Once upon a time, I lived another life.
I threw the sheets off in the morning, slipped my legs over the side of the bed, and watch a rose-gold sun rise above the horizon, out my window.
The day beckoned. I felt the warm air as a tickle on my skin.
"It's going to be a hot one today!" I said, to no one in-particular. Maybe it was to the dog. The dog was there. Not our dog. Not our Emily. This was a different dog. A smaller dog.
The dog said nothing in return.
In this other life, I met the morning with coffee, and oatmeal cookies.
I somehow felt so alone, in this other life, it was a scar across my chest. The loneliness would never leave me. I admit, rather sadly, that I didn't want it to leave me. I was comfortable with it. We had made friends, over time.
Oh, when if first invaded my life, I pushed it away. I cried awful tears and threw pillows and blankets and soft things that I was surrounded with. I screamed at it, "Go away!" but in the midst of my sobs, no one heard me.
"Please," I whispered, controlling my tears, clutching a pillow to my chest, as if to protect...what, my heart? "Go away," I said, but I think the loneliness heard, "You can stay." Because, the loneliness did not go away.
The dog, being such an emotional creature, just as we humans are, tried to displace the loneliness. The dog offered hope. The dog licked my tears away. The dog promised never to leave me. And, the loneliness began to comfort me, also. It crowded my life with indecision. Until, one day, I decided it wasn't trying to cause me pain; I decided the damp chill it brought with it was okay. Because, why not?
In the other life I lived, I went about my day without purpose. What purpose could there be, in that lonely house? Though I tried to invent, manufacture, create a purpose, I stumbled from room to room, never knowing why.
I was not me, in that other life. I don't rightly know who I was, but as I look back through the lens of time, and see that other person, watch her as she makes her foolish attempts to understand her world, I realize that the other life I lived was a necessary one. It was necessary to life it as fully as I did, in order to get here, to this life.
This life I live is full of friends, and family, and wonder. The day still starts with a rose-gold tint. The dog still sits at my feet; well, a different dog. Our Emily. I still make coffee.
In this life, I understand my purpose. It's not to be "me". I wonder about people who say they are taking time off to go find themselves. I wonder where they lost themselves. I wonder if they realize that they are a work in progress, as the popular term goes, and that when they come back from finding themselves, they will, once again, be someone else.
My purpose is to write. To share. To encourage other women to write and share. We cannot ever think we are alone, in this world. No matter how lonely we get, we are not alone. People are not meant to be alone. Yes, I know, there is a need now and then for solitude. Go, embrace your quiet moments; meditate; dream; contemplate your life growth. But, come back and be with the people around you who need you.
In my purpose, the writing does more than keep the loneliness at bay. The writing brings joy and energy to me, as I am told it does to others, now and then. I don't write to become famous our rich or recognized. I write to remind people, women especially, that they are valued and important, no matter who they are or what they do. I write to help myself understand the human condition, and in doing so, perhaps I uncover a sliver of "aha" for others, also.
You're giving me that sideways smile. The one that always says, "What?" as if something I've written is confusing or worse yet, cliche.
Is it my mention of the human condition? You think it's overdone? You think it's become so cliched, it no longer means what it meant.
What did it mean?
It means a lot to me. I use it because it's an appropriate phrase. The human condition is all of who we are - our blood, our sweat, our tears; our laughter, our joy, our fears. The human condition is not something to be ignored or made fun of. It's why we are born and why we live among others, why we build communities. We live in and among other people because the human condition dictates it.
I lived another life, once. It wasn't so long ago. I can still remember it. The images are fuzzy now. Dim as if in shadow, as if a veil has fallen over them. But I FEEL that life, inside of me. And, while I am joyful that I left it behind, I sometimes wish I could go back. Comfort that girl. Tell her to believe in herself.
Sometimes, when my other life tries to revive itself, when it begins to creep back into this life, when it pulls the veil up enough to get a toe through, to peek beyond the gray stillness of the world it lives in, I have to push it back. I have to turn my back on it. I try to be gentle, because the other life I lived is part of my human condition. And, as such, it deserves my respect.
I lived another life, not that long ago. And now, I live this life. And this life is the life I choose to keep.