On Loneliness and Being Alone

Many years ago, when I lived in the city, my biggest fear in life was loneliness. I even feared it so much that I got married to the wrong man, believing I had forever protected myself against feeling lonely ever again. It wasn’t as clear to me then of course, but it’s probably pretty close to the truth.

Then something happened that turned my life upside down. I had a dream one night about moving out to an isolated island far far out in the ocean. That dream was so vivid to me that it turned out to be the start of the end of my marriage, after which I quit my job and left. Suddenly I found myself on an island where I was one of three inhabitants. It was about as lonely as it could get. And that, I believe was when you and I got in touch for the first time, Aja?

It turned out that loneliness wasn’t such a horrible thing after all. I spent the first couple of days crying inside a cave, looking at the giant endless ocean, feeling as lonely as the ocean was big. Then I started to discover the freedom that lies in being alone. For the next few months, I ran around exploring the area, searching the beach for treasures, learning how to meditate, writing a novel, fishing for crabs, and talking loads and loads to myself.

A part of me never let that go. For one, I never moved back to the city. And since then, I’ve never been as happy in a relationship as I am on my own. Like yesterday evening, I put on a white dress and danced around the living room listening to Max Richter and burning sage. I felt so at one with everything, so present and alive. Somehow I never really feel that way with a boyfriend. Not anyone I’ve met so far anyway. It turned out that by facing my greatest fear, I also found a lot of happiness. And best of all, it’s the sort of happiness that doesn’t rely on anyone or anything, it’s just there.

It is kind of fun to think about though, that you’ve been with me on this whole journey. During all the ups and downs since I quit my former life completely. Because even though I’ve spent most of these years in my own company, it’s been nice to have someone to share it with. Being alone is sure not the same thing as being lonely!

-Agathe

 

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You Didn’t Do A Terrible Thing. You Feel That? It’s Called “Relief”.


Let me tell you.  Ever since I started writing on the internet and becoming more of an activist and a writer, I have found that I have lost a few friends along the way.  I put “friends” in italics because you can’t see the marvelous side eye I’m giving when I think about it.  And quite a few of them happened to be white males.   Some were men that I always felt uncomfortable with because they had sexist, racist beliefs that they passed off as clever hipster jokes.  SEXISM IS SO FUNNY!  “I’m not racist, I’ve traveled the world.”  (Real words crammed into my inbox angrily by someone who once tried to justify Trayvon Martin’s death).  A few were so privileged that the stuff that I was saying flew over their heads and when they didn’t understand, their response was to get super angry.  Because it’s clearly my fault that someone doesn’t understand intersectional feminism and white supremacy.  You did that man a favor.  He’ll think twice before he offers an unsolicited opinion to another lady friend.  He’ll thank you later, but he’ll never actually thank you but he will one day recognize that you were right.  But here’s the thing  … I never miss anyone who’s gone.  Not for a second.  I never think “Gee, I wish I had put up with a few weeks more of white male nonsense.”  Or “I feel lost and confused now that I don’t have male friends who mansplain every damn thing to me and talk over me.”

The fact that these thoughts never cross my mind for a mere second, tells me that I have done everything right in my journey to becoming a writer.  So let us celebrate our new found freedom from the weight of expectations of men and let’s throw a few more pies along the way.  I’ve got some tomatoes and rotten eggs if the pies run out.

-Aja

PS – I am actually living my best life without all that dead weight.

PPS – Dude friends often take up too much space in your life while offering very little in return.

PSS – Girls have always been cool, it’s just internalized misogyny tells us that it’s “cool” to not like other girls.

(Image:  Still trying to find this one)

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I Did a Terrible Thing, and it Made Me Feel So Good

I am so done with making excuses for men. I’ve stopped doing it for my boyfriends, even those who claim to have had such hard lives that they deserve a little extra patience from me. Now I think most of them use it as an excuse to get what they want and not take responsibility for it. As if my life has been so easy… Somehow my own circumstances are overlooked for the benefit of the boys. I’m there for them, not the other way around.

I’d rather stay single forever than to once more get into this pattern, and truth is that I’m usually very happy when I’m on my own. That’s when I play loud music and dance around the living room. Or when I have trouble sleeping at night because I’m so eager to wake up to another day. Or when the magic of life has me lost for words in awe.

I have however had a soft spot for my male friends because you know, some of them just don’t know any better. I’ve let them flirt and think it was okay. I’ve let them criticise me when I haven’t asked for advice. I’ve let them trample all over me, while they thought they were doing me a favour, and I haven’t told them otherwise. But today… I had just had it. It was the last round of unsolicited opinions I could take. I snapped! And you know me well enough by now to know that I rarely lose my temper. Aja, I think I’ve lost a friend, because I was not very nice to him, but letting off some steam was probably exactly what I needed. And I honestly don’t think I want him as a friend anymore anyway. I’m so done with that sort of behaviour. I am actually very capable of thinking for my self, you know..!

In the past, I’ve had more male friends than female friends. I didn’t always get along well with women, and it was more fun with the boys anyways. I don’t see it that way anymore. Boys usually want something from you, whether it is to get you in bed or to make them feel good about themselves. And I’ve been trained to deliver. I’ve started to realise how important female friendship is, and how much I value the women in my life. So thank you for being there as my friend.

Now, let us throw some pies!

– Agathe

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New Year, New Attempt At This

GoodThoughtsNeedToGrow

So Agathe, it looks like we’re both serial blog quitters.  It’s not even like we do a hard quit, more like a slow fade.  But the thing is, I actually adore this blog.  I adore communicating with you regularly and this blog was one of the ways that we insured that we did that.  We sort of lost each other for just a little bit as we tend to do.  You never get worried because you are super relaxed and chilled out in a way that most people wish they could be.  I on the other hand freak the fuck out and worry if you’re upset with me, when the truth is, sometimes we just get busy or lazy or caught up in relationships of various degrees.  But this blog is such a touchstone so I’m back to it again!  Someone told me they really enjoyed it recently and it totally shocked me and then I felt guilty for being such a bad blog caretaker.  Now that my freelance work seems to be coming to a slow point (at one point I was working 18 hour days regularly) I have a moment to catch up on things, so this blog has become a priority again.  In addition to my daily Facebook video about fashion, politics and social justice.  That has actually become one of the bright things in my life.   I enjoy doing it and sometimes I feel like my words, which can be difficult to understand, come across easier to digest there.

But mostly I feel we can’t abandon this blog because “Never Date A Gemini” has become that blog post that people ALWAYS comment on.  Friendships have been formed there and it’s making me think you should write about astrological signs and relationships more often.  Because you obviously have a knack for it!  Anyway, good to see you again!  Let’s get this party started!

–  Aja

(Illustration by Saskia Keultjes)

 

 

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pilesofbooks

Every six months I have to drive my mother to an appointment on the other side of the state.  It takes an hour and some change, so we leave nice and early and she stresses out the entire ride there.  If everyone has a “thing” my mother’s “thing” is stressing about being late for things in a manner that is the ultimate fear of missing out.  I used to immediately tune her out but now my method is to put on a book on tape.  Right now the current rotation is Bringing Up Bébé, which is surprisingly … hilarious.  (I read a lot of parenting books … even though I don’t have kids.  I know.  But it’s good anthropology.)

Anyway at some point, the author refers to her husband’s habit of making piles of things on the floor as a sign of depression.  At that moment, my mother and I both whipped our heads around and gave each other a stare.  Not an accusing stare for making piles, but accusing the other person of judging you by the piles you know you make on the floor.  And then we both started laughing.

-Aja

(Photo: here)

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Love?

Nope

Snippets of our musings about love.

i feel like no matter who or how, it’s too time consuming. I end up spending my time pleasing them and making it work, and missing other opportunities.   I guess I can see myself dating someone at some point, but it would have to be someone who’d make me better, and who’d I could collaborate with on project”

“Interesting.  Me?  I just don’t want to uproot my life for any man right now.   Unless it’s something I’m into 200%.  I’m not halfassing romance at this point in my life.”

 
“i just want to get my own life started and get into writing again.”
“I don’t want to tire myself with any elses emotions, dreams or desires but my own right now.  I don’t even care if it sounds selfish.”

 

Looks like in the new year they’ll be lots of creative projects but not as much talks about love.  But that’s a good thing, I think.

–  A + A
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