A PLACE FOR ME TO FIGURE IT OUT.
Year 3 in the War of Loneliness
It doesn't seem to get any easier, being alone. Easier to ignore, perhaps, as life ticks away, but the sensation felt when existing by oneself and without loved ones to count on in day to day life does not lesson. If anything it only grows stronger. I had no clue what it meant to be alone when I moved out of my parents house at the age of eighteen. I thought I did because I had, for the most part, been isolated from friends growing up due simply to the location of home. But I didn’t know what it was to never come home to anything but an empty house, or an empty room. There are no noises; no sounds of living people. Sometimes I can’t help but think that if something happened to me it would take several days before someone thought of my absence. All of those who would take notice if they could are too far away and phone calls are too irregular for it to make a difference.
There are many reasons why I have put myself in this position. First off, I believe it to be only temporary and my heart is faithful to that position. Mostly I chose this path because of its independence. The life I had been living was not my own, but my parents life. A life I admire and long for, but not mine. I desperately needed to go off and discover who I was when no one else was around. Even just to know something seemingly so simple as what my morning routine was when I didn’t need to schedule time in the bathroom around four other people. What I have discovered is that I actually function excellently on my own. On my own schedule I am clean, productive, and adventurous. But the loneliness often depresses my spirit. I lived most of my life with people. Not around them, but with them. I miss the days when someone wanted to know where I was going each time I stepped out of the door, even when I wasn’t even leaving the property. Now days, I can live an entire week without anyone knowing where I’ve been, unless I go out of my way to tell someone, and as freeing as that can be it is also terrifying.
The freedom in a life by oneself is that no one really relies on you. It doesn’t matter if you never leave the house on your day off and it doesn’t matter if you never go home because there is no one expecting you. Your schedule is all your own. There’s no waiting in the car for someone to find their shoes. No staying overlong because someone is still conversing with someone you don’t know or have no interest in speaking with. No scheduling car usage. No arguing over who did or didn’t do the dishes last. No one to nag you for being lazy or absent. Simply no one.
No one is a terrifying prospect. My mother likes to console me, “I’m just a phone call away!” But what about when you don’t answer your phone? What about when all I need is to curl up into a ball and cry in someone’s arms? What about when I need to get home at night and I’m walking the streets all by myself? Who’s going to help me when everyone who cares for me is three thousand miles away? There’s no picking me up at 2 in the morning. There’s no coming over to my house when I need comfort.
Being alone is terrifying not because I am incapable of functioning on my own, but because when push comes to shove there isn’t anyone to know where you’ve been or how you are. How and where you exist is unknown to others. Our capacity for communal living wouldn’t have evolved as such if we could survive on our own. Life is meant to be shared and experienced with and for others. The world is not a solo show. Each character is an individual with their own path, but it takes the whole cast and crew to produce the play.
After actually living by myself for a year and existing in a state of mild depression, I had finally found someone. A true and close friend. (My best friend). For the first time in two years I didn’t feel alone, because I wasn’t. Our relationship requires a lot of work and learning, which is perhaps the best part, but for some reason amidst all of our differences we decided to be there for one another. A brief moment of community and then I moved across the country only to be flown back to stage one loneliness. New city, new school, new people, new loneliness. I have the blessing of seeing my younger brother once a week, which gives me something to move towards constantly. Yet, apart from a couple of hours on Sundays I feel invisible to the world.
Basically what I’m saying is being alone sucks ass and anyone who says otherwise is lying to themselves. And when you exist in a community full of other independent peoples, who have all come from somewhere else, there is a bond created in that independence, but simultaneously everyone is doing their own thing. Everyone is struggling through these years of loneliness in order to eventually not be alone AND live the lives we deserve to live.
A war indeed.