I don’t know what the correct way to preface this post would be, but I do know that it will be received in a similar way to when Carrie Bradshaw decided to write about being in a relationship (as opposed to being single). A total. utter. fucking. disaster. While I’ve been told that there was no need to justify myself or my writing, a piece on loneliness was something too personal, even for me. I like to consider myself an open book so as long as someone else is asking me the difficult questions…
A few years ago, for the first time in my twenty-something years, I felt lonely. Later in life, I realised it was similar to an anxiety attack I would get frequently but only worse. I was never one to shy away from being alone because honestly, I think I’m fantastic company by myself. But I soon identified that being lonely and being alone as two distinctly different things. And unlike other problems with myself that I was able to fix with medications, Google or soon brush under the carpet, even as I continued to grow out of my 20s, the loneliness stayed on, lingered. It became friends with my anxiety and depression and sometimes they would come to the party, uninvited I must add, all at once.
So what do I do when I feel terribly lonely, isolated and God forbid, needy? I usually keep quiet and try to distract myself. It’s partly pride (and I can’t believe I just said that) and partly the inability to express such emotions. When you are known and have built an entire reputation out of being rock-like and devoid of feelings and any sentiment whatsoever, how do you explain to anyone that you are feeling lonely? How do you justify such feelings that seem fleeting but are just honestly always so very present? Relaxing with the infamous duo and your shadow during the day and when the sun goes down they come out to play.
These feelings of burden, because that’s what they do, weigh me down, I treat in the way I treat older trauma and recent grief. I make them part of my larger self and together, we move forward. Of course, this can be better addressed and not all of these internalised burdens probably be, but our relationship is strong here. There is a part of me that doesn’t want to let go, not necessarily out of sentiment but possibly because I like to believe that I am what I am because of all this and all of the other lived experiences.