Many times, in many ways, I have found myself saying, of motherhood in particular, that isolation is the worst. To fall into a line of thinking that includes separation or apartness, to begin to believe that nobody else out there has ever been in your shoes, could possibly ever understand what you’re going through, is a scary place to be – but it has nothing do with just parenthood. This is life; and for some, it is a struggle that they will carry more heavily and for more time than others.
The idea of isolation has been rattling around in my head for some time now. In the last year it has prompted me to write posts that have broken silences, shared my truths, and declared mottos. But here I am again, still ruminating, still itching in my brain and in my hands to write about this particular topic.
Because I continue to see instances of people who feel isolated and do not speak up and I want to encourage them to think differently. Because I also see others who share their pain or their shame and I want to commend them for their bravery. Because I have been at both ends of that spectrum. Because isolation is something that can creep in slowly or pop up suddenly, even when you think you have been down this road, fought this battle, buried this hatchet and any other possible cliche you can think of to express the act of moving on from the past and putting old hurts to rest. Because isolation is hurt. At least in my world. Nothing prompts me to feel more desolate or desperate than to feel like I have nowhere to turn and no one to listen. Or that I do not have the freedom to share certain parts of myself or my experiences. In other words, feeling cut off from others, introvert that I may be, cuts quickly to my core. Even when my rational, logical brain tells me, of course you have places to turn, isolation can still swoop in and take over. And it is still, always the worst.
Learning to see beyond these moments of “I’m the only one.” and “Who can I talk to?” may in fact be a life-long process, but it is one I know, also down to my core, that is worth continuing. Again, finding those trusted advisors and the people who are YOUR people can take time as well as trial and error. Just because moments of doubt or hurt or aloneness suddenly appear (or reappear) does not mean all past work is wasted. There are people out there who will get it, who will listen, who will in fact give care to your heart just as you would do for theirs. There are people who have been before or currently are going through what you now face. Always. We just need to remember that speaking up and connecting with others are worthy causes, even when doing so is scary as hell.
If your heart is something you guard closely (I do not blame you one bit for this; I do the same), keep searching. Keep reaching out. Keep being brave as you dare to find those who will not isolate you because in no one thing are you ever truly alone.
And on that serious note, I leave you with this – giraffe friends. Because they make my heart happy and even in that, I’m guessing I’m not the only one.