“The road’s been my redeemer”

Since I haven’t been able to find a therapist yet, ya’ll are going to have to stand in. I need to get this stuff off my chest.

I have been lonely, in one form or another, for as long as I can remember. I’ve gotten so used to it, I’m coming to realize, that I can’t live without it. I don’t know how to live with others, how to let anyone else into my life. I thought I would be able to, but I can’t.

As far back as I can remember, I was always walking. In my earliest memories I’m despondently pacing the long, rutted driveway of the house I grew up in. There’s nowhere to go, but the place I have to return to doesn’t feel like home to me.

My mom left, and Dad and I moved into town, and the walks lengthened. As long as I was walking I could keep my troubles a half-step behind me. The hardest part was always turning around. Once I walked until I literally could walk no further because of the pain in my blistered feet.

Some of my fondest memories are from traveling. I have always loved riding in trains, airplanes, busses, and cars. I never got tired of watching the scenerey slide by beside me. I never felt more alive than when I was on unfamiliar territory, with my everyday life temporarily put aside and forgotten.

When I finally moved out and got my own apartment, the walks all but ceased. For the first time, I had nothing to run away from. The apartment was a place of safety. I was still desperately lonely, but it was the simple, peaceful loneliness of the truly alone. I hated the loneliness, but apart from that I was happy.

I met avivahg online, and I flew down to see her in person. More than I had experienced with anyone before, I felt safe and at home when I looked in her eyes, when she put her arms around me. I felt that if I could join her to me forever, then I would have that feeling of safety and home wherever I went. I would not feel lonely anymore. And I would have all I wanted.

Yet even sitting in the plane to return to Maryland (where I still lived at the time), having asked this woman to marry me, I felt the old familiar warmth in my heart as the plane taxied away from the gate. Even as I missed her, a part of my rejoiced in the feeling of being alone again, of moving up and away with human connections left behind me and the unknown future ahead. I have always felt this way, even when leaving the dearest of friends. Along with the heartache there is always that bouyance, the feeling of the wind filling my sails, the knowledge that I am complete in and of myself. I can remember very few departures where I didn’t feel that way. I do recall feeling nothing but loss when, as a 13-year-old, I took the train back to New Delhi, leaving behinf the only girl I ever unquestionably fell “in love” with. But even then, I imagine that the sight of the landscape rolling away behind me must have soothed me a little. Travel has always helped me to put the past safely and silently away.

There is no mystery here. Nearly everyone I cared deeply for has left me or been taken away from me somehow. I have learned to be self-sufficient – sometimes brutally so. And I don’t know how to change. At this late date, I cannot give my heart wholly to anyone. I always hold myself in reserve. This is why I believe I’m not capable of falling in love any more. It is not possible for me to have a love that I would give away everything, even my safe coccoon, for. Even if I wanted to with all my heart, I could not. Because there is a protective, parental part of my self which I have no control over, which keeps me from ever truly letting go.

My discontent is not just with who I’m with. Even when things are at their very worst, when I feel like I can’t go on this way, like it will never work out, I never dream of the “perfect woman” that would make everything okay. I never fantasize about “if only I had picked someone else…”, or about being a batchelour again and dating. I’ve never been remotely tempted to have an affair. My only fantasies are of being alone. The only person who’s company I crave is myself. I have lived so long alone that I seem almost addicted to it.

So I find myself, married, but still subconsciously thinking of myself as alone. I balk at having children together, because of the finality of commitment I see that as representing. For the same reason, I’m having a hard time getting excited about our planned “wedding” (really a renewal of vows, with the ceremony we never had). And as the Autumn wind sings wild, liberating songs in my ears, I feel the urge as I always do in this season to pick up and go. To just hit the road, and not look back. As I drive to work in the morning, with the red and gold and cobalt blue of the Fall horizon ahead of me, I feel that old warmth at the thought of driving away, with the unknown future ahead and all entanglements left behind.

It is all so simple. All so stereotypical. My mom left me, or that’s how my young mind perceived it, and so I seek to re-enact the pattern. But how to break out? How to instill in myself a love of togetherness that my closed heart refuses to accept? Moreover, how to overcome an emotional exhaustion brought on by years of stressful conflict and excite some passion for the endeavour? I don’t want to be broken forever. But I fear that I am too tired, and too unsure of my emotional safety, to be fixed right now. And I don’t know what life I will want when I am finally freed from this pattern. And part of me is afraid to find out.

View All


  1. a few thoughts for now, and i will reread this again later for increased depth

    I personally am vehemently opposed to the idea of marriage or even engagement at the start of a relationship. that has NO reflection o your worth, stacey’s or even the ultimate suitability of your marriage to each other, i just think its profoundly unwise as a path. please understand that i was raised by a mother who specifically and strongly advised i not marry anyone i 1)hadnt slept with and 2) hadnt lived with already. additionally, part of the sense you feel in traveling, and part of why it feels almost addictive, is bc it does have psychological effects on you. i have traveled to meet people as well as had them travel to me and my opinion is that making any big decisions at all under those circumstances is _very_ like making big decisions while under the influence of drugs.

    I have been concerned before that your own pride (a trait i share often to my own detriment, so please dont be mad) will truly prevent you from really assessing your decisions bc you will never truly consider the idea that you may have made a very poor decision of that magnitude. please note the word “may” again i do NOT claim it is the case, merely that i doubt your internal ability to assess it by including all possibilities, one of which would have to be having made a mistake.

    while i understand that despite having financial woes, you guys are doing ok and have your needs and many nice wants – i also think financial realism may be hampering your desire to have children. additionally it may be that you want some but do not want them now or in the near future. i believe (as an outside observer that could be very wrong) that having children right now would be a financial and emotional obligation beyond what you, stacey and the current kids can bear. I hope, with love, that you do not do so right now.

    1. About having children… Though I desperately want more babies(!!!) I agree that now is not a good time. At least a year (from our anniversary date) needs to pass before we start to plan for any wee ones.

    2. Pride does come into it, but at a later point in the considerations. I believe that I’ve been able to objectively assess the possibility that I may have made a mistake, without pride interfering too much. Where pride rears it’s ugly head is when I consider the alternatives that I have now. At the mere thought of divorce, my pride says “Whoa there! That would mean proving all the nay-sayers right!”. That, and the prospect of checking the “divorced” box on paperwork does not sit well with my pride one bit. Which, leaving aside the question of whether divorce is really even worth considering, is a dumb reason to leave it out as an option.

  2. Maybe you need to find a way to build more alone time into your everyday life. I’m not an extreme loner but there are a lot fo thing that I just don’t like doing with other people. There are also a lot of things that I only like doing with Allie, because often being with Allie is like being with myself. One of the nice thing about my house is that I can always be alone if I want to be. Perhaps it would help if you had some place or some scheduled time when you knew you’re always be alone either in that place or for that time.

  3. For You…

    Octavio Paz–The Street

    A long and silent street.
    I walk in blackness and I stumble and fall
    and rise, and I walk blind, my feet
    stepping on silent stones and dry leaves.
    Someone behind me also stepping on stones, leaves:
    if I slow down, he slows;
    if I run, he runs. I turn: nobody.
    Everything dark and doorless.
    Turning and turning among these corners
    which lead forever to the street
    where nobody waits for, nobody follows me,
    where I pursue a man who stumbles
    and rises and says when he sees me: nobody.

  4. 21st Century Schizoid Man

    Just my opinion…
    You are a victim of the age. A child of a generation so wrapped up in itself that it couldn’t find the time to learn to be adult…let alone teach its children that lesson.
    So you fumble blindly in the dark for reason and purpose. All too familiar.

    Unfortunately, the ghosts of the past never leave for long. You can’t be ‘fixed’. You don’t need to be ‘fixed’. In fact, that inner space where you constantly question yourself is your greatest strength. Self reliance always seems to follow. It’s just a matter of time before you find your reason and purpose.
    Then you can focus on what will be, what is, and what was…in that order.

    You were born alone and you will die alone. All that really matters is the impact you have on the world around you…or more importantly, the impact you have on those people that are close to you.

    Also, I think you would likely make an excellent father.

    Cat’s foot iron claw
    Neuro-surgeons scream for more
    At paranoia’s poison door.
    Twenty first century schizoid man.

    Blood rack barbed wire
    Polititians’ funeral pyre
    Innocents raped with napalm fire
    Twenty first century schizoid man.

    Death seed blind man’s greed
    Poets’ starving children bleed
    Nothing he’s got he really needs
    Twenty first century schizoid man.
    -King Crimson

  5. I’ve often felt the same way, but more often than not I think it’s an emotional self-protection mechanism: If I’m alone then no-one can hurt me.

    Feelings are a notoriously bad foundation for any kind of decision making. So at times like these, where emotions are building, and your inbuilt flight-response is really itching to get you to run, it helps to detach yourself from your feelings and keep doing what you’re already doing. You have a wife who loves you and tries hard to understand where you’re coming from, and is willing (as far as I can tell) to adapt herself where necessary to accommodate you. And I don’t think you can step back impartially and say the problems are insurmountable; let’s end it now before we hurt ourselves any more.

    You might want to consider taking a week or so to go somewhere away from the pressures of daily life, and just de-stress. Not sure whether that’d be more helpful alone, or just Stacey and yourself, but it’s worth considering both options.

    1. You might want to consider taking a week or so to go somewhere away from the pressures of daily life, and just de-stress.

      I suggested this to him too. I think he should go somewhere by himself for a week where there is no bias, no influence, just he and himself.

      I believe Avdi needs to take some time off for himself and take care of himself. I support him in that if he chooses to do so.

      And now, I’m late for work. HA!

  6. I think that you should talk to Steve. I mean, I really, really think that you should talk to Steve.

    Because Steve told me that what he is looking for, what even his father had been looking for before him, was a person whom being with would feel exactly like being alone.

Comments are closed.