I like riding my motorcycle, especially in the cold. It isn’t that I prefer the chill, which I do enjoy, it isn’t that I think I’m a badass riding in frigid weather, but it may have a little bit to do with the fact that there far fewer bugs. No, I like to ride in the cold, in the rain, and in other inclement times because of one specific, glaring reality.
A very exceptional few will ride with me, so I am always alone.
I ride my Harley everywhere, through anything. Nickel sized hail really sucked, but I was laughing like I was riding a nuclear bomb being dropped over the USSR. I have ridden through thunderstorms so violent with rain, wind, and lightening that I thought I saw Noah’s ship lifting over the horizon. I ride with no music, with my phone off, and on backroads.
Because I am alone.
I live by myself. I don’t want roommates, I don’t want animals in my apartment (largely because I am traveling by motorcycle), or people to check in with. I live alone, because I prefer to be alone. I prefer to be the only person in my 760 square feet cell.
Why, then, if I prefer to be alone, can I say I just want to be loved? If my actions and activities are establishing a preference for being alone, when or how will I ever be loved?
Because, by being on a motorcycle in the cold, by being in a one bedroom shanty, I have no options but to be alone. I relax in the giant vacuous gap of humanity that is not present. I don’t feel alone on my motorcycle in the cold. I don’t feel alone in my shanty, I recognize that the situations dictate that there is a good reason I am alone, so I don’t feel alone.
I feel alone in a car. No one to sit next to and hold their hand or rest my hand on their thigh. No sounds of giggles from the children that are 1,500 miles away.
I feel alone in a friend’s home, especially when they are married. I see the joy, the happiness, the belongingness of two people plus that aren’t alone.
I feel alone at church. My ward loves me, for the first time in my life I can honestly say that my ward loves me and I love them. But I feel alone. Seeing all the families, seeing the parents with kids, seeing the couples and their tender touches. Yeah, they argue, yeah families have disagreements and dysfunctions, but they aren’t alone. For the most part, they have someone there, present. More so, they have someone that they typically arrive with, leave with, and have a bond with throughout our shift of church service. They go home to someone; someone that expects them there, most often, wants them there.
I have felt alone in relationships. I have been in relationships with the stranger in my house. We both profess love, but love isn’t there. Affection, equality, kindness, two-way action – not present.
I feel alone at single adult activities. New or not in the clique, I come alone, go home alone, and am reminded that once, once, someone loved me. And now someone doesn’t. Now I am alone with a bunch of other people that were once loved and now alone as well.
Single activities are a bitter pill. You put on the face of being OK while you long for touch, human interaction, for someone to look at you with a sparkle in their eye that says “YOU, you are the one I was so hoping to see!” A glimmer of the spark of love possible.
We are told that God loves us, that Jesus loves us, that we have family that loves us. I am exceedingly grateful for that. But as the scriptures say “…it is not good for man to be alone…” And the scriptures are right. God knows that we can accept that He loves us, but He also knows he made sensing, feeling creatures that need companionship.
So what do I do while I slumber as God forms a woman from my rib?
I choose to be alone. And I relish it. I make it a choice. I remind myself that while I long for a loving touch, while I hurt for someone to put there arm around me, I would rather be alone with myself, than alone in a relationship that God wouldn’t want me in either. It is better to be alone than in the company of those of lower standards. God knows this is a sacrifice, but He also has told us that the sacrifice is worth it.
In order to have the righteous love we desire, we must be worthy of that love. To be ready for that righteous love, we also have to love ourselves. To love ourselves, we must be comfortable being alone. Being alone, therefore, is preparation for not being alone. Accepting being alone is my fast of physical pleasure, lascivious actions, and wantonness of lifestyle. Besides, when I lived those ways, I still felt alone, but was also living while self-loathing – my lover was hate.
If we put out ourselves out there as “just love me” we are opening ourselves to the wrong influences. “Just love me” opens us to the wrong people, the wrong perspectives. We are open to manipulation, dependency, pain, and immorality. “Just love me” is what the world says we should be saying, that this statement is the flag to wave to draw the attention, affection, and love we want. But I know it isn’t. I know that I need more than to be loved, I need to be respected, I need to be equal, I need to be supported. I need to be me.
No, I don’t want anyone to “just love me,” instead, I choose “I love me justly.”