Stand on Your Own

Dear Readers,

This week the topic is being well enough in your heart and mind to be able to enjoy the solitude of being alone. Blog contributor Preetha tells us her stance on a life of chosen-singlehood in the form of a speech. She wrote: “The solution to loneliness is not to look for something external but fulfill what is lacking within you. Loneliness is a feeling of sadness or distress about being by yourself or feeling disconnected from the world around you.

Eating Disorders love isolation and love to make you feel disconnected.

Preetha explores her experiences of learning to feel solitude as a gift. Being alone does not necessarily have to be a lonely experience. Have you heard of people being encouraged to “date yourself”; go to movies on your own, walk in parks, take yourself out for a meal, and take yourself places that you would want to take someone special. In Eating Disorder Recovery, learning to treat yourself with self-compassion is so important. Treating yourself the way you would treat someone you love and value is often a foreign experience to folks with EDs (and many people without too). It is your birthright right to be loved. By treating yourself with gentleness, self-love, self-kindness, and self-compassion, you give yourself the opportunity to learn to love yourself and to believe that you are important and worthy.

As you face this week, I challenge you to find 15 minutes that you can sit with yourself in solitude and allow yourself the space to breathe and enjoy your own stillness.

Take good care of yourself, and remember to nourish your body, mind, and spirit.

Your blog moderator,



Stand on Your Own

By Preetha

I`m going to open with a bad joke that I`m entitled to tell because I’m differently abled. Why do people make fun of disabled people? Because they can’t stand for themselves.  The title of my speech is stand on your own. It’s ironic because I use a walker to stand. As I reflect on my life situation and experiences, I am going to tell you three things about my feelings towards relationships and marriages. You be the judge, do I stand on my own?

What we consider love these days is not really love. Its infatuation, attraction, lust and attachment. Shirley MacLaine wrote a quote about this “Never trust a man when he’s in love, drunk, or running for office.” I have finally decided to stop looking for a significant other. Not because I declare defeat but because I think love really does blind you. My Cognitive Behaviour Therapy teacher taught me that you can’t feel deeply and think rationally at the same time. I think that is the problem with love. You can’t think clearly and rationally because of your emotions. It blinds you to the point where you don’t see the flaws in the other person. I’ve never experienced love that resulted in marriage but that is no big deal. I’d rather pass.  Some people are so desperate to pair up, they will pair up with just about anybody. They sometimes make wrong choices.

I don’t think my prince is coming on a white horse anymore. He is riding a turtle and definitely lost. We are subject to all kinds of conditioning from a very young age: from the Disney stories we hear as children, to commercials such as eHarmony, to the many Hollywood love stories.  As my illness caused me to evolve I started thinking about love and marriage. Today I feel I’d rather pass and miss all the excitement. Today, I feel that marriage is a contract I don’t want to sign, a transaction I will not risk making. I have chosen another path for my life or maybe the other path has chosen me. I’m happy single I can’t imagine anything else. People can choose to live life in any way their heart desires. I think lust and attraction spark love and friendship sustains it. The marriage contract is not harmful if that is what one desires and if one gets fulfilment from it. I have no objections to it. Everyone desires different things out of life. I think having kids and raising them is a great project that gives one purpose and meaning and that binds two partners together. Some people have told me that raising kids is the best job ever.

You can’t rely on any relationships to stand. The Buddha said nothing is permanent.  Humorous Azad added nothing is permanent except death. We all heard the new statistic 1 in 2 will get cancer. My father died at 55 of a heart attack in 1994. My mother had to learn to rely on herself to raise 4 children. She did a good job and I have no complaints about my childhood and growing up. My mother was strong and resilient as she relied only on God for support. My mother never remarried. She is my role model. People die, friends move on. I have lost touch with most of my university friends because a lot of them chose the marriage path and I didn`t. We don’t have much in common. I made new ones, single ones. I consider them my companions. However, relationships are not static. You can`t rely on them to stand.

The solution to loneliness is not to look for something external but fulfill what is lacking within you. Loneliness is a feeling of sadness or distress about being by yourself or feeling disconnected from the world around you. You should not look for a solution such as marriage to solve your problem of loneliness. You could be married and lonely later in life and at different stages of your marriage. There are other remedies such as making other relationships like friendships. The older I grow, and the more time I spend on my own, the more I find solace in solitude. I don`t feel lonely because the written word is my companion I take everywhere with me. It is full of wisdom. I`m happy flying solo and free. There is a difference between solitude and loneliness. Loneliness is lack of relationships. Solitude is peaceful and meditative. I spend a lot of time reflecting. There is freedom and independence that comes with singlehood. I am a strong advocate for maintaining independence regardless of your relationship status.

So now you know my three views about relationships and marriages.  As they say, Marriage is a wonderful institution… but who wants to live in an institution? …. because what we are looking for is not real love, it is not permanent and many times relationships are used to fill the gap within us. Many able-bodied people can be weak within and many disabled people can be strong.  So, I want you to ask yourself, “Can I stand on my own?”  Be strong and resilient don`t let people, events or circumstances break you. Stand on your own!!!

I want to end with this poem that I wrote in a 2014 poetry class:

Don’t try to fix me, I’m not broken

Don’t judge, by what you see

If I was what you label me to be

Would I be able to do the things I do?

Be this happy

Sanism, Allosexism , Disableism¸

Nothing can be more tyrannical than the world’s definition of normalcy

Than society’s conditioning

It suffocates my existence

The weight of finding a place in this world, of acceptance

Falls on the shoulders of those who can see

Yesterday is but a purple sky

Tomorrow a pink one

Tattered away from the world for safety

Appearance is deceiving like tears on a good lie

I’m far more complex than the eye can see

Like holding on to bedlam

There never was and never will be perfect