Sunday, July 11, 2010

On Loneliness

Throughout my life, there is one feeling that has always been there. Sometimes it is overpowering and at other times it lingers just below the surface, and I can feel it, waiting. Even now, in the one of the most populated places on the planet, I still feel so lonely. It is the feeling I wake up with, the one I carry around all day and one I feel when I go to sleep. Even when I am laughing, it is there in the background. It is not a feeling of loneliness that is about the longing for the company of other people, but more a feeling that there is nobody who truly knows me, nobody who is truly there.

Sometimes it is the most intense when I am with someone else. How is it possible to physically be so close to someone and yet worlds apart. Why is it the people who are most important to us can, without even knowing it, make us feel so completely and painfully invisible and alone? And then I don’t know what to do. So often I want to reach for a hand, just to hold it, to feel another person, but then there is the fear of them pulling away and the loneliness is so much easier to deal with than the potential rejection that seems inevitable.

And so I go it alone, even in the company of others. I am there with them, but not really, not totally, not in the way I would like to be. I see so many people that seem to effortlessly connect with others and I don’t understand them. I know people think I am that way. They see an exterior that looks shiny and polished, but the fact of the matter is, I have just learned to fake it. I shut people out as much as I can, and when I have to, I put on a huge smile, tell some jokes and tell the world that everything is fine. But it is all smoke and mirrors, slight of hand and it is getting more and more difficult to pull the rabbit out of the hat. When I do talk to people, I am clumsy and give the impression I am making everything all about me. But the fact of the matter is, I am just gasping for air, trying to stay afloat.

I hate feeling lonely, but I am not sure how to feel any other way. I am tired of putting on a smile when all I really want is just to be held, really held and cry. I want to feel safe, heard and seen. But it doesn’t happen and so I go on, waiting and wanting but growing more confident that it is never coming. And I am not sure I would know what to do if it happened anyway.