(Disclaimer: I’m not trying to bemoan that I have no friends and feel lonely all the time, because neither is true. I write this post because everyone feels lonely sometimes, and my loneliness isn’t any more special than next door Joe’s.)
Sometimes I feel a little bit lonely and I don’t even know why.
I lied. I almost always know why. I just tell my loved ones that I don’t. The excuse is almost always, “oh, I’m just stressed”, and I say that because I don’t want to tell them the real reason, for fear of their judgement.
You’ve probably heard that funny but kind of cleaver little quote “You can be lonely and not alone” or some variation of that. I mostly agree with it. I almost always feel the most lonely when I’m not alone.
I can say that I have a lot of friends, a few close friends, one friend that I can tell around 70% of myself to, and no one I can completely and truly be honest with. That one friend who I tell 70% of myself to is my best friend, but I don’t call him that, and he doesn’t know it.
One instance when I was lonely I was on a college tour with my best friend and another close friend. The first night I cried into the pillow and was mostly concerned about how small my eyes would look the other day (I lied again, my biggest concern was that my best friend hated me, but I mostly try to be lighthearted in my blogs.)
Another time I felt lonely I was a friend’s suite in the dark, and I was feeling a sad about my best friend (The circumstances that caused me to feel sad feels stupid now, but then it was the world and the world was crushing down on me). In the darkness I laughed with my two other friends, constantly checking my texts. I wanted something as simple as a text, any kind of communication. In the darkness it was as if I was separated from everyone and everything, and when my phone finally lit up, I waited a minute before checking the actual message, because God Forbid I come across as too eager, because if my friend doesn’t immediately open my texts then I shouldn’t either.
In the text my friend sent me were a couple of screenshots of an Instagram post, and the text he actually sent me, which for privacy reasons, I won’t share. But the screenshots were basically like this:
“The Bubble of Belonging –
Walking into a restaurant saying, “I’m waiting for someone” and that someone hugs me from behind and says “I’ve missed you so much”.
Friend who lies down next to me and answers my questions about physics and the size of stars.
Friend who says “There’s no timer” when I apologize for talking a lot about something.
“I know exactly how you feel”, and she does.”*
(*credits to @bymariandrew on Instagram)
When I read the screenshot, I started crying. It was a strange feeling, sitting with two other people in the dark, neither aware that I was bawling my eyes out. In that moment, the loneliness that I had felt morphed and semi-turned into a sense of belonging, like in the screenshot.
I often think about belonging and my place in the world. I read books and watch movies and live my life in an attempt to feel less lonely, to find someplace something someone that anchors me to the earth. My someplace is a strange place. My something is writing. My someone doesn’t know, and I should probably tell them someday.