Tag Archives: Loneliness

Musing on #Siblings

A few days ago, according to my oracle source, Facebook, it was National Siblings day, a day I have never celebrated and will never have the opportunity to.

I am an only child. My parents divorced when I was a little kid, each remarried quickly thereafter, and still I have no siblings, either step, or real. An only child between 4 “parents” and 8 grandparents shouldn’t necessarily be something any child would complain about. After all, you’re it. The only birthday that gets celebrated is yours; you get all the Christmas gifts; you never have to share toys, clothes, food, friends, a room. You never wear hand me downs, and all the school pictures displayed in the house on the walls are of you.

But….

Being an only child also comes with a lot of negative emotions. I never really felt connected to anyone in my family because there was no one around my age to contend or commune with. I was raised with grownups. Parents, grandparents, aunts and very old great-aunts and uncles. I was always the youngest human being in the room. Always. And I was raised in a time where children lived that proverbial seen but not heard edict so common during the era. If I had a problem, I had two choices: take it to a grown up or solve it myself. Since many of the problems I had encountered bullying in school and dealing with my alcoholic relatives, I really couldn’t take it to the adults in my family. Back then, you were taught not to confide in anyone but family, so taking a family problem to a teacher was like committing an act of homicide in my family! There were no safe havens for troubled kids with questions, and the Priests and Nuns in my church were mean with a capital MEAN!!

Being an only child wasn’t a picnic as a kid and as I get older, it only gets worse because as I age, so do my parents. I have four people who I am responsible for as they age, get infirm, and need to have decisions made for them. Decisions I have no one else to bounce off. A sibling would be a lifeline during hard decision-making times. AM I making the right choice? What do you think they would want? What’s easiest for them? All questions you can ask a sibling when dealing with your parents.  I have no one to ask those questions. NO one to help me make the correct decisions. No one to tell me what I’ve done is right, or wrong, or horrible.

Please, I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining and feeling burdened by this. I’m not. I’m simply stating that if I had a sibling, making these decisions would be easier.

So. A little advice to those of you who are and have siblings.

  1. Cherish them. You may fight like wild animals and hate one another at times, but there is truly no one you are closer to than a sibling.
  2. Support them. There have been so many times in my life I needed someone I could go to in order to talk things through to decide if I was doing the right thing. Having a sibling trust your opinion and offer support is a gift from God.
  3. Have fun with them. My husband’s brothers and sisters are all in their 50’s and they still laugh, giggle, and enjoy one another’s company whenever they are together. Their shared history, the similar references they use, the memories, all make them happy to be around one another. Spend time with your siblings.
  4. Love their children. When you – God forbid- die, you’ll want people around your children supporting them, loving them, helping them to remember you. I don’t have that. There’s no one my daughter can turn to when I go who knew me when. Who can tell her what it was like when I was a kid, or what I was like.  Luckily, she has that with my husband and his family.

I didn’t write this to be morose, or give you a woe-is-me view of my life. I simply want people to understand that being an only child isn’t a bed of rosebuds and that having a sibling connection is one of the greatest gifts anyone can have.

If I was going to get a little Psych 101 here, I would tell you that the reason I write so much about large, loving families is because I always dreamed about being in one…yeah…pretty psych 101 profile, indeed.

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My new series is about sisters – the 7 Laine Sisters in the Will Cook For Love books. Book 1, COOKING WITH KANDY is available here: kindle // Apple // Google //  Kobo //Nook

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Loneliness….

I was out for the day with my besties yesterday. Love that. Just a day of girlfriends, shopping, eating, and laughing.

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One of my girls mentioned she was at a conference recently where this question was posed: What is the number one disease afflicting the world today? My first thought was heart disease. NO. My second guess was mental illness? NO, but closer.

Turns out, the number one disease afflicting a great majority of the world we live in is loneliness.

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When you think about it, it kinda rings true. Because I’m so egocentric(!LOL) I immediately thought about my life as it stands now as a full-time writer.

Here’s a quick snapshot of my routine day for clarification. I get up anywhere from 3am-4am due to this chronic insomnia I have.  Hubman is still asleep so I either write a little or watch a little OnDemand Real Housewives episodes that I’ve missed. Get him up for work a few hours later. He leaves  and most days is gone for between 12 and 13 hours. I do one of two things: go to the gym first or just start writing.

If I don’t go to the gym there are days when I will not speak to or interact with another human being until my husband returns home. That’s approximately half my waking day without human interaction. Without speaking to someone, hearing their voice, engaging them in dialogue. More than half. One of the reasons I joined a gym was so that I had a reason to get out of the house and be around people for a few hours a day and not just sit at home, typing, and being alone for hours upon end. Believe me, if I didn’t consciously go out of the house, I could sosososo be a hermit and never see or hear another person. Not good for someone like me who makes their bread and butter creating relationships between people. I need to see people, hear them, watch them, and talk to them so that my characters feel and sound real to readers.

Well, you troll on Facebook and Pinterest and Twitter you’ll say. That’s social interaction. Yes, to a point. But nothing can replace looking into someone’s face when you are speaking with them, drawing them in with  your expressions, your spoken voice, looking directly into their eyes so that you actually connect with them. Nothing. You don’t get that from hitting a “like” on facebook, or “Re-Tweeting” something on twitter. You just don’t.

Again, you will say, but Skype and Facetime, and other mechanical apps where you can look at the person you are speaking to over the device, face to face, is social interaction. Again, yes, to a point. It’s similar, but just not the same as sitting across from someone in a coffeehouse, being able to hold their hand when they’re sad, or run a comforting caress up their arm;  or sharing a meal with someone in a restaurant and actually engaging them, eye to eye, face to face, in a conversation that actually has substance, value. and meaning. Nothing.

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To most – if not all – writers, being alone is just part of the job. We need the alone time to settle our thoughts, run them through without interruptions, figure out the next scene in silence. Like I said, being alone is part and parcel of the job.

But loneliness is very different from being alone. Being alone has a purpose. You need quiet to focus, to create, to bring forth coherent thoughts on the page. Being lonely is a result. A negative result of an event, or simply just happenstance of life. A spouse dies and your family lives far away and doesn’t visit. You’ve worked all your life and now retirement comes and you realize you don’t have many friends or family members to spend time with. You’ve gotten divorced, moved, experienced a trauma. Anything and everything can contribute to a state of loneliness.

Humans are social animals. We talk, we laugh, we cry, we touch, we love, we communicate with words and without.  We need interaction. We crave the company of another, and when we are isolated or unable to interact with others, severe, depressing, heart-wrenching feelings of loneliness can surface and destroy us.

So, like me, if you are alone a lot, do something that gets you out of the house, even for an hour. Be with people. Go grab a cup of coffee and a bagel. Call up someone you know is sitting at home alone and drag them out with you. Smile. Engage with the world and the wonderful people in it. Don’t give loneliness a chance to develop, grow, and fester.girlfriends2

I am home a lot, that’s true. So if I don’t see you at Panera’s (lol) or the Gym, here’s where you can find me:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me// Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

 

 

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