Two people, one for the outside world to see one for only me to know. The outside world sees the smile, the upbeat optimism that makes it seem nothing can ever bring me down. But inside I’m hurting, wondering what I did to deserve this lot in life. Feelings of loneliness flood over me even when I’m in a room full of family and friends. Thoughts of dread preoccupy my mind. The slightest mention of you don’t look good or the question what’s the matter with you is met with the response I’m fine or nothing. But the truth is the question itself is frightening and I don’t want to hear it or think about it. Often times I’ll snap at the person asking the question. I know they ask out of concern but I’m tired of thinking about the negative and those questions just flood my mind with the negative.
Alas in the times when I’m feeling good there is no family to share the good times with and by family I mean MY family, a wife, children, grandchildren. I missed out on that, stupid decisions and wrong choices on my part I guess. This is just one more thing I bury deep inside. Because when I express it to family members they don’t understand the hole it has left in my soul, they feel as if I am not valuing them. That of could not be further from the truth I know how much they love me and I love them but as close as we are they’re not MY family not my wife, my children, my grandchildren. It’s something I have always dreamed I would experience in my life but never have. Instead I look on with jealousy as others share stories of their child’s success or even failures. Their lives with their spouses good and bad. Especially the bad because they found a way to work through it while it seems it was always easier for people to walk away from me. Am I that hard to love? Is it not worth the effort to try and make it work with me? Has anyone ever really loved me?
I have always been a believer in a higher power if not religion itself, after all who needs a third party to talk to God. But lately that belief has been shaken. I always tried to do the right thing. I always tried to live right. They say God doesn’t give you more than you can handle but you know what I’m getting pretty close to all I can handle.
Many times I am thankful for that other person, the side the outside world sees. He is filled with high self esteem and boundless optimism. Truth be told if I didn’t have that side to pull from I don’t know where I would be. Work is my refuge. It’s there I pour my heart into. It gives me purpose, I know I’m respected there, I know I’m good at what I do there. I don’t really know what I would do without it besides the obvious loss of income I wonder how losing it would impact my self esteem. Without it would I just fall into a pit of self despair. Again not something I share with anybody most times all you’ll get is the cliche answers – it could be worst, at least you’ve got better than (insert name), be thankful for what you have. Guess what I am thankful, I know it could be worst, I know others have it tougher. That doesn’t make it any better for me because I’m looking at how it impacts me and only me not someone else.
Anyway I know this post has been kind of all over the place I guess I just needed to vent. In the meantime i will lean on the happy side of me and hope things turn around after all I’m Carl Cooke damn it and at the end of the day nothing can stop me…at least I hope.
You just went into Rite Aide to buy some toothpaste and everywhere you looked there were reminders of that February holiday coming up, Valentine’s Day. For many Valentine’s Day is a happy occasion it’s the one “official” day in the year in which we express our feelings of love for that someone special, feelings that we do or should express every day, but even though we should express those feeling every day let’s remember the important reason for this “official” day of expression, the economy, because without it how else could the florist justify that ridiculous marked up for roses. But I digress let get back to the topic at hand. While so many find Valentine’s Day to be a day of joy and love for others it can be overwhelming. No one to send flowers to or receive flowers from. No dinner date. No one’s hand to hold as you walk down the street. No one to cuddle with as the day draws to an end. For many this “official” day of love reminds them that they are single and while they have been telling themselves and anyone who would listen that they love being single when faced with so much love being thrown in their face they are forced to face an ugly truth, being single sucks. Not that they would ever admit it to anyone. So, they solider on smiling and laughing on the outside while crying on the inside determined not to show anyone how they truly feel. Of course, this facade makes it impossible for anyone to offer them a shoulder to lean on, because as far as everyone can tell they’re just fine. So, that leaves it up them to right the ship on their own and boy that’s not easy. If you’re one these people let me offer my unsolicited three steps plan to start the healing process. Step one is to understand that being single does not mean you are alone. If you took a step back and counted your friends, friends who love you and are always there you would know you are not alone. If you took a step back and thought about your family. Mothers and Fathers, Brothers and Sisters, Aunt and Uncles and those countless cousins who love you to death you would know you are not alone. Romantic relationship may come and go but many of your friends and families have been in your life longer than you can remember and they don’t plan on going anywhere. The second step is not too despair, not too give up hope. Once hope is lost gone is any chance of finding the happiness you are seeking. You see life is a journey and each day represents a new step and each new step represents new possibilities. One day that next step will lead you to the happiness you are seeking but only if you can maintain the strength to take that next step. So, don’t despair. The last part of the process is to not give up on love. It may have hurt, left a giant scar on your soul. But rather than run from it, hide from it, pretend it doesn’t exist, you should embrace it, learn from it, grow from it, gain strength from it. Make your hurt a symbol of strength, of survival. Make your hurt a symbol of your rebirth. So, there you have it three steps for you to follow on your journey back to happiness. Good Luck
Can anybody find me somebody to love?
Each morning I get up I die a little
Can barely stand on my feet
Take a look in the mirror and cry
Lord what you’re doing to me
I have spent all my years in believing you
But I just can’t get no relief,
Can anybody find me somebody to love?
When Queen’s lead vocalist and pianist the incomparable Freddie Mercury wrote those words as the opening to the song Somebody to Love he may as well have been speaking for the millions of people who find themselves alone at this time of the year. We survived going to the family Thanksgiving dinner solo. The empty feeling of waking up on Christmas morning knowing there would be no smile, no hug, no I love you from our significant other as they unwrapped their gift. No special person to kiss as the clock struck midnight on New Year’s Eve. We did it all with a smile, a smile that hid the tears that we let only the mirror see. Now comes our last hurdle, Valentine’s day. It’s seemingly everywhere. In the drug store card aisle, on the radio and television, we swear if we hear one more advertisement for 1-800-Flowers or Kay Jewelers and that annoying every kiss begins with K jingle we’re going to scream. The worst reminder, our own e-mail because not only does it remind us that we’re alone but also that we weren’t always. It reminds us of what once was because we forgot to cancel that reminder from 1-800-Flowers that Valentine’s day is coming up and we should make it a special one for (insert name) by placing our order early this year. We thought we would be over this feeling by now. We thought we had done everything right. We focused on ourself. Dropped a few pounds, brought some new clothes, went back to school or got a new job. We followed all the self-help books right down to the letter, hell we even stopped going to that psychic who we had hoped would tell us that (insert name) was coming back. To everyone else we are doing just fine; we’re doing so much better they all say, I don’t even think about them anymore we say. Yet when no one is around and we’re alone in our thoughts we still ask ourselves why? Why can’t I find someone to love? We thought we had showed them how much we loved them and we thought they loved us back. We ask ourselves every chance we get why and yet as Freddie Mercury said we just can’t get no relief. Is it so much to ask to have someone’s hand to hold, lips to kiss, someone to lay down with every night and wake to every morning, someone to love we ask. In many ways our lives seems so empty we wonder will it ever not be. But next time we look in that mirror and see our tears falling down remember our own heart, remember our own soul. Remember who we are and what we can give. Remember we have someone to love and that person is ourselves. As corny as that sounds it’s truer than we could ever imagine. I won’t pretend that it will make the pain go completely away, I won’t pretend that it will completely fill that void of wanting someone to share our life with. I know it won’t because it didn’t for me. But it did help me take a step back and remember just how special I really was and with that realization I came to understand as you will also that one day you’ll have two people to love yourself and that someone special.