"Why do you stay in prison when the door is so wide open? Move outside the tangle of fear thinking." -RumiI spent decades of my life in prison and when the door was finally opened it took me years to walk out of my cell. (Today, I still sometimes gaze longingly outside from behind the bars on the window of my house, just to experience that reassuring feeling of confinement.)
Once I made it out of the prison I slowly expanded the spaces where I felt comfortable existing. From my bedroom to the kitchen to my car to the café where I sat for hours suspiciously eyeing strangers who didn't care to hurt me or even steal my food.
When I was locked down I grew to like being alone. the sounds of coughing and clanking and cursing assured me that someone was always nearby, and solitude was consistent and enforced; an opaque wall that kept me unnoticed and unscathed. When I gained the choice to fraternize, loneliness crept in like a slow growing mold, filling my expanded space with stark, empty, uncomfortable silence.
This year, I tried to find one word to describe what I want to accomplish but there's no antonym for "loneliness." I've finally settled on the word "unlonely"because my desire is so intangible it can only be expressed by the lack of something. Maybe I need to stop chasing it as if it were something I could tackle and lock up for safekeeping.
I think this is a good year to stop expanding. I think I will finally give up the handcuffs and even the prison bars in order to become the lack of all the things that have prevented me from letting people in.