when the time comes to be alone.

{I wrote this a few months ago. I never published it. Today it wanted to come out. It's a lesson I'm learning over and over again, that I think is particularly relevant to my twenties. So here goes.}

Artwork credit:  Susan Seddon-boulet

Artwork credit: Susan Seddon-boulet


In the dark, the growing dark, you know that you can find the spark that guides you home, my friend.” First Aid Kit, “Josefin”


When the time comes to be alone,

when it feels as if the world is rotating on without you,

when everyone you see must have a best friend at the other end of that iPhone,

when it’s late at night and you’re home alone and the whole world is out without you,

when the absence of an invitation has left its sting on your cheek,

when you feel utterly, impossibly, hopelessly alone in the universe . . . . .


. . . . . be there. Be alone.


Sink in and feel it.

Lean back and know it.

Breathe in, and breathe out, and know that you need do nothing more to have a place on this earth.


We can let ourselves be alone.

Without the texts that don’t come, without the social media that doesn’t satisfy.

Without the familiarity that isn’t so familiar anymore, without the television that only numbs.

Without the plans, and the drinks, and the laughter, and the smiling that doesn’t feel like real smiling.


It’s okay. You don’t need it, always.

In fact, you don’t need it, ever.


Once you’ve stripped down,

once you’ve let yourself feel that kind of pain,

once you’ve let go of everything else that you could possibly hold onto,


you learn what stays.


You find a patch of ground deep, deep within you

that’s surprisingly solid.

Maybe it’s only large enough for your two feet to plant side by side, maybe it’s only large enough for one toe.

But it’s there, amidst the utter aloneness. A spot of solidity.


“To live in this world you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.” In Blackwater Woods, Mary Oliver


I’ve known a fair amount of alone in my 26 years. I think most people have.

I’ve been introverted and alone and joyous at that fact.

I’ve also felt isolated and depressed and completely lonesome.

I’ve at times felt so veiled and hidden in my own utter alone-ness that I’ve stopped for coffee just to have human interaction, or gotten excited at the sheer sound of my phone ringing.

But it’s the ones who sit with it, who let themselves feel it, who allow the tears to fall without brushing them away, who feel all the feelings without stuffing them down –

those are the ones who will Know.

Those are the ones who will come out the other side of alone

(because there is another side, I promise)

with brighter eyes  and a greater willingness and a more open heart.


They will have known the deepest, darkest alone

and will have flowed through

in a most human way --

a messy, uncontrolled, animalistic way.


It’s like the caterpillar that needs to cocoon away before it can transform.

It needs that alone in there, to become what it’s meant to be.


You cannot skip the cocoon.


(Butterflies though, don’t need to go back in once they’re out.

We might, and probably will. Over and over again.

Just when you think you’re over it,

you find yourself in it, again.

This is okay.)



This is the process, the process of Becoming.

Of Knowing. Of Learning. Of Morphing.


When the time comes to be alone,

be alone.


We’ll be waiting outside the cocoon.


"The more it feels, the better it works. We need more hearts like yours in the world, and certainly not less. Now carry your blessing back out into the world, let time do its healing, it will turn your sorrow to wisdom, your pain to gold, and where your tears of joy and sorrow fall, love will grow." DOITGIRL