We’re all searching for a place where we feel safe and comfortable, a home where we can truly be ourselves.

Thich Nhat Hanh, Fidelity

You are alone. Everyone is alone. It doesn’t matter if you spend every minute of every day with someone and can confide all your secrets in their loyal ear. Nobody is ever going to completely ‘get you’. The Mother, ever optimistic, told me so. Her astute response to my feelings of isolation didn’t make me feel better. I recognise the truth in what she says, but still I fight hard to be understood. We want to believe that those who love us see us wholly and completely, and so we believe.

I’ve spent much time in the company of children these last few months. Children physically cling to their mothers on a daily basis. When the world feels good they run out and play, but the moment they fall, graze their knee or exhaustion drops down on them, they turn back and look for their mother’s body. If a stranger knocks on the door, they hide behind their parent’s legs. If someone says something hurtful, they expect their parent to be god and set the situation right. And, because they are a child, we don’t mind their clinging.

As adults, we have the same need to fall back into comfort when things get tough. When we can’t access this comfort of being understood, we sit in a bath of shame and loneliness feeling disconnected. If we’re not careful our self-esteem spirals down the plug hole.

What I miss most about being in England is not the tea, but sharing it with someone who I feel ‘gets me’.