Pass Through the Glass


Loneliness isn't lonely; it's the human condition. We are not meant to be strangers unto our very selves, but feeling like strangers in our world—even to those closest to us—is not an isolated feeling.

Often I feel like I am standing outside of my own life looking through a plate glass window that I cannot pass. On the other side are those I love. I have watched my husband and sons play with a freedom and ease of soul that was foreign to me.  Their “otherness”, no, my “otherness” weighed my legs down with chains making it frequently impossible for me to enter in to their joy.

I have been on the other side of the plate glass window noticing women share glances and inside jokes of connection and friendship and wondered at the intimacy. Friends respond to invitations on Facebook to parties I was not party to.  People speak of movies and books they love and recommend and I have tried to watch or read many of them but too often - after the first few minutes – shake my head and in dismay walk away. How do they like that? I do not share many, oh so many of my friend’s experiences.

My immediate family is a close one. My husband and I, together with our sons can talk honestly about matters of the heart. Difficult subjects need to be handled with care but we are committed to the dialogue because we are committed to each other. And yet… so frequently, though loved and loving, I feel like an island and they like a mystery.

I don’t fit.

I’m outside.

Something must be bent and broken within me.

With my male family, (even our pets are boys), I thought perhaps it was my femaleness; my estrogen an unknown entity to their overflowing testosterone. It was easier to think that. When they were younger, I thought perhaps it was my brokenness, my shame, or my being out of shape that prevented me from belonging to them in a way that I perceived them belonging to each other.

I recently shared my experience with my husband and sons of so frequently feeling like an outsider to my world, to them, even to myself. They nodded their heads with eyes filled with compassion in shared self recognition.

In “The Tale of Two Cities”, Dickens writes about the cacophony of London and the people that teem within it. “A wonderful fact to reflect upon, that every human creature is constituted to be that profound secret and mystery to every other.”

Oh. It isn't just me. It isn't just you either. Feeling “other”, feeling “apart”, feeling that we don’t “quite fit”, is the human condition. Loneliness isn't lonely.  After gently unearthing the protective surface surrounding a person’s heart, I have yet to meet a one who does not confess to loneliness. 

We are a mystery. We are not meant to be a stranger unto our very selves but feeling like a stranger in our world, even to those closest to us, is not an isolated feeling.

Alice passed through the looking glass, and I am now attempting more than ever before to pass through the glass that makes me feel apart. When I do, I find it to be an illusion. It exists, yes. But it is not a solid. It is not impenetrable. The firmness yields at my first movement to press through and on the other side are those that need my love. Because they have too often been feeling like they are living their life looking through a plate glass window through which they cannot pass.

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