“This Is How I Learned To Accept Being Alone,” Poet-Writer Ruby Dhal On Her Hope For Tomorrow
- IWB Post
- December 14, 2019
A speaker, writer and bestselling author of two books of poetry and prose, Ruby Dhal’s third book, ‘My Hope for Tomorrow’, offers a therapeutic approach to mental and emotional battles that we all face.
Unlike Ruby’s previous two books, ‘My Hope for Tomorrow’ isn’t divided into chapters; a compilation of beautiful heartfelt pieces, it is free-flowing, signifying the non-linear and messy pattern of life. A raw take on situational, emotional and mental battles, the book uncovers personal themes like mental health, grief, relationships, healing journeys, depression, self-love, and recovery from hurtful experiences.
In our previous conversation, talking about what inspired her to write, Ruby had shared that in terms of prose, her heartbreak was the biggest fuel for her writing. “Any time I felt pain or sadness, any time I felt alone, I turned it outwards and wrote it all down on paper.” Aside from sharing her writing on Instagram and publishing books, Ruby also writes articles, and runs school writing and motivation workshops to promote positive thinking amongst young people. “In the long term, my purpose is to run workshops and one-to-one sessions with people who are struggling with their self-worth, mental health, self-image, their hearts or their relationships, both romantic and non-romantic.”
Through ‘My Hope for Tomorrow‘, she said, “I aim to teach readers about the relevant skills they need to develop in order to understand their journey and themselves, as well as accept their emotions wholeheartedly.”
Ahead of the launch, Ruby shared with us some personal insights and penned them down for the readers of IWB. Here’s sharing with you the beautiful heart-warming piece, ‘How I learned to accept being alone’. Scroll on:
You can stay alone for as long as you like, but you will never truly be comfortable in solitude until you welcome it with open arms.
Nothing prepared me for the feeling of contentment that I received after several years of staling alone, of being completely single. It was a wintry Sunday morning, the water was icy on the tips of my fingers and as I splashed it over my face, tiny shrieks left me. Then, I looked back at my reflection in the mirror. I don’t know what it was. If it was that particular day, or the way the icy water was jilting me awake, or the ease with which the weekend before had passed me by – but in that moment, I felt happy. I felt better than okay.
I felt complete.
I had been alone for years before that and continued to, even after that time. It was not like I had just newly welcomed the single life. It was the only life I had ever known. I often took pride in my ability to not need someone to ‘complete me’ or validate my existence. Yes, there was the honeyed comfort of family and friends, and yes, the infectious laughter of my loved ones kept me going, but I had never lived life as another person’s ‘half’. I had always thought that I was whole.
It wasn’t until that very day that I felt the feeling of wholeness though.
Spending most of your years in the bliss of singleness teaches you a lot of things, both good and bad. Sometimes the bad lessons hang like a dark cloud head. Like how to sprinkle your time on people with the potential to give you the love that you deserve before realising how much of your months and years you wasted. And how there aren’t any ‘good morning’ or ‘good night’ messages waiting for you before you hit bed or get up to greet the new day. And how everyone, but you, seems to have found whom they were looking for, and you can’t chase away the feeling that perhaps there’s something wrong with you. And how you keep telling everyone that you’re ‘okay being single’ when really, at the back of your mind you’re wondering whether you’re going to die alone.
And how no matter what others say, you don’t know whether there’s anyone out there for you. You don’t know if another day will bring with it the right person or another lesson of how to welcome solitude.
But being alone teaches you the most important lessons. The good ones.
Like how to be resilient, to never bow down to another, to never ‘settle’ just because you’re afraid of loneliness, to never accept a love that’s ‘not enough’ because you think that’s all you’re going to get. Being alone teaches you to have faith in your heart, to trust your emotions, to be there for yourself when you need it the most. It teaches you to ask yourself where you would like to eat, what colour would suit your nails, which park you would like to run in. It teaches you to rely on your own views about what is right or wrong for you, and to carve your own path towards dreams that do not depend on someone else to complete them.
There is confusion, uncertainty and a long list of ‘what ifs’.
There is also security, a sense of belonging and peace. There is the feeling of being at home with yourself that you will never find anywhere else. There are your dreams, your hopes, your future that is in your hands. There is the ease with which you sleep at night without fear that you will lose the person you love dearly, without the pain that loving sometimes brings. There is consistency, safety and self-reliance. There is the undeniable truth that there may or may not be someone beside you one day, but your heart and soul will still be there. Your dreams will still be there. Your experiences, your lessons, your family and friends – they will still be there.
And more importantly, you will still be there.
Being alone teaches you various things, but the biggest lesson that I’ve taken from being alone is this – someone else could pour their entire soul into you and it still wouldn’t be enough if you’re not already a whole person, if you’re not already complete and content in your own presence. They could do everything in their power, and it would still not give your life meaning. Because at the end of it – the right person will add more to your already meaningful life, they do not attach external meaning to it.
‘My Hope For Tomorrow’ launches tomorrow i.e. December 15, 2019. Order your copy now!