So many states to live in

I watched ‘The Duchess’ last night with Keira Knightley. I’ve never really had any intention to watch this movie, but I thought it would be full of good sex scenes and the green English countryside and pretty dresses and sheep. And it was certainly full of that, but also full of so much sadness. I’m not sure how much of this movie is true, but it’s based on the life of Georgiana Something, Duchess of Devonshire and her husband is an awful hypocrite who doesn’t love her and sleeps with her best friend and doesn’t allow The Duchess to have her own love affair because he has a sense of ownership and entitlement.  *Sorry if you actually wanted to see this movie* I didn’t ruin much of it other than a little plot – who needs plot anyway it’s the feelings under the plot that matter to me, what makes them do what they do.

This movie sort of broke me last night. Here I was, getting sick again, hardly able to talk because my throat was so swollen, hardly able to swallow because my throat was so swollen and I’m watching the life of a beautiful woman wither away. I’m literally watching her light die.

And it occurred to me that women have been lonely for centuries. We’ve looked to other women, we’ve looked to men, we’ve had sex with other women, we’ve had sex with other men, we’ve looked to drugs and booze and cigarettes and children and work and art and leaving old tea by the bed-side to see if anyone other than ourselves will pick it up for us. And why? All to feel full of something. I wonder what loneliness makes us do, what bad and life altering choices it makes us do?

Even when we are with people, we are perpetually lonely creatures. We hold in dreams, feelings, fears. We can be completely naked and still wearing armor – a lock over the hearts of us that keeps us from pooling out a real human being. And no one would ever know if we didn’t want them to. We are fantastic actors, we are incredible at hiding things, at putting on altered skin.

I kept feeling last night, as I was watching that movie, utter hopelessness for this woman. So much so that I thought she was going to kill herself and I must say I was surprised that, as far as what the movie revealed, she didn’t even consider it. He took away love, her children at one point, passion, hope. He took away everything and she continued time and time again to face her public covered in such a lie of a life. To feel so trapped – I found myself aching for her and her loneliness.

Covered in my covers last night, I kept verbally abusing myself. Made-up conversations with my friends – the people whom I know love me the most and I’m turning them into monsters telling me, in my lonely state, that I’m not worth it, that I’m too much trouble. These are things I can only equate to my own faltering self-worth. And of course to hurt myself even more, I pick the people who I love the most in my life to see how sharp I can make the knives.

As my imagination began to spiral, I was in a scene with one of my best friends in a bar trying to cover up the slices I took out of my own arm, but not trying hard enough because I wanted her to see them. Is this what we do when we are lonely? Is this how we try to tell people – by mutilating ourselves to a point until someone notices?

As quickly as the image came into my mind, the ME of ME quickly reminded myself that that’s SO not something I would ever do. That’s not me. The healthy, sensible me who eventually gets out of her covers and takes a shower and makes coffee and looks out at the new tracks of her backyard animals in the snow would simply say, “I’m lonely today and I miss the way you touch my back when the green lamp is on. It makes me feel like I’m under tree light through the leaves.”

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4 Responses to So many states to live in

  1. Oh, sweet sad Rachel, you do have an inner strength, thank God, I was a bit worried at the end of your post. But you’ve written an essay on women and loneliness. With every observation and further remark, I was nodding my head vigorously, saying yes, yes, that’s true, oh how awful that it’s true. We are lonely, and we try to fill ourselves up with other people but even in the midst of other people we are alone inside, and doesn’t that hurt like fire?

    I don’t know what the answer is, Rachel, oh how I wish I did. You have an inner strength, sometimes whittled down to a filament, that makes you get up and shower and make coffee. That tender tensile strength needs to be nourished and cared for until it is as strong as a tree inside you which will give you some peace and comfort.

    Thank you for writing this post and for saying out clearly what some of us haven’t been able to say, or perhaps not able even to look at.

    Thank you for your courage.

    Melissa

    • rachvb says:

      Dear Melissa,
      Don’t worry, don’t worry! Despite my crazy imagination there are things in my walking life I will never won’t ever do. I find I imagine things first, try them on and realize that some times they almost immediately don’t fit, NOT AT ALL. Mostly because at the core of me the world is much too beautiful and I know that and I always come back to that. I am amazed every day at the wonderful things I see, the bad seems to haunt us more, however.
      What I see though is that there are some women out there who do do these things to themselves and that’s painful for me to even think of – all these women who feel so alone. And perhaps I’m being dramatic – I am only on my own for a week, but I was there for a few years – alone for a few years and it comes back like a flesh memory.
      Thank you for my tensile strength – I will plant it knowing that it will grow.
      Writing is courage, somehow the writing doesn’t scare me, it’s the not writing it, the letting it fester into more that seems more terrifying.
      Thank you for your visit.
      It’s always nice to “see” you.
      xo
      Rachel

  2. This was speaking to me. I emailed it to a friend so it could speak to her too. and it did.

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