A love letter to the lonely.
Recently, I moved out of my parents’ house (again), into my own place. Normally, this would be cause for excitement – a new apartment, your own routines, and ALL the trips to IKEA! But after the excitement faded, I found myself often feeling lonely.
Loneliness is a tricky companion. It seeps into your bones, and before you know it, it has made a home under your skin. There it stays, living in harmony with your fears and insecurities. Loneliness is what the voice in your head tells you you deserve, for being you, for being difficult, for being so hard to love.
Loneliness becomes a shield. Once you're good at being lonely, you find safety in the quiet, empty spaces. There is no rejection there. You are never the odd one out when you're alone.
Loneliness becomes an excuse. It is a weapon you use against yourself. There is no one there to judge you for your choices, to reprimand you for bad behavior, to tell you to put down the fork, put down the glass. Making excuses is a lot easier when you’re the only one who has to buy them.
Even though I know that I have love in my life, sometimes when I’m on my own, loneliness still hits me like a sledgehammer. It ripples out into my body like waves on a lake that you toss a stone into, and its momentum seems unstoppable.
As Rupi Kaur said, “The irony of loneliness is we all feel it at the same time”. Even more insidious is the fact that this feeling can be so overwhelming that you start to believe it’s true, that there is no difference between feeling lonely and being alone. It can be even harder to differentiate between the two when you’re single, and it feels like you will never find love.
But I am here to tell you: you are complete, just the way you are. There is nothing wrong with you because you are single and feeling lonely. You are a whole and consummate human being without a significant other. The lies loneliness tells you are untrue.
If you find yourself in a season of feeling lonely, please know that it’s okay. If it feels like you’re putting on your loneliness in the morning along with your makeup and scrubbing it off again at night after you brush your teeth, it’s okay to sit with that feeling. To explore why you feel the way that you do, and what triggers it.
Please also know this: no one is ever truly alone. There is someone out there who is thinking of you. You are someone’s favorite person, your voice is someone’s favorite voice. You matter. Even when it doesn’t feel like it, you matter.
So hold on. When loneliness tries to tell you that this is the only way you will ever feel, hold on. As I have been learning over the last few weeks, if you simply do your best to spend time with the people you love, and take care of yourself in the process, the loneliness will ebb away again. You just have to hold on.