Lessons Learned from Loneliness

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Meenu Chakravarty

‘Loneliness is a curse’, or so did I think for a long time. As a child, adolescent and as an adult, you are often advised to walk in a group, as that ensures security and company understandably makes you less vulnerable to various threats. Most commonly the threat comes from the societal vultures that are out on a hunt, desperately looking for a prey to pounce on. Despite being a woman of this century that is visibly marked by revolutionary ideologies, and despite being a financially independent woman, I did not dare to think otherwise. Till very recently, when I was forced by the situations to befriend this long dreaded enemy of mine, alias loneliness.

Hit by a personal tragedy, which made me a single woman over night, worse still a single mother and a single daughter in law. I coined the term ‘single daughter-in-law’ since there was no other in my family who had the privilege of occupying that throne! I lost my husband who was the only child of the family and my son is the only grandson of the family. The set back, the trauma, the empty four walls which had the haunting picture of the departed, the mounting sympathy vibes of close ones directly attacked my subconscious. I lost faith in god, which was nothing unusual for that state, but what was worrisome was I lost faith in myself, the relationships around me and every thing I saw coming towards me. Before I could realize I felt myself in a big bloated balloon of negativity and gloom. And what was most scary was that I was alone here. I had no clue about how to come out of it, how to deflate or burst this balloon, which was getting bigger and bigger with each passing day. It was like an epidemic spreading from my mind, to my body, making me emotionally and physically weak. I took a vacation to an exotic place hoping it would improve the mental and the physical condition, but it didn’t do much, other than providing a temporary high, which was priced exorbitantly.

A conscious effort of befriending new people did come to my rescue but the problem arose from the fact my recurring mood swings could not allow those new friends to stay close after some time.

That is when I realized, that I need to combat this for my sanity, and for my son’s happiness. That was the word- ‘happiness’ I was missing it so badly, and continuously looking for reasons to get that back in my life. Or may be not. I was looking for reasons to make me combat with the negative energy, not focusing much on this very simple and positive cure for my ailment. The ailment was of course, loneliness.

I was constantly thinking about ways to end my loneliness, not realizing that this loneliness is mine! My loneliness is my space that provides me with my identity, giving me an opportunity of carving the future in whatever design, pattern and colors I want to see it. That moment was my moment, where I understood so much about myself, about things around me and about the things that I can achieve, I can capture and I can carry myself to my old age, may be to my next life or to the life after that.

The fear was gone and I suddenly felt calmness in my heart and peace in my body. The atoms, the protons and all the unnecessary morons moving at a speed of light had come to a stand still and I could breathe without feeling like a burden.

I began to write whatever came to my mind, and to my surprise I realized I managed to sort a lot of my disjointed thoughts and memories, I began to paint on an empty canvas (had never held a painting brush in my hand before this) with colors that I wanted to use at that very point, with no preconceived designs or sketches. My loneliness surprisingly allowed me to pour out my grief and in return gained confidence, friends and a measure of happiness. Ironically, a part of my job profile includes handling team engagement activities, so I work on engagement and enablement and I work with real people. But I still visit my loneliness every now and then, exchanging notes and making happiness!

The lessons I learnt from my loneliness were shocking but true. It allowed me to be me. I could cry, scream, laugh, dance, sing in that space, which exclusively belonged to me and come out of it feeling contented.

It gave me a reason to love the person I was, even in the worst crisis. It did not expect me to change or alter or move away from the real me.

It also gave me the space to understand what really matters to me and what does not affect my living. In this space, I met people in my mind who I would like to stay close to, and who I would like to push away.

And last but not the least, it connected me to the inner me, which had so much hidden potential that I wasn’t aware of, and some how provided the confidence to go for it, to chase all of it and more. It worked!

About Meenu

Meenu Chakravarty is 37, a working professional and a single parent to a 10 year lad who is a bundle of joy and mischief. She is passionate about writing and feels writing works like therapy for her, makes her emote through words. Her journey of life has been quite eventful and she does not regret a tiny bit. She continues her journey carrying a bag full of memories and hopes to add many more in the times to come…

  • Leela Pal Chaudhuri

    Yes both solitude and society are the crux of a meaningful life. All the best!

  • Sunila Vig

    Meenu, your words, your plight squeezed at my heart and then your acceptance, healing and peace came along. Hugs to you and your bundle of joy.