They aren't the same, you know. You don't have to be alone to be lonely. In fact, I think the loneliest time in my life was when I was married, but I knew that the marriage was over. We were wrong for each other in so many ways, but I took the failure of that marriage personally. It was a tough thing to get over.
I usually love being alone. I tell people I like my company--and I honestly do. I love my Saturdays where I go to lunch and to the movies alone. It gives me a sense of quiet that I don't get Monday through Friday while I'm teaching.
I hate being lonely, though. And this time of year is the hardest for me. It is this time of the year when I wish I were part of a couple. The holidays will do that to you. This is the first time in four years that I haven't had someone in my life for Thanksgiving, and I can't help but think back to last Thanksgiving when my ex and I went out in search of dinner. We were supposed to go to TGI Friday's--I had received an email saying they were open, but when we got to the restaurant in Raleigh, they were closed. So we used my iPhone and tried to find another restaurant. Cracker Barrel had cars out the driveway and onto the street, so we knew that wasn't an option. Finally, we settled on a Golden Corral, put the data into my phone and set out to find it. When we got there, it was a Chinese restaurant--the Golden Corral had gone out of business. It was late, and we were hungry, so we went in. Imagine our surprise to find turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce on the buffet! We laughed and laughed--we were the only non-Asian people in the place. We ate turkey and sesame chicken, and it was a good day.
He and I had a lot of good days. But anyone can be happy when things are going well in a relationship. The true test in relationships doesn't happen on good days, but on bad days. Like the day of the hurricane when he wasn't here for me. I'm not sure I wrote about this, but we had been together nearly three years when I decided to have the surgery. And his response to this life-changing decision? "I don't know if I will be attracted to you if you lose a lot of weight."
Yeah. I know. I can't believe he said it either. And he tried to back-pedal...tried to say that it was because he was worried that I wouldn't be attracted to him if I lost weight. (Figure that one out, huh?) And try as I might, I couldn't put that out of my head. A great quote: "Time and words cannot be recalled." We can't take back things we've put out there--they just flounder in the universe waiting to be remembered again and again.
So he's my ex. And I'm alone for Thanksgiving. But that doesn't mean I'm not thankful. I did this for ME--not for James or any other man. And I will celebrate that...alone, but not necessarily lonely.