Bows and Bridges, Bridges and Bows: On Learning To Be Alone

Billiard balls on pool table. Perfect composition of pool balls

My eyes fly open, like they do almost every night now. I think about looking at the phone to see what time it is. Sometimes it’s easier not to know so I don’t calculate how many hours it is until I have to wake up. Against my better judgment, I press the button and the screen lights tup o show it’s 12:07 a.m. Also, not a single call, text message, Facebook, Instagram or Twitter alert, which is technically okay because it’s a work night, but I try not to take this as a larger sign about the state of my social life or how funny I am. I adjust onto my back and take a deep breath. I really thought tonight would be the night I stayed asleep. But I only lasted two hours, even though going to bed I was absolutely dead on my feet. Even the dog is passed out at the foot of the bed, and she always wakes up when I do.

I roll over onto my side and tuck my hands into a prayer position against my face. I’ve been here before. With my body so, so exhausted, but my brain so very, very wide awake. Even though I’ve learned that nothing obsessed over in the middle of the night is ever as important in the morning. I have years of practice in talking myself down. I know anxiety changes nothing. The best you can do is trust that what felt right at the time was. What is meant to be will be. I know all this, and yet I’m still awake at midnight when I shouldn’t be.

From this contemplative and trying-not-to-panic position, a thought pops into my head. “I want my life hand-delivered to me in a perfect package. Tied with a perfect little bow. All of the time.”

I sit up. “That’s the problem,” I say to myself. “That’s it, right there.” I want everything gorgeous and tidy and easy. But who doesn’t? That is not unique. It’s also completely unrealistic. Everyone wants things handed to them. So what? I think the problem is — I feel like I especially do. When things don’t go my way the first time, or when I can’t see the path ahead clearly, or – let’s be real – when people and situations don’t just instantly bend to my will, I start to obsess. Overthink. Overanalyze. I don’t need any help from anyone or anything to go crazy. I drive myself insane.

Share This Post:
    • T-Lex

      Really loved this post, good luck!

      • Lia LoBello

        Thank you T-Lex!

    • Lorenzo Kaufman

      Amazing piece. This was really well done.

      • Lia LoBello

        Thank you, Lorenzo!

    • Samantha Escobar

      This was really, really wonderful. I’m so glad you wrote it.

      • Lia LoBello

        Thank you, Samantha! I really appreciate it!

    • Carrie

      I’ve got 3 years on you, and while I’m working on being at peace with this situation, the truth is that I’m not. Reading this helped so thanks for writing.

      • Lia LoBello

        I’m so glad to hear that, Carrie. I wish you the best of luck.

    • teenytinyb

      Fab piece, you are your own goddamn fate

      • Lia LoBello

        Thanks TeenyTinyB!

    • Ramona

      Thank you for writing this. It hit home, and was honest to boot. It was a pleasure to read such a refreshing article.

      • Lia LoBello

        Many thanks, Ramona. I am so glad you liked it.

    • LT

      Great article! You’re right, loneliness can cause people to act “weird.” But hey, once I’m through the front door – whoops there go my pants! :)

      • Lia LoBello


    • DRUFUS

      Come December 2013 I will have 20 years on you. Looking back now, I know, I should have kept my best friend. He was awesome

      • Lia LoBello

        Hi Drufus, Wow. I can only hope that I don’t look back with regret. That is the scary part of the whole endeavor.

    • Will Brewster

      This is such a great article, Lia. It’s very moving and so much of it will resonate with lots of people. You’re very brave to put your inner thoughts into writing. The world is full of marvelous opportunities and you’re a marvelous person so I know things will turn out great for you! Will