I am living a new kind of lonely.
I am not a martyr. I am like many people. I have lived the lonely of falling in love. I have lived the lonely of losing a job. And I have lived the lonely of becoming a mom.
Today I am living the lonely of moving out of state.
Again, no martyr here. We left for good reasons, on good terms with all of our family and friends. We live in a nicer house, on a bigger lot, in an area with way lower crime and way better schools. My husband makes more money (and likes his job). I can stay home. Our dogs bark less. Our kids play outside more. This is 100% privileged first world lonely. But it's still lonely. And lonely is hard.
This lonely has led me strange places. I put people's names in my phone like this: Shannon Lainey Mom, Roseann Neighbor on Left, South Russell 18 inch bike. Craig (of the lists) is the highlight of my free time. Most of my emails are from the Geauga County library. I've started reading D.H. Lawrence and Hemingway and Toni Morrison. I contemplate crazy crafts out of broken wooden spoons. Emerging from a long trip to Michael's, I expect to see the parking lot in Ellicott City, Maryland and end up in the parking lot in Aurora, Ohio.
I find my car, of course, because that is still the same, but I never know how to get anywhere. And I feel lost.
So I stay home a lot. It's safe here. I have space here. I find stillness in nature, strength in yoga, grace in prayer. I find peace in my stuff, but mostly in my dogs and my daughters, my husband and our life that exists regardless of time and place.
But I say Ohio a lot. Sometimes I shout it like in the "Fifty Nifty" song I learned in fifth grade. Mostly I mumble it or grumble it. Occasionally I mock it, "No-hio, Blows-hio, O, freaking hio." Or my personal favorite, "You say Ohio, I say Goodbye-0."
The thing that really makes me grumpy, though, is how much I don't hate it. Everyone is really nice.
I still don't want to meet them.
So I spend many evenings in the bath, soaking and thinking, doubting and breathing. Because, of course, even though I am lonely, I crave time by myself. Time to wallow. Time to rest. Wallowing is tiring.
After awhile, my husband will quietly knock, just to check on me. And we will have a sweet chat. I will really look at him for the first time that day and smile. And sigh. Maybe he is lonely too.
There is space now to really see things. And that is good. It probably won't last forever. I'll conquer this lonely, just like the other ones and go back to saying Ohio in a boring manner like a politician.
But today I will be lonely. And then, one day, I will not.
Because I was never really alone in the first place.