It's going to be okay.
Lonely has had a bad rep for so long, and for, arguably, good reasons. We use loneliness as an excuse for behaviors we wouldn't condone in others. And then justify it. We become mad. We become mad that we become mad.
I've seen too many people, myself included, do something, or say something absolutely out of character because I or s/he felt alone. "You abandoned me." "You left without saying goodbye." "You outcasted me." "I don't fit in." "It's me against the world." "No one understands me." "He doesn't love me." "You know, I'm older now, and…and it’s different for me to find someone. I just don't want to die alone."
Loneliness surrounds me. I would beat myself up for allowing myself to feel lonely, occasionally sitting on my bed late at night, thinking about the world, and how small, miniscule, irrelevant, and lonely my existence is. Get more friends, keep busy, hustle harder, hang out with people I don’t like, talk to people I don’t care about, but this is all wrong. All wrong. I watch my friends plunge into depression. I watch them, too, be subjected to abuse because they felt like they deserved it, couldn’t deal with it, and couldn’t shake it, couldn’t win. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen my friends go to bars they hate, clubs they despise, swipe left, left, and then right, to fill the void in their heart...loneliness. My successful friend who has money, a ton of money, and yet he feels like he can trust no one. I watch murderers and victims on television, on the news place the blame on loneliness. He shot up this place because he feels alone. He’s a loner, they would say. Well, he also shot up the one group of people who felt solitary for years and still does. So is "loneliness" a valid excuse? Was he really alone? Because we all feel alone. We share loneliness with millions of others.
Why, why does loneliness hold such a strong negative, almost twitch-inducing, emotion? Isn’t loneliness the same emotion that moved Edgar Allen Poe to write The Raven and isn't loneliness a large theme in Dave Eggers’ brilliant autobiography—A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius? I’ve met musicians who would give up a good night out with their friends to sit in the studio and create music, artists who spends days and nights until their emotions are fully-milked onto their canvas, and artists of the human condition who would rather observe people than participate.
When are we going to learn that we can’t fix loneliness? I think I’ve found the initial solution—Accept it. It will exist. It will bring you down when you’re already face first on the concrete as your worst enemy is rubbing your head against the ground. Loneliness will be there, sitting uncomfortably in your chest, as you write the most earth-shattering poem because you never thought he could hurt you like he did. Loneliness will sneak into your window late at night, when everything seems perfect, and you don’t know why, but you look at this familiar stranger and have a nice chat with it on your bed. Accept that it will be there and you’ll find yourself using it as an ally instead of an enemy. There’s more to fight out there, loneliness shouldn’t be one of them.
Photo by Apneet