Men + Myself + God

Tag: lonliness

Me, You, Everyone and No One: Thoughts On Wanderlust and Loneliness

by P. Braithwaite

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On the plane back to ‘The States’ from Brazil, I pressed my nose against the window and watched America become a diorama of herself. That’s my favorite part of airplane travel. Streets too wide to cross are the width of a finger tip. A city that swallows horizons fits on a ping-pong table. And so, fueled by months away, fatigue, and this perspective, I cried for the entire 30 minutes of initial descent. I’m still not sure why (this song helped), but I sobbed quietly in my seat while my Brazilian neighbor pretended not to notice. There was sadness. And there was relief. There was excitement. And there was confusion. The feelings dissolved into each other like cotton candy hit by water.

I’m left with a sweetness that turns bitter in my mouth.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Stand in the Space You’ve Created

by P. Braithwaite

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You are safe now. There are no monsters in the closets, under beds, or in your inbox. Dust bunnies hop on floors, but, inside, we are pristine. The cracks and cobwebs give us character and courage.

This home was created with love.

You are safe there. In this moment, as kids nap in their rooms, partners leave soiled dishes, and obligations overwhelm a fragile heart — you are safe in the spaces you’ve created: in the exhales you sneak, the stolen moments to read this blog, the two minutes when you wake up before the world crashes in. You are safe — in the moments where you’re allowed to be yourself. Those moments nourish more than you know.

I applaud you for carving out this space.

People dance into our spaces. They bring flowers, and they bring fleas. Sometimes they trash the place and leave messes in their wake. Both joy and sadness are transient.

All things are cleared away in time.

This year is about standing in my own safe space. It’s time to recognize the safe space I’ve constructed for myself. I’ve moved furniture, stacked books, repaired leaks, installed floors. I’ve killed rodents and restructured my foundation. Now it is time to honor the safety of my space. We must stand in the safety we fight for — knowing we are safe within ourselves…

….whether someone sits beside us or not.

And so it is.

Awkward Sunday sermon is THIS SUNDAY @ 7. Register Here

Break Ups and The Fear of Not-Enough-Ness

by P. Braithwaite

One of my biggest fears in life is that people are better off without me. I worry that the room becomes more awesome when I leave it; the air becomes lighter when I’m not breathing it; Things magically become better because I’m not there.

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When I was little, I was always sent to bed before my older brother, so while the OTHER Braithwaite’s watched 90’s sitcoms, I’d be exiled to my bedroom. I’d be so upset, begging for a few more minutes because I was certain that, when I went to bed, the real fun would start (it probably didn’t help that Brother periodically told me I was adopted). I don’t know what I was imagining: strippers? Clowns? A live pony and cocaine? I was certain that when I left the room, things would immediately get better.

It never dawned on me that, sometimes, I was actually pretty tired.

I think that’s why break ups are so hard for me. No matter how dysfunctional or disillusioned, I’m always afraid that I’m the reason things sucked. I’m always focused on how I can be better, brighter, happier and more accommodating. I’m always terrified that, while I’m sad or upset, they’re happier and freer without me. I give away all my power and joy when I imagine that I’m the sole reason things are (or aren’t) good. I simultaneously make myself more important and less important than I truly am.

This elaborate scenario boils down to something pretty common: “fear of not being enough” (Google it. It’s actually a thing.)

I read a quote on BFF-Bri’s blog that said “Shyness has a strange element of narcissism, a belief that how we look, how we perform, is truly important to other people.” I think this is the same for not-enough-ness.

Here’s the truth: WE must only be enough for ourselves.

When we can look at ourselves and say, “I’m enough for me.” Everything else is sort of foolish. Why? Because NO ONE… (no coach, saint, sinner, rock star, lover, best friend, counselor, therapist, poet, preacher, guru, shaman, spirit) NO ONE is enough to cure someone else’s not-enough-ness. And on some level, most of us are suffering from this affliction.There is a special kind of narcissism involved in thinking that your presence has a permanent impact on someone else. People, generally speaking, are happy/miserable independently of you. Yes. You can totally brighten up someone’s day, and, yes, an unkind word might make someone miserable for the moment…but NO ONE is the sole reason for another’s content (or discontent). You can only make someone happy (or miserable) if they let you. I’m using the word “make” here loosely, ya’ll. We are all responsible for our own emotions.

I like to think of it like this: everyone is walking around in their own little room – a crowded cocktail party in their own heads. You might add to the dynamic, you might even dance inside of a circle, but you alone cannot create or destroy someone’s life. Everyone has their own personal energy. Everyone is living in their own personal dramatic story (it sounds crazy, but secretly…it’s a little true).

So today, I’m working to stop competing in the invisible happiness war. It’s time to stop torturing myself about whether or not The Besticle is happier that I’m not around. The circular thinking is incessant: Is he happier? Has he moved on? Can the new chick make him happier?

The real question then becomes: Am I happier? Am I freeer? Am I more awesome by myself?

And even beyond those questions, the realest ones of all: How can I cure my own not-enoughness? How can be enough for myself? How can I feel awesome in the company of myself?

Is anyone else in a happiness war with themselves? Let’s make a peace treaty together!