I am a creature of habit at the best of times. Change makes me wary. Sudden change breeds outright panic: the damp-palms, the hummingbird-heartbeat.
I have been anxious these last weeks. I have been lonely. My oldest, closest friends have been absent - new relationships, work difficulties - and I miss their company. I sit up nights with the moon, and wake early in the morning in the still-dark hush feeling lost.
And yet, and yet. There are lessons, always, to be learned. Slowly, I am growing comfortable with my own company. At first, I itched and burned and wanted desperately to be distracted from myself. I wanted to escape my body, peel out of it like a selkie leaving her wet seal-pelt behind. I drank more wine than was good for me, filled the hours with mindless TV so that I wouldn't have to deal with my feelings of rejection and unimportance.
But as the weeks go by, I am more and more able to find happiness in solitude. I am writing - lots, and often. I wrote a poem just this week which I think might be my favourite of anything I've ever written (about change, incidentally), and this makes me happy. I have time to submit work again, and had another piece of writing accepted for publishing, and this also makes me happy. But more than that, this unexpected isolation has meant time in which to really think, and to connect with what I want, and what I need. A combing of tangles, so to speak. A winnowing of weeds.
I miss my friends. I also know that they are still there, and that they still love me and I them, but that lives change, that people change and grow, move apart and come together again, like a river diverging around a rock and then rebraiding into a single, beautiful movement. I think it's a necessary thing to know that you can, after all, exist without a safety net. That you can do the unthinkable and put your faith and trust in yourself.
Always, always, I have relied on others for love and reassurance. Who knew it was there all along, in abundance. That I simply needed the time and the motivation to look for it.