Absence is Not the Only Means to Resolution: Don’t Go at it Alone


Essentially, though I did not recognize it then, I was the author of some of the confusion in my life.


My twenties were fun and exciting, but they were also hard as hell. In retrospect, they were way harder than they needed to be. This was mostly because I refused to ask for help or lean on those who were so ready and willing to support me. Essentially, though I did not recognize it then, I was the author of some of the confusion in my life.

My mom would always warn against this pattern of mine, but I would ignore her sage advice and forge ahead with my process anyway. She insisted that missteps and mistakes I was experiencing were actually a rite of passage and built into the plan, but I did not see things that way. She would not fuss or chastise me, but she would always say “keep on livin’ baby, you’ll see.”

My youthful arrogance and sense of invincibility got in the way of me receiving her message then, but I certainly get it now.Like clockwork, any marked disappointment, heartache, or loss would result in me retreating from the world. And let me tell you, I committed to the process. With my true dramatic flare, I would change my phone number, deactivate my Facebook account, cancel outings with friends, and spend time in solitude until I had cried my way out, written my way out, prayed my way out, or whatever other solitary activity that I thought would help me get over my current predicament.

This was a problem for a number of reasons. First, it was just plain selfish. I had family and friends who loved and cared about me and I would not allow them to be there for me. I shut them out and I am sure that many times that I was hurtful. But I did not care. I loved my cocoon of silence, my peaceful silo. When I was finally feeling stronger, and ready to face the world again, I would reemerge and expect everyone to be patiently waiting for me. Did I mention that I was young and a bit arrogant?

The second issue with my behavior was that it created a perfect storm of ruminating and making mountains out of molehills. I would harp on the problem, rather than the solutions. When experiencing disappointment or hurt or fear, your proverbial cup is depleted. This often leads to a loss of confidence, heart, or hope. So what fills your cup? For me, it was the people who love, support and reassure me. My solo process was providing me with droplets when I could have been poured into.

I still love my peace and solitude, but now I know that absence is not the only means to resolution. I learned that I should not sacrifice my relationships and participate in my own pain just because I’m feeling blue.

“She is a friend of mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she gather them and give them back to me in all the right order. It's good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your mind.” – Toni Morrison