I know I’m loved. I know I have strong friendships. I know I have everything. But that doesn’t stop me from feeling alone.
I feel alone, because I recover from happiness all too quickly. Even if I’ve just returned home from a party, I’ll be depressed as soon as I’m back inside of my bedroom again. The loneliness drops over me like nightfall, the change sudden and harsh.
I feel alone, because social media has a way of tweaking my thoughts. Of convincing me that I’m not popular enough, because I don’t have enough likes. Or tricking me into thinking my life is boring, because I’m not in a constant rotation of vacations, flying from Paris to Hawaii to Rome.
I feel alone, because I don’t leave the house more than necessary. I stay inside, because my anxiety has wrapped chains around me, tethering me to the place where I feel the safest. But sometimes, that safety suffocates me, sometimes it shoves me toward insanity.
I feel alone, because I don’t reach out to people on the rare days when I have time to spare. I’ll text them and skirt around the fact that I want to hang out, and when they don’t initiate an encounter, I’ll swear that I’m friendless, that I really am as alone as I feel.
I feel alone, because my focus swivels between my career and my boyfriend. I dedicate as much time as I can to creating a worthwhile future and end up neglecting the present. I end up thinking about the long-term instead of the short-term. Planning ten years down the road instead of ten minutes down the road.
I feel alone, because I’ve convinced myself that no one else understands what I’m going through. That, if I revealed all of the things I’ve been suffering from, they would nod and smile in the moment, but go home and tell their roommates about what a mess I am. About how they feel sorry for me. Pity me.
I feel alone, because I actually prefer being alone. I prefer having the house to myself — having time to myself — so I can choose between reading a book or listening to music or walking my dog. Most of the time, I’m comforted by isolation. Nourished by it.
But then there are those rare days when I want someone to text me, just to ask how I’m doing and to see if I’m free that weekend. Someone to get drunk with me and take tipsy selfies that we’ll delete in the morning. Someone to remind me that there’s more to this life than routine. That it’s okay to break out of the ordinary cycle of the week and do something exciting.
Most of the time, I prefer being alone. But I don’t want to be alone all of the time.
And I never want to feel alone.