A PLACE FOR ME TO FIGURE IT OUT.
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.
Where has the life gone from community and connections between people?
There is a group of people in my living room at this very moment sitting around looking at Facebook photos trying to 'set-up' my roommate with someone. Now, once upon a time people would set their friends up on blind dates--whatever-- but now they are looking at photos and calling out everything that is wrong with this person or that person whom they will probably never even meet. I have prejudices and judgements like every other human being, its natural to an extent even, but that is some negative karma being thrown out into the universe. Some of these people are the same who place all of their energy into trying to fit in instead of being themselves, or are those who simply don't notice things. It's all a waste of energy and time, both of which we are all limited by, might I remind the world. So what is the point? Why spend all of this life judging other people for their lives while you sit on your ass all day getting fatter and more discontent by the second of passing time.
Yesterday, my roommate asked, "Don't you just wish you could fast-forward a couple of years?"
I said no, because in the next moment I could be dead. In fact, the next moment doesn't exist, just like the past doesn't exist, so why would want to fast-forward, when you would be missing out on everything between now and then? You want to skip this moment and get to the next but it will always just be this moment, because we have nothing else. What makes you think that skipping forward will make you any more content? If you're unhappy with your moment than do something about it, right now.
So now I have had my own fair share of shit-talk and judgement as I sit here listening to Amy Winehouse and calling out people for not connecting with people face to face, although they're in there connecting with each other and I'm here sitting on my computer all by myself. Hypocrisy is an amazing thing. Go us.
"Burning Man, children, is about sex, drugs, music, and baby wipes." -Don Farwell
Mess is one thing. If you have your crap all over your home because you actively use it as a living space, then good for you. Letting the grime and filth accumulate, however, is nasty and you need to clean that shit up. If a million people raging in the desert-drunk, high, dehydrated, sweaty, covered in playa dust- can keep themselves and their camp clean, so can you.
It is common in our culture to be attatched to materials. Especially if your spent blood sweat and guts getting that thing. In my life I have seen this problem at it greatest when it comes to art. I have saved drawings and paintings from when I was five. Why have I done that? I think I have convinced myself to save those things because it marks a moment in time; a moment where I was someone else and to be reminded of that person somehow validates the person I am now. But theyre just things. It's just a bunch of stuff that I no longer need.
So, working through this last semester, I have been creating work that has to be destroyed before the summer break. This is one of those pieces. Now that the paper is ripped and crumpled from the two deinstallations, it is uterly useless and takes up space. In the trash it went. All the while there was a little voice in my head saying, "Save the paper! Reappropriate the materials into another fun project!" Unfortunately for that voice there is just no space in my apartment for that stuff to sit for months or years. I have also thrown out all of my old gestures and drawing exerceises from freshman year.
Again the question: "Why have I been holding on to this junk?!" Why do I hold on to any of these useless and unecessary things? All of those trinkets from your 10th birthday to that cool concert you went to. Do we think we are going to really forget the best moments of our lives if we get rid of everything? Forgeting those little moments wont change who we are right now. So make more space in your closet. And just pain over that super cool drawing you drew directly on the wall.