From the ages of 21-33 I constantly used the word “we”. We would go on road trips. We would go see a show. We would be watching a new series. We would meet up with friends for dinner. We were the parents of our children. Together, in this “we”, we were a unit. I had a Bread and Puppet print of a kitchen table with two bowls and two spoons and “We” printed in bold across the top. Out unit made me feel strong, empowered, connected, safe.
For several months after Tim died I spoke in “we”s. It was a hard habit to break after over a decade, the entirety of my adult life, operating as one half of a couple. Often I might be including my children in that term, but I would find myself talking to new people and expressing myself as a married/coupled woman and not the singleton I have become. Like when I was trying to flirt with a cute guy…and kept referring to my own life experiences in “we”…and not exactly getting the point I was trying to make across. Mentally existing in a life that was no longer.
In the past months, I’ve become comfortable with “I”. I bought a house. I’m raising my children. I set up the printer and the smart TV and the wifi speakers. That would have never previously been a RoseAnna job. I clean the house and do the cooking and take out the trash. When a raccoon rips open the garbage bags and scatters the garbage all over the yard, I’m the one with the shovel, holding my breath writhing in disgust. I make my own damn coffee every morning. I take care of myself.
And there is power in that. To be comfortable as an “I”. To know that I am capable of providing for and raising my children. Maintaining my home. Paying my bills. Caring for myself.
To be able to paint my porch a vibrant berry hue and buy area rugs without having to consult anyone about the matter. To decorate as I wish. To watch whatever I want on TV. To make my own decisions. To be an independent being.
And there is loneliness in that too. A deep, endless longing for a connection I will never truly find again. Because my “we” was with Tim. And regardless of what directions my life may take, I will never come across another Tim. I miss the depth of his intellect. Our conversations. Our patterns. Our togetherness.
But I’m learning to appreciate the solitude.
This time to explore my own being independent of anyone else. This aloneness that leaves me vulnerable, and gives me opportunity to grow in directions I may not have otherwise imagined. The discomfort that forces me to discover my foundries and push the limits of what I perceive myself to be.
Tonight I was reminded of a song we used to listen to often, in the early years. It about sums it all up.
It’s different now. Being an I. Being an independent being, drifting through time and space. Being without my person.
But I’m a person. And I’m still discovering who this person is. And I’m enjoying this person I’m getting to know. Because there is power in being just “I”, and I’m going to embrace that power. Because, what I do know, is that I am powerful.