“We are all alone, born alone, die alone, and — in spite of True Romance magazines — we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely — at least, not all the time — but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don’t see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.” ― Hunter S. Thompson
I should start by saying that being alone and feeling lonely are separated by one thing: your perception of the situation. Which, of course, can be changed, but most of the times is a subconscious decision that appears to be out of your control.
My own loneliness is a contradictory issue. I have to be alone, I need to be alone, and I love being alone. I can write, I can enjoy the silence for longer periods of time than almost anyone else I ever met. I can only find myself when I am all alone in a silent room. I go out with people, act silly and whatnot for a couple of hours, all the while longing to go back home and be all by myself. I’ve been at parties and wanted nothing more than to go home, where there’s no one waiting but the hope of finding myself again.
It feels like that: as if I am losing myself in the crowd. I am losing myself in the minds of other people.
But I also hate having only myself to come home to. I hate my own company, so to speak. I feel restless, insecure, and sad.
Truth be told, I wouldn’t have written a single word if I hadn’t felt lonely. Different. Unique in a “there’s a big wall between you and the rest of the world” sense of way. Some days I hate that about me. Some days I think it’s the best damn thing in the world. A true blessing. Some days I feel as if me being alone to write, me being able to be alone to write, is the most wonderful thing in the world. And I am happy and ecstatic to do nothing other than to write. Other days… I feel as if it’s all a necessary sacrifice; and there’s nothing noble about it either. It’s just something that I had to do, because I was too scared to do anything else.
One of the many things we don’t like to talk about is the fact that most of the time our feelings are out of our control. Because you are aware. You are staring out the window at the rain. There’s nothing else to do, and the fact that you are aware changes nothing. I am aware of how I feel, I am rationally aware (and intrigued in a way) of the fact that I shouldn’t feel the way that I do about what I am seeing out the window.
But I feel that way regardless of what I am aware of.
That makes us human. Our ability to feel. And our ability to rationalize, to dissect out thoughts and feelings like no other creature before us.
At the beginning of this post I wrote that our perception is the only thing that makes a difference between being alone and feeling lonely. I can only tell you about the way I perceive things when I feel lonely: I hate myself. Simple as that. I am self-conscious to such an extent that it makes me loathe almost everything about me. So I do feel lonely in a crowded place, among friends or family, or when I am all by myself. I hate my own company, even though I am, to a certain extent, aware of the fact that people feel and think otherwise. And when I feel that, there’s nothing they can say or do that can make me change how I feel.
Of course, I also feel the exact opposite. I find myself to be good company to others, I find myself to be good company to my own self. I feel great. And it’s like I am different person then.
That is the simple and heartbreaking truth of our existence: we don’t get to choose how we feel.
What I’m really trying to say is this: there’s no point in fighting it. What you feel. There’s no point in denying it either. It just doesn’t work that way. You have to accept it. I feel the way that I feel, and it’s going to last for as long as it has to.
Staring out the window at the rain… it might seem as if the sun will never come out again.
But it does. Sooner or later. It does. Always.