July 5th, Nashville, TN.
I'm gonna admit something. I didn't watch any fireworks last night. I had a really good day and then as the sun was lowering in the sky, I wanted to go on a long run along the river with my dog. When that was done, I spent some time with a friend who needed a friend, and then I went home and made a choice to do what I wanted to do rather than to do what I thought the day expected. After a hefty social week of being out every night either playing music or listening to it, I stayed home, cooked for myself, kept the doors open to hear the neighborhood pops and cracks and sizzles, and watched a movie with my frightened dog by my side. And not once during the night did I feel lonely or really alone. I didn't feel any resentment of my choice, didn't feel the tug of FOMO ('fear of missing out'), didn't feel that old whine of "oh, I wish I had a boyfriend or a partner or at least someone to kiss...". I just felt like I'd made a choice to do what I wanted. Which was to spend the night not out, not watching fireworks, despite Nashville's standing as the country's 2nd best display (I've seen it. It's amazing. It kind of kicks Macy's NYC ass. Bless their hearts).
Truth: I was tired. 2nd Truth: Last time I watched the fireworks was with my friends as we all drank beers by the river and I didn't want even the possibility of feeling left out and abandoning my course of What Is Working For Me. I felt really really good last night. And even as the distant thunder of fireworks reverberated in my home and Flo shivered against my leg, I felt even more satisfied that I was in my home, on my couch, not having to talk to anyone, just quiet. Content. Not isolated. And it struck me that there's a difference between being alone and being lonely and that the difference could be a choice. A few years back, I wrote a blog on July 4th where I was in a totally different space. Less choice. More lonely. I read that blog today and I remembered that girl. That girl was lost. That girl was stuck. That girl lost her ability to fight, didn't have anywhere to run to fly anymore, and so that girl's feet got stuck in Freeze. A very very long Freeze. An arctic freeze of a life filled with unconscious and conscious bad choices and non-choices. Today, from where I am, I can read that blog and see the cracks just starting to spread out on the landscape, knowing a full-fledged earthquake is about to erupt for that girl. It would take years. But it came. But today, a day after July 4th, I can say with pure honesty I am grateful for that eruption and I'm grateful to not be standing on fissures anymore. Or, at least when I do find I'm walking on eggshells these days, I figure it out much more quickly and I jump the fuck off that ground. Or ask for help flying.
This was the last sentence of that 2009 blog called "Make Lonely Your Friend":
...and maybe that's the impact of Independence Day for me this year.
Not a celebration though.
A melancholy awareness of the loss of something for the gain of the unknown and a blind faith that the leap will make sense on another far away July 4th.
That girl had no idea that in 2014, THIS girl would be making sense of it all. Not so far away, in fact. Only a few years...