Loneliness is the certainty that I have felt that way right down to my core for most of my life. It didn’t matter in whose company I was at any given time.
It is seeing the child molesters, cheats, liars, and otherwise bad people in my family, thrive and live in comfort into their old age–while I could face homelessness and utter poverty in an aberrant heartbeat.
Loneliness is realizing that being a good person—which matters to me–does not change reality or guarantee a thing. It does not mean everything is going to work out all right. Although I choose to believe it will be.
It is seeing my in-laws’ faces light up when they see their youngest kid, my friend. Each time I witness this, I feel joy but sometimes I ache, wishing I could see that reflection too.
Loneliness is digging more deeply into my being than ever before. Not being sure, I will make it. So deathly afraid I’ll fail. Moving heal-to-toe, heal-to-toe, each battered shoe gaining advantage from its match. Blinded by rain and sleet, I move like a sloth without ceasing.
It knows that the following two statements are true:
(a) I always ‘made choices’ out of desperation—the lesser of two evils, sort of thing–not because I had a real option, in the true sense of the word. and
(b) I was always so petrified of being hurt again, that no matter how quietly I spoke my mind, if nobody thought it important enough to listen, I settled for that. I gave in, dismissing my fears and thoughts as trivial. I lived with men all wrong for me while in this state.
Loneliness is the awkwardness I feel sometimes with people who would think me not as good or important as others because I don’t have material things. Stuff to prove how well I’m doing in life. They view me a loser.
It knows I lost decades of the most exciting times in a young woman’s life. Time I cannot retrieve or improve upon by slapping on a few coats of yellow paint.
Loneliness knows I spent every waking moment hating and hurting myself. I wouldn’t even take part in an end-of-season special to buy a cheap coat for the upcoming winter. Why would I think I would be alive a week later, let alone decades into the future?
It knows, feels and sees that my body seems to have aged about three years in the last ten months; and knows, as well, that I’ve been crawling into myself again for a self-protection of sorts.
Loneliness is having moments where I face a friend of two decades and see a total stranger. Where our conversations become stilted, awkward, polite, like with someone we just met.
It knows that Mom died before completing her book and that I don’t want that for me.
Loneliness is having an editor ask, “Did you ever think they should’ve locked you up in a hospital?” No. I wasn’t horrified. I loved it so much! I can communicate with the world, no longer a prisoner of my skull. I was mute! Now I have the squeaky-new ability to share with people so fully, that his sense of it being perfectly fine to ask me that—was absolutely right. I was never so happy.
It is allowing yourself to feel and burn and dance and work and push and work and strain and breathe, so deeply, while loving someone with whom ….
Loneliness is embracing that experience with everything in you, savoring, tasting, rocking, teasing and nurturing it–but only briefly. You must let it go. Still, you just rejoice that you can feel anything so deeply.
It is coming out on the other side of a horrendous period of sabotage and deep self-hatred. Surveying the damage. Some badly chosen words. Exhaustion. No physical wounds. Or friends lost, I think. Still breathing.
Loneliness is living on with a zest for life, despite my fear and average self.