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"Alone had always felt like an actual place to me, as if it weren't a state of being, but rather a room where I could retreat to be who I really was. The radical aloneness of the PCT had altered that sense. Alone wasn't a room anymore, but the whole wide world, and now I was alone in that world, occupying it in a way I never had before."

I cried at some point every day leading up to the trip to Antigua. I cried for my father and the things he never got a chance to do, and all the suffering of his life, and everything I never knew about him and never will. I cried for KW, for his lack of care and honesty and friendship, but mostly I think I cried for the idea of him--someone like me, who I was attracted to, who I could love, who I could think about growing old with. I cried for myself, for the complete and utter loneliness, emptiness, and lack of long term connection with any other human being. For the prospect of growing old alone, without children, without family, without love.

Did not cry at all while I was away...it was a great escape. So easy to be with JK again. Lived my dream by staying on a sailboat. Did a little hiking. Swam in the ocean. Drank a lot. When I returned, I didn't feel the same loss of freedom I felt after the Utah roadtrip and didn't feel immediately sad when I got home. And for the past three days I am feeling a bit lighter. The sadness wells up in me, but right before it becomes enough that I would cry, it sort of dies down. My eyes sting a little, but no tears fall.

I have been reading the book "Wild" about a lone female hiker on the Pacific Crest Trail, and it is so inspiring. I wonder if I am finding my way back to the place where I was satisfied and happy with being alone, in the time all the way back before I met RBC. I have always believed that my feelings are a state of mind, and it is completely within my power to change that state of mind and those feelings. If it is not possible to get what you need to make you happy, then change what it is you need--consciously. Decide to be happy with what you have, or shift your goals to something more attainable.

I think I am growing more comfortable with the notion of being alone. In a way, it feels like a re-emergence, or a homecoming, or being true to myself. As if trying to get paired off was just a lie that never would have worked. When  I am still and envision the most true and pure life that I can imagine, I am an island. Companions come and go, but the only constant is my own mind and my own body, my own wishes and desires and decisions.

I must embrace things just as they are.

"It was a deal I'd made with myself months before and the only thing that allowed me to hike alone. I knew that if I allowed fear to overtake me, my journey was doomed. Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves, and so I chose to tell myself a different story from the one women are told. I decided I was safe. I was strong. I was brave. Nothing could vanquish me. Insisting on this story was a form of mind control, but for the most part, it worked. Every time I heard a sound of unknown origin or felt something horrible cohering in my imagination, I pushed it away. I simply did not let myself become afraid. Fear begets fear. Power begets power. I willed myself to beget power. And it wasn't long before I actually wasn't afraid."

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January 2017

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