still in the summer and wild in the winter. It is who I am.
So, why then, when I was in my early twenties, did I suffer from loneliness so gut wrenching that I wanted to die? Not die exactly, but not be alive while it was happening.
I had left home too soon, my Father and I just couldn't get along and I decided to try it alone.
I had initially moved in with a boyfriend (we lived in my school bus for a spell, but that's another story) but I eventually had to strike out again on my own.
I landed in a cottage on Shamrock Ranch in Pacifica, not far from where I grew up on the cliffs in Daly City, CA.
It should have been the ideal country getaway, but alas it leaked inside during the winter and was too close the the road to be peaceful. Plus, I was still young enough to be lured into the city for the nightlife, still trying to mate, still trying to find something that I couldn't find.
So I drove back and forth, to work and the nightlife in SF and home to the coast, to SF and back, to SF and back.
At a certain moment, I can remember the exact place..sitting on the back stairs of the good job that I had as a stock manager at a clothing store in Noe Valley..I broke down. I was overwhelmed with despair. I couldn't get a grip. I felt like the world was caving in around me. I couldn't express myself to anyone (god bless my boss who didn't fire me on the spot.)
And so it went..years of it. If there had been anti-depression meds on the market at that point I would have been a prime candidate for treatment. But to my knowledge there was nothing for it. I tried self-help books, counseling, mantras..nothing could snap me out of it. I was lonely, I thought, and I felt ashamed of how I felt. After all, a gal like me was tough, right? I could handle this.
I wanted a relationship but no one that I met wanted me. I had a good job, but it wasn't a career. I had a cottage but I wasn't comfortable there. My parents and I were close in proximity, but not in family (my mother and I have always been close but the situation with my Dad was miserable.) There was no internet, no email, not even cable TV! If I had been so inclined, I would have been a perfect candidate for pregnancy. I needed to be needed.
Then, I found my loom, which brings me to the present and the reason for this rant.
A series of events led me to a small weaving shop in SF. I had studied weaving briefly at SFSU and knew it was something I wanted to continue. I talked to the owner about an affordable table loom, but she recommended a floor loom (a Baby Wolf Schacht at $500! If you are a weaver you are swooning at the deal as they are now $1500+), recognizing that I wanted the foot peddle/shuttle throwing alpha state that can only be got with a floor loom.A friend helped me cart it home in her Fiat convertible, and that was that.
The whole process of setting up to weave was so deliciously complicated that I finally was comfortable in my skin. I won't say that it snapped me out of my depression-aka-loneliness, but it certainly gave me relief.
When Elizabeth and I set up my loom last weekend, which had sat untended for 20+ years, I had an epiphany. It wasn't that I was lonely all those years, it was that I lacked purpose in my life.
Maybe it's the calm that comes with Buddhism, maybe it's the centering that comes with age, but I was able to see that in my twenties I just didn't have a purpose for being. I wasn't lonely, I needn't be ashamed of what I've carried unspoken all these years, I just needed a plan.
The dance gave me that. Coming back to my loom returned me to the scary place. I still choose a solitary lifestyle but I can sit at home now in a house that I own, a stone's throw from the cottage in Pacifica, and finally feel like I have purpose.
Oh, and here's my new baby.