It’s been five months since Lena Dunham and long-time boyfriend Jack Antonoff split.
Now, the actress/writer/director juggernaut has penned a moving essay on learning how to be alone again following the end of their five-year relationship.
In the piece, the 31-year-old reveals how the break-up with her musician boyfriend triggered past issues with struggling to be by herself.
“When [my college boyfriend] moved into an efficiency apartment off campus, he told me he’d like a few nights a week to himself, to ‘just focus inward,’” she wrote.
“Rather than embrace the solo time, I would sit in my own bedroom, filled with desperate, sickened longing. One night I so convinced myself of the wrongness of our separation that I biked as fast as I could (please picture Miss Gulch in The Wizard of Oz, pedaling aggressively to avoid the coming tornado) and landed on his doorstep weeping.
“He offered me tea and counsel, then sent me home—admirable boundaries—but having had a taste of domesticity, I was almost chemically changed, rewired. The independence I had so prized was replaced with a mourning that could be sated only by consistent male company … anything would do.”
The 31-year-old writes after she and Antonoff split and she moved in with her parents, then her own apartment, she took baby steps to rediscover the joy of being alone.
“So how do you get back your taste for solo life, overcome the fear of your own thoughts? Even when my partner was away for work, the house had always been full with his presence—a wayward red sock, a pile of used earplugs.
“I started slowly, with a bath, the kind that lasts so long you resemble a Shar-Pei …. I found that the bath was a good starting place because bathing alone is natural, something you might even do with someone in the other room Skyping their cousin or playing video games.
“I read a poetry book cover to cover sitting at the kitchen counter while my parents were out for the night enjoying a more active social life than I do, double-fisting leftover Danish,” she reveals.
“Then I stepped into a restaurant not far from the house and asked for the table by the window, where I ordered only tea and a bread basket but considered it a start.”
Dunham argues alone time is a crucial experience for a woman’s growth.
“This pure and fiery solitude, is the time in which women form themselves—and that a patriarchal society has removed that privilege from us through the threat of eternal loneliness as a penance for the sin of loving yourself.”