They threatened you with it, didn’t they?
That one thing you believed you were not strong enough to handle, the one burden you thought you could never bear.
They said they’d do it. If you didn’t comply, if you didn’t obey. If you didn’t try to belong, or change your mind. If you didn’t adapt, desist or surrender. You’d be abandoned. Left behind. Not one of us. By yourself. Apart, outside, and terribly, terribly alone.
Thing is, they really had nothing on you. They knew they had no other way to control you, to keep you down. It was all they had. But it was all they needed.
And in this way they convinced you that being alone was the very worst thing that could ever happen to you.
And once, it was.
You were small. You were young. You were vulnerable. You could not know what you did not know. You were full of innocence and you believed everything you were told. You trusted. And you trusted when they said you’d die out there. And if you didn’t do as you were told, that’s exactly what would happen. And they would see it done. Don’t you be different, don’t you stand up to me, don’t you speak up or defy me, they said. Or you’ll be out there, and nobody will help you. You’ll never make it without us. You will be alone.
And you, being trusting, and young, and small, believed. And you came to fear being alone, because they taught you aloneness was the consequences of something bad you did. Being alone meant rejection, discipline, shame. To be alone was to be outside the tribe, where nobody in their right mind would want to be. To be alone was to begin to die.
But like most things they said, this was a lie.
You are not that small, unknowing ingenue any more. You are stronger. You are wiser. You know yourself, and you’ve walked many paths they said were not for you. You were forced to handle things they warned you were too difficult for you. You stared down threats they said would kill a lesser being than you, and not only did you survive to tell the story, you made that story an anthem, and wrote it on your arms. You felt the pain of shame and resistance, and let it make you harder, let it make you softer. You would not let the fear overcome you, would not become like them. You came to study the science of fear, made it your muse. You turned it over in your hands, and named it, tamed it. You placed it where you could see it at all times, and vowed never to unleash it on others, but instead to teach them how to know it, to understand it. You learned that fear can only grow when the threat of being alone is present. And so you tell your story, of the fire, and the waves, and the long journey, and the great aloneness you found there. The aloneness that is your companion. The aloneness you have learned to use for your health, for your strength. The space you’ve made around yourself is a circle inside which your thoughts can flourish, your wisdom grows strong, your intuition binds itself stronger to your soul, and your peace expands to touch those around you. No, they cannot threaten you with making you alone any more. Because you know how to be alone. You have perfected it. You know how to ride aloneness like you ride a wave. You slide along it, you twist inside it, and it never swallows you, never overcomes you. You are the mistress of your aloneness.
And in this way, you have conquered most things the shame-makers would or could threaten you with. Because when you know how to be alone, you have defeated most of the sources of fear.
What would it take for you to know how to be alone? Learn it now by choice, or learn it at some time in the future by force, but if you will conquer you fears, learn it you must.
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