how to be alone.

24 February, 2020

Loneliness is something I think about a lot. Are any of us ever really alone? Do we each have different ideas of what would make us feel whole? If we are all feeling the same empty loneliness, then does that bring us together somehow? I know I'm not really alone. I know people. I speak to other people on a regular basis. I've written about what it means to me to have a real conversation or connection or friendship and I've also written about the absence of them. It has already been said that interacting with other people or not actually being alone doesn't prevent that feeling of loneliness though, and I also know this.

Loneliness is something you can get used to. Something you can pretend doesn't actually happen, at least not to you. Loneliness can make you feel guilty, ungrateful for not appreciating what you have. It can creep in, knock on the door, look like introversion, and make you tell other people that you have "just been really busy lately." You can't just tell other people that you are lonely and ask them to fix it, you can't just explain in a way that makes sense, you can't just make it go away. There is no easy fix, no cure for that sinking feeling, only a facade that you put on while you wait for better days. There is just coping. And hoping. Until you aren't anymore.

STEP 1: denial.

I don't think you ever get used to being alone but you can pretend like it doesn't bother you anymore. You can pretend you don't miss goodbye hugs and hello squeezes. Like you didn't wish you had someone to share notes with and save your seat. You can pretend it doesn't hurt when no one calls your name, no one texts to see if you got home okay, no one offers to help, no one notices if something is wrong, no one is waiting for you, no one to congratulate or criticize you. You can pretend like it doesn't hurt. There is freedom in being able to make all your own decisions right? This is independence! This is what they call spreading your wings. This is what everyone is always saying you should do, so why doesn't it feel right?

STEP 2: anger.

When am I going to be a great person who does great things? When am I going to be someone's first choice? When am I ever going to get used to the feeling of being left out, of knowing other people are having a better time than me, better days, better lives? Am I ever going to be there? Am I ever going to be them? Am I ever going to be good enough for myself? I am trying so hard to succeed and I tell myself that I can live a lonely life if only it is a successful one but if I don't have that then what am I really? Am I even really trying?

I understand that I am not unique but I just want to feel valued and important in the small part of the world that I occupy. As much as I want to follow my dreams and be different, I just want to fit somewhere. I want to feel like my actions are meaningful. Do I need other people in order to succeed? Is that the missing piece of the puzzle? Where are the instructions!!!

STEP 3: bargaining.

I'll change. I promise I'll change. Just give me one perfect person who loves everything that I do, one perfect job and house and car and body and I will be the perfect person for you in return.

Step 4: depression.

You learn to text yourself. Learn to ignore the text posts. Learn to ignore your entire feed. Learn to take care of yourself, learn to have no one to be pretty for. Learn to fill the silence with everything and nothing, then learn to fill the nothing. Write about it, cry about it, sing about it, draw about it, dance about it, speak about it. Then when people ask you to name it lonely, tell them you have no idea what they are talking about and they could never understand. Convince yourself there is no one who could understand. The ultimate loneliness is when you convince yourself that you are all alone in being alone and then you have truly spiraled.

step 5: acceptance.

I've found people who like the same things I do, meaning I've gone down that path to feeling content I guess but it never is what I expect. I talk to people but never quite make enough of a connection. I might be searching for the wrong things because I always end down this dead end path, I always find myself using the same tired metaphors. I don't even really know what I'm looking for.

My therapist said something about my situation and how hard it is to grow up. I told her that they always want you to leave the nest but never to fly. How they always want you to fit in but don't tell you how or where you are supposed to go in such a crowded space. They tell you there are so many people just like you who are going through the same things and there are so many people who've made it but every time you go to these places filled with these people you can't seem to make eye contact with even one. Is the cure to loneliness other people? I feel too broken for that.

They teach you to talk but not to speak. They teach you to walk but never to get where you are going and no one will tell you the right direction. Before you know it, you can't go back. Only forward into the unknown. Only trying to spread your wings while also being aware of the long, long way down. Knowing there is no longer a place for you here, but not knowing if there is something else out there. Just not knowing.

Truth is I know a lot about feeling alone. I think loneliness is my Goliath. I know I am standing in my own way, I know I am my own Goliath. I've spent a lot of time sharpening the sword.  I guess you deal with loneliness by pretending it doesn't exist until it doesn't. At least for a little while. You deal by pretending you don't wish there was someone in the passengers seat or the right side of the bed. By pretending you are a private person and pretending you don't see other peoples lack of loneliness. You deal with loneliness by pretending. They say a lot of people feel this way.


Join the conversation!

  1. So beautifully put. I've been feeling pretty lonely lately, and reading this made me feel understood, at least.

    1. Thank you, I'm sorry you've felt that way ♡

  2. Love love love this. These days loneliness seems to creep in much more easier; you described the feeling so well. I'm so happy to have come across your blog. Love the aesthetics and love this topic x

  3. I didn't expect it to be so relevant when I wrote it haha, thank you!! ♡


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