Today, an excerpt from my book Sometimes Very: How I Overcame Depression Without Experts or Medicine:
One time, I watched a documentary about a rehab center that helped young women get out of prostitution. Before seeing that program, I had always assumed that these girls did what they did for the money.
As it turns out, though, that’s not always the case.
One of the former prostitutes they interviewed talked about the man who, when she was thirteen years old, first introduced her to that lifestyle.
She loved him, she said. She still loved him.
Even now, she said—even after knowing what he did to her at such a vulnerable age—it was hard to stay away.
And she wasn’t the only one. Most of the other girls in the program felt the same way.
They sneaked out at night to see their pimps, and some of them never came back.
After seeing that documentary and thinking about it for a while, I realized something:
The desire for love isn’t a desire at all.
It is a need.
It is a great, roaring human need, and anyone who tells you otherwise is not doing you any good.
They might as well tell you to stop eating.
And that, my dear reader, is why I’m not going to tell you to be alone. Not that I don’t think it’s wise, sometimes, and often, the best thing you could possibly do.
But because the advice isn’t practical.
I spent quite a few years alone, several of them actually happy and all of them meaningful, and I wouldn’t trade those experiences for anything. But they ended with me marrying the wrong person, because no matter what I told myself to get through it, the truth was: I was lonely.
Of course, it could have ended a lot worse.
Actually, it all went pretty darn well for me in the end.
But it was a risk.