Life, Love, Personal Development

From Dust To Diamond

There’s a place that I know
It’s not pretty there and few have ever gone
If I show it to you now
Will it make you run away?

Saturday, November 5, 8pm

It’s my first night home from surgery after spending a week with my parents, and I never realized before how empty, how lonely, a home can be. It’s funny…I wanted to go home as soon as possible after the operation, but suddenly here I was again in my childhood home, being cared for, surrounded by the laughter and teasing and love of a family, and I found myself not wanting to leave.

Of course I didn’t.

A home is where your heart is, and my heart  has always been with my family.

But here I was in my own home  — a home of my own that I adore  — and I couldn’t keep from thinking of the place I’d just been, the home I’d just left. The silence began to invade every vulnerability, and though I tried to distract myself, nothing could stop the wave of emotion that threatened to crest. I kept watching the clock, praying for time to move faster so that I could go to sleep, so that I could lie in the comfort of my bed and close my eyes and forget the loneliness that had begun to seep back into an already emotionally weakened soul.

But Time doesn’t work like that, does it? And sometimes the nights can seem that much longer and that much harder.

So I grabbed my purse, clipped the leash on Riley and drove to my parents’ house. I barely said a word as I put my things down on the kitchen table, as Riley greeted my parents’ dog with a playful wag of his tail, as my parents asked in surprise what I was doing back, having gone home only hours before.

“I didn’t want to be alone,” I mumbled as I reached behind the couch to plug in the heating pad I’d been using religiously to ebb the physical pain. I wonder if there will ever be one that can numb the pain of an aching heart.

I could feel my mom’s eyes on me, but I kept my eyes averted, struggling not to cry.

“What’s wrong?” she persisted.

And then I felt the barriers break as my chest heaved in heavy sobs. Having been surrounded by people I love, by people who love me, it had become so hard to return to that silence, that awareness of how physically alone you can be. It’s not something that has taken me by surprise, not something I’m entirely unused to. The loneliness pervades, seems constant, buried for hours, days, weeks, months before it begins to rise to the surface again, seeping into the smallest of cracks in this armor. And suddenly, with little warning, I’m left feeling suffocated by the depths of everything I feel, and, oh, how I feel everything.

Or will you stay
Even if it hurts
Even if I try to push you out
Will you return?
And remind me who I really am
Please remind me who I really am…

Riley. On the drive over, I placed my hand on his head,  finding comfort in the texture of his fur, in just his presence, in the simple knowing that he was there, thinking that he was my anchor when I felt very much like I was floating away from everything real.

He’s been my saving grace in ways I’ve scarcely alluded to, for reasons I don’t think I’ll ever be brave enough to put into words. I may have saved him when I adopted him from the shelter, but he saves me every day. Every single day…on days when I’m aware of just how lost I feel and days when, for awhile, I have the relief of forgetting.

Because he loves me, unconditionally, and in him, I can unabashedly place all the love I hold in my heart — a love that runs so deep, so full, that it constantly threatens to spill over; a love that I’ve only ever longed to share, and it’s in this creature who knows the depth of love, too, that I can share it without shame, without fear of judgment or rejection.

He needs me, he depends on me, he lets me love him as I want to love everyone. And maybe it’s in that that I need him, too.

Like a diamond
From black dust
It’s hard to know
What can become
If you give up
So don’t give up on me
Please remind me who I really am…

I don’t get it.

I don’t get how I can have so many special people in my life, have so much love and happiness in this life, in my heart, and still feel so incredibly alone.

I don’t get how I can crave independence and then shun it in the next breath.

I don’t understand how I can be so blessed and still feel so fucked up.

I wish I could keep these emotions from persisting, from spilling over from my heart to my life. I wish I could learn to just accept things as they are, to continue to be grateful for all the blessings in my life– for there are so, so many — and to stop longing for something that I’m not even sure will change anything.

I wish I knew how to stop feeling so deeply, so much. I wish I knew how to channel these thoughts and emotions into something else, something that doesn’t leave me feeling so frozen with guilt at having these thoughts and emotions in the first place.

Most of all, I wish I knew how to stop wishing, when wishes don’t seem to be enough.


Everybody’s got a dark side
Do you love me?
Can you love mine?
Nobody’s a picture perfect
But we’re worth it
You know that we’re worth it
Will you love me?
– Kelly Clarkson, “Dark Side”



When I posted a comment to Facebook/Twitter about how I was blaming this emotional-ism on being a writer, one of my dear friends, Brianne, countered with the following quote from the movie Raise Your Voice:

Terri Fletcher: Have you ever lost anyone?

Mr. Torvald: Yeah.

Terri Fletcher: I just can’t let this go.

Mr. Torvald: Well, you’re an artist and artists feel things differently than regular people. Look at Patsy Cline or Billie Holiday. You can hear it in their voice. Or, Vincent van Gogh. Cut off his ear, but hey, he could paint.

Terri Fletcher: Vincent van Gogh killed himself.

Mr. Torvald: That’s right. That’s a bad example. Hey, I’m a music teacher not a shrink. What do you want? I guess… what I’m trying to say is, artists convey emotion. They make an audience feel what they’re feeling. You know, that’s what it’s all about, right? You just have to find a way to take what’s in here [Points to his headand put it in here [points to his heart]

It’s such an amazing quote that sums up everything I’ve ever felt…From not being able to let it go to realizing that I feel everything so acutely, so deeply, to shifting all of that from the head to the heart. It’s a quote I can’t stop thinking about, that makes me feel a little bit more accepting of myself.

Simply amazing. Thanks, Brianne!

8 thoughts on “From Dust To Diamond”

  1. I spent a week + at my parents after my surgery. I was “anxious” to go home, yet loving the comfort and love at my parents’ home. When I returned to my apartment it felt empty and lonely and I wished I had someone there to cook me dinner, to check on me, to fuss over me. I didn’t. The boy was tied up with duties at work all week and there I was, alone with my cat, the Roku, and highly depressed at my level of pain and limitation and physical numbness.

    I’m 6+ weeks out now and it’s gotten a lot better. The loneliness comes and goes but I realized more than ever than as much as I love independence, I love being in the company of others, of family and friends, who can comfort me when I’m weak and whom I can comfort when they are weak. *love*

    1. Brenda…That just summed up everything I’ve been feeling. All of it. And I feel like I fight with myself because I don’t want to need people like that, but that just makes me need them all the more. Only, how do I tell them that? With my parents, it’s a given…They know me, they know how hard it is to admit that, but, what’s more, is they never question me…rather, they just open the door to their home and open their arms.

      I wish I knew how to find that balance between allowing myself to need people, to allow myself to open up that much, and the independence and alone/solitude I seem to crave. It seems like it always comes in cycles…and right now, I’m stuck in the “can’t be alone” part.

      I love you…You’re an amazing person who more and more I’m realizing is like a kindred soul. So thank you for that…I’m so grateful for you. Hugs…

  2. This post is so difficult for me to read, Susan, because I recognize & remember this dark place so well. I still feel remnants of it from time to time, although I feel fortunate to have made it through the darkest. Please know that I’m thinking of you & pulling for you. As my dad used to say, “Press on regardless.” Please do.

  3. Even though I haven’t lived alone in a while, I still know what it feels like to be with the people you love, and then suddenly not with them. It’s weird and disconcerting. To go from all the noise and energy to just your own is difficult. All of your feelings are totally understandable and valid. But, I think something you should think about is that there’s a difference between being alone and being lonely. Being by yourself isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, it can be nice sometimes. And remember, you have plenty of people in your life who care about you, even if they’re not with you all the time. I hope that makes sense… xoxo

  4. Pingback: Brenda Boitson
  5. Pingback: Brianne E Villano
  6. Ahh. Being alone. Being lonely. Then being lonely while you’re alone. And then of course there is being lonely when you aren’t alone. There so many instances where our outer selves and inner selves compete for different kinds of attention. It can throw off our mental equilibrium.

    Since the F has spent about half the year in China, I’ve been trekking back and forth to my mother’s bungalow. I’ve spent the night there and even brought my two cats with me (one is still there as a temporary rent-a-cat). I love being at home with my Mom and sister, but I also relish the quiet, empty condo.

    Also, I haven’t ever had to live by myself. Actually, this is the first time I’ve lived by myself since the F left – and it *is* a weird feeling, like Sam describes. But, also like she says, it can be a bit exhilarating to be by yourself. It’s not always a bad thing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *