I can’t remember when it became important for me to spend time alone. It was possibly in my 40’s. I separated from my first husband when I was 41, and around that time, I became more and more comfortable with my own company.
Before then, I needed to surround myself with people. I felt it necessary to spend my time in the company of others. I didn’t know who I was, and it was through the divorce, that I began to discover who I really was on the inside. My description of my life, since then, is “The Unbecoming.” To me, this journey up to where I am now, has been one of intense self-discovery. I have spent so much time, since turning 41, on uncovering all I thought I was, all I was ever told I was, and all I used to believe I was, to find out who the real Belinda always was supposed to be.
My divorce for me, was the catalyst of my self-discovery journey. It was a time of deep questioning, unraveling what it is I thought I believed about marriage, unpacking all I assumed about divorced women, and finally forgiving myself for being so hard, both on myself and others. Initially, I felt so much shame and deep regret at what I thought I was doing to my children, what I thought “God” was thinking of me, and how I was going to hold my head up in my family and community. I had sleepless nights and sorrow-filled days. But all of this was so needed for me to really begin to deeply question what it is I thought I believed.
I realised how judgemental I had been of others who had gone through what I was now experiencing. I had to look through all the layers of what I now see as false beliefs (for me, at least), to the core of my inner-most being. Regardless what others thought of me, I, for the first time ever in my life, needed to be at peace with my decisions. Out of utter desperation and absolute necessity, I removed myself from my previous ‘friendship’ circle. The judgement I was experiencing from many of my ‘friends’, was too much to bear. My experience with divorce was one of profound loneliness. At the time, this felt like abandonment, but as I look back over my life, I see this as the greatest gift the Universe could ever have given me.
Today, my views on marriage, relationships and life in general, are vastly different from the naive 41 year old’s. The most constant thing in my life, is change, and I welcome it gladly. My greatest fear was being alone. Well, I’ve been there – and I survived! Not only did I survive, but I came out the other side with the most beautiful and personal gift – I got acquainted with the ‘real’ me. Through facing my deepest fear directly, I found out so much about myself. I can stand for what I believe in, regardless the opinions of others. I can stand up for those I now perceive as bullied by others, and am a champion for women who need to reinvent themselves after years of being in the shadow of others. I am intensely in touch with my emotions and feel things on a deep level! My love for others, no longer excludes myself. In fact, I prioritise myself. I am forgiving of myself and others. I am an extremely kind and compassionate person. No, I never knew this about myself before…
Did solitude destroy me? The opposite is in fact true. It showed me who I always was and needed to discover under the layers of deception, unwittingly placed on me by my parents, teachers, friends and those in authority over me. Since my divorce, it has become increasingly important for me, to spend time alone, and even more so, as I age. Alone-time is no longer a punishment, a separation – it is my greatest desire and my most precious gift to myself.
My discovery – the more time I spent alone, the more I got to know myself. The more I got to know myself, the more I desired to change from being the co-dependent woman I thought I was, to the strong, hugely independent woman I came to know I was always meant to be! Yes, solitude is my best friend. Thank you for your gifts xo