Today I dined alone.
I wasn't hungry, it wasn't because I had no one to go with, but it was because I chose to spend my time that way. I realized as I was staring out from this little cafe in central Ubud, it was the first time I had done that. I've spent years traveling alone for work, dining alone out of necessity, but never by choice. Frankly, the thought of it has always made me uncomfortable. What do I do with myself? What do I look at? What if people feel pity for me that I'm sitting alone with no one to enjoy the romantic ambiance? What if people think I'm alone and assume it's an invitation for company? I've always had a discomfort with the idea, until today. I kept my phone away, pulled out my travel journal, and enjoyed my meal in absolute peace.
As of late, I've been fighting a recurring battle of loneliness, a new feeling for me actually. I've had years in the comfort of close friendships, ever present families, and companionship until now. At this moment, the closest person to me is at least 5,000 miles away...in different timezones, in different cities, in different places (literally and figuratively). So if we are all in this ever-dynamic swirl of placements, how does one fight those nagging pangs of loneliness?
And here I am, in Bali, purely by choice, where I doubt anyone would refute my self-proclamation as an independent woman...but the truth is I've always "belonged" and therefore have never felt the discomfort and discontent that can come with isolation. But I'm starting to think it's a necessary discomfort. How can I feel confidence in myself if I, alone, am not enough? I need to be whole, and then some, before I can give to others. I've been a collection of fragments of my relationships, and therefore, when one goes...I feel a deep sense of emptiness. The cracks show. They painfully glare, actually.
Tackling this feels overwhelming. I carry a lot of sadness for what I've lost and what I love, but is no longer with me at this time, but I need to forge on...a table for one at a time.