“We need to need people more,” my sororal soulmate, Celine, once told me in one of my “I-want-to-stay-isolated” moments. It’s a gargantuan task. I am content with my puny inner circle. Isolation is comfort. It always has been for me. A double-edged sword too. When I refrain from talking to people for extended periods, I enjoy it too much that I have a hard time pulling myself out to reconnect. Then it gets lonely. Then I start to get so comfortable with the loneliness that I crave it. Then I no longer speak to anyone. Then I get more depressed. It becomes cyclical.
I thought I’d use the five-day long weekend writing and compiling manuscripts for ops and competitions. But I ended up spending half of it on chores, half dealing with the re-emergence of grief. It hasn’t felt this hard-hitting in months. Now it’s Monday, I return to my day job tomorrow, and I haven’t written a single word for a manuscript.
But it was that or I don’t reach out to people. I had to. Choosing the sole company of my thoughts would be disastrous.
So I opened up to a random online friend and to long-time friends. Offered to read tarot cards for them. It refocused my mind and lifted a weight. I let Lia welcome me into her arms after she found me crying in the living room this morning. We didn’t speak. Silence is a language we understand well in this house. I fixed her mac and cheese and chicken after we let go.
Service makes me feel better when sorrow washes over me. I used to think it’s trauma programming, growing up with a narcissist and having to work for love and approval constantly. Perhaps, partly it still is. But I realized it’s also how I love and it’s not such a terrible thing to offer your love, even when you’re still on the mend, to people who, time and again, show up for you. To pour your love into the right cups this time around – people whose love you don’t always have to work hard for for so little an exchange or none. A full cup for a full cup.
We need to need people more. The right ones will feel as good – if not better – than isolation. They will remind you why community is the thread that connects us to existence. To ourselves. To love.