“By letting the expression move through you rather than crafting an identity for yourself, you’ll find that what you make is maybe not what you thought it was and serves you in a different way” –Random Rab
Fiction Based on a True Struggle with Loneliness
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
Loneliness is something always associated with being alone. Over the years I’ve found that loneliness doesn’t necessarily equate to being alone. We are familiar with feeling loneliness in a crowd or in a group. And we’re familiar with it when we’re by ourselves. We feel it physically and emotionally.
What I’m coming to understand, over the years, loneliness doesn’t necessarily mean you’re alone. It can be felt even when you’re with people who you know or don’t know. With friends, you can feel that emotional isolation of not being able to connect with someone. I think it’s the disconnect that affects us the most, caging us in a dark place where there seems to be no escape. It snowballs into something heavier, resting on the chest until you feel like breathing is impossible. That phrase bounces around: I’m alone.
Alone and loneliness have this messy, intertwined relationship, feeding off each other. Separating the two is difficult. Sometimes we don’t realize that they can be separated.
I’m realizing that just because I’m alone it doesn’t mean that I’m lonely. I’m learning to be content with myself and enjoy the time with myself, to remind myself who I am and accept that self when there’s no one else around. Stripping away the noise helps to expose the foundations of myself. I don’t feel like I lack anything; I’m secure in my relationships with others.
But there are days where I can’t bridge the gap, and I fall in, being swallowed up by the despair. I feel the loneliness grip me, refusing to let go. I believe the lies that I’m alone, never going to be understood, people don’t like me. I bend easily under that weight. The more I think about it, the more isolated I become. It’s a terrible cycle, a hamster wheel I continue to run on and can’t seem to get off of.
As I get older, I’m beginning to see that loneliness isn’t caused by the actions of others but rather a result of something internal. It rises up when my perception of others and their perceptions of me become negative—or at least that’s what I tell myself. It’s the false narrative that plays in my head, spurred on by anxiety. The fabricated story consumes all my thoughts, and I forget to stop and look closely at the loneliness I feel. Sometimes it does mean that I need to engage with people more, but more often than not, it’s a sign that I need to spend time with myself. Time to realign, time to calm down, time to sift through the negative to uncover the truth. To disconnect from the false image portrayed on social media that feeds my unrealistic expectations.
It’s a process, one that needs to be repeated often. Loneliness will always be there, and it will continue to evolve, appearing in new ways that I have to overcome. I have to remind myself that I’m not as alone as I think I am.