Maya Angelou says: "Everybody needs somebody."
It was one of those days when I would crave solitude but still expansion of knowledge. A day of strenuous manual labour, with a refreshing walk by the ocean afterwards. I was eager to retire to my room and be by myself in order to charge up, reminisce about this day that passed, eat nice dinner while reading a book, listening to the crows outside or the snoring of Marjorie, my dog, laying by my side. Once seated on my reading chair, right by the side of the roof window looking out onto the lawn where guests from the adjoining hostel and camping site would pass by, I tried to focus on my book. Usually this would be easy. This was not a usual day though and as the restlessness inside would not subside, I decided that a documentary may bring me solitude as well as knowledge.
And so it was done and I recalled an interest in Maya Angelou because so many treasured quotes were once said by this special lady. I came across an interview between her and Oprah Winfrey and began watching. No documentary, yes, but what better than having an inspiring personality speak for themselves?
And oh, how she did speak to me!
‘Love heals’ was what in essence drove me to write down my thoughts now, as it opened up a new perception on one of my oldest life themes. I am aware that love heals and when it comes to integrating love, I am trying my best each and every day to do exactly that. From the gratitude affirmations upon waking when consciousness starts to enter the mind slowly upon awakening from a deep slumber. To the smile and kindness for a cashier while buying something. The attentive listening as someone starts a conversation. To the mindfulness and loving care for others, be it with a special prepared meal or a task taken on to ease their daily chores. We are all love, we come from love and we are here on this Earth Mama to let our love be our legacies.
What was new here was the statement that everybody needs somebody.
Of course there are a multitude of studies about how people with less social interaction die earlier than those who have a vibrant social life, that is no news and a lot of people are aware of this fact. More even as there is an intrinsic drive anchored within us to belong, probably because we are relying on others for the most part of growing up and would die if no one was there to care for our needs. Also people can achieve more together, when it comes to projects and bringing visions to life. New about this to me though was, that in this interview both women agreed on the fact that we have love in our life to heal, and that this love is supposed to come from another human being.
I began asking myself if my existence as it is now, without a partner and not anywhere near ready to commit to another relationship, was flawed. Instantly defensive mechanisms kicked in and a very old belief structure took over. That is that this “other” was supposed to be a love interest, a romantic relationship. Was I on the wrong path, have I overlooked the importance of a connection for healing, albeit I almost everyday seek to heal myself in order to become the best version of myself? Was I doing it “wrong”?
I grew up with the firm thought pattern that only when in a partnership, life is worthwhile. You are able to share experiences, face troubles together, give each other strength within your unique bond and connection. So, from my first romance up until my last one, I never had a real break in between. When there were months without a serious relationship, I still had men in my life whom I would not let close to them, only close enough to have some sort of relationship going on from an outside perspective. There always was someone. I could not bare to be alone, or so I thought, being alone meant I was not good enough, not worthy of love, which ultimately would lead to evolving into nothing more than a spinster, bitter and cast aside. A most terrifying outcome. Never did I appreciate the time I had to get to know myself, because I was fed the tale of the old maid and how unhappy a life this would be. Adding to this mindset and unable to appreciate being alone (and not lonely), I was an absolute mess of a human being, not awake, not aware, without reflection or intention and no clue of what to do or how to live my life. My sole, short-term goal was to have friends, money and a romantic relationship. There are a variety of other aspects too, but this sums it.
Then my last relationship broke. I was at the most vulnerable I have ever been. I had truly, with the deepest belief in my heart, thought that he was the one and that he and I would go through life together. I know better know of course, I know now that sometimes relationships, romantic or otherwise, are only valuable for a period of time in which you can learn from each other, grow with each other, and then it is time to move on with the extracted knowledge you gained. Nonetheless I was heartbroken, and what was my first reaction to that? I would really want to state that I was mature enough (being nearly 30 at the time) to take this as an opportunity to step back from dating and focus on myself, establish boundaries, reflect on the reasons why it broke apart in the first place, even think about my life as a whole and what I could learn form it.
But I did not do that.
I threw myself in a series of one night stands, connections with random men and one that, would I have been committed to it, could have easily ended up being another one of my long-term trial relationships. Me, so proud of loving to spend time by myself and be alone, not lonely but alone, out by myself with my dog for hours on end on walks- I did exactly what I had done every time before. Seeking validation through romance, through male attention, validating my existence with the amount of suitors I collected. All the while never realising that the craving for love never would be satisfied with objectified, external, superficial connections. Meaningless acquaintances to random strangers through physicality fuelled my ego and fooled me into believing that I was loved, when in truth I exploited my self-worth.
I was not happy, I was on a high of what I thought single women were supposed to do. Live out their femininity, seek out sexual adventure, when deep down I was hurting. Deprived from the one love from the one man I thought would love me until, well not until the end, that was too far to fathom for me, but at least love me a little while longer.
Only exhaustion and a sudden insight in letting myself being manipulated to commit to something I so clearly did not want to have (being a relationship) ended this series of events. No, I promised myself, I would not keep on doing that. Determined that my next romantic relationship should be my last one in this life, with someone that would love me for who I am. Someone who aspired growth as much as I do.
Three years passed and I am still single. During these years I became more and more convinced that I do not need a man. In fact after getting accustomed to the freedom of being my own “man”, I enjoyed having things my way, finding my voice, my boundaries, my core being and not having to answer to anyone else except myself (and Marjorie of course). I enjoyed being single the longer it lasted and up until this day.
So why did this interview stir up this feeling of inadequacy?
I know why, or at least I think I know why. And most probably within a few months or years I will know something different, for thoughts and perceptions change along with the person they belong to because change is a subtle byproduct of life itself.
But for now, I think I know. Within the deep core of my being I am still afraid of ending as a spinster. Not because I cannot picture myself as an old maid. I could see the perks of living by myself in my small Earthship cottage, brewing tinctures and herbs, with long white hair and a smile around and within my eyes and around my mouth, even when I am not really smiling on the outside, but from the inside all the time. But because I still nurture the thought pattern that this life, a lonely woman without a partner on her side, is not a life worth living, it is a legacy of not being worthy of love.
Deep, deep down my mother taught me that one should not be without a man. And nearly 33 years in, I still had it written all across my mind.
The feeling of inadequacy came simply from the fact that through my life perception, I immediately interpreted Maya Angelou’s words into a romantic relationship. But she did not say that, now did she?
She said “Everybody needs somebody for love to occur and heal.”
This does not imply a man nor does it imply having a romantic relationship. Since love is everywhere, we all are love in our essence, an everybody like me can find a somebody in a variety of forms and shapes. From a meaningful conversation on a camping site, to a long-lasting friendship or a rekindled bond with a sibling that was thought to be lost. Every kind of connection we make, every situation in which we bond with someone over something, can heal so long as it comes from the right place. And the right place is the heart, the heart that gives and receives love.
This epiphany is my new love, for now.
I want to revel in it, marvel at it, deliciously weave it into my everyday life and extract the graceful wisdom it holds, experience it firsthand every chance I get.
It shows me how far I have come in my own growth, mentally and spiritually. I am able to feel something, find its origin within my belief system, think about it and create an output that fulfils me.
This is the truth. And I am immensely proud of it.
It fills me with awe and humbleness to stand at a point in my life where I am able to decrypt myself, or at least parts of what make, and made, me me.
I want to end this piece with another thought.
Within this thought I choose to be, for this precise moment, my own “somebody for love to occur and heal” and thank myself for how far I have come. I thank myself for being able to love myself more and more, so much indeed that I do not bend to a feeling of inadequacy but instead find out where it comes from, decode it and make it a healing lesson. I know some day there will come somebody whom I will love. Until this day, all the somebodies that I meet along the way, my variety of selves included, will be the recurring opportunities to heal.
From my heart to yours, love and light, beloved souls.