The questions my therapist asks often annoy me because she scoops out the hidden questions that I have not dared to ask myself and forces me to face them.
Lately the questions have been centered on loneliness. Am I capable of being vulnerable with someone? Am I lovable? Are romantic feelings worth the emotional stress I feel when someone enters in my life?
My therapist is lucky to have escaped without scratches or bruises during the weeks I fought off pinning the loneliness label to my chest. But now it’s here, and it bleeds into everything that I write and speak.
This admission is not something I take lightly in a society that ridicules the girl who admits to loneliness. There is nothing better than being considered a strong, independent woman who takes care of herself and shatters the glass ceiling in her job industry. I’ve worked so hard to become that kind of woman, but no one ever told me that a strong woman could feel loneliness.
But here I am, lonely and afraid. There is this fun self-sabotaging quality in me that wants a deeper connection with the people around me but is terrified of opening up. A deeper connection is a two way street, but I go out of my way to take only the one-way streets.
Loneliness is embarrassing and frustrating and I want to get out of this feeling as quickly as possible. My first reaction is to stuff it down and distract myself with my small circle of friends and work and pretend its not there. That method has worked for me before, but then my introverted ways inevitably catch up to me and I feel the loneliness in full force once again.
The pressing question is, what is the opposite of loneliness and how do I know I’ve arrived at that point?
I’m at the beginning of the answer to that question. It’s a journey of finding out if this loneliness is a phase or something that will always be a part of me, even if I’m married and have a family and great friends surrounding me. Maybe this loneliness is the search for something more, something that will take me out of this cycle of selfishness and closed off mentality that I’m more drawn to.
But for now, I will wear the title of a lonely 20-something on my chest. I will no longer be ashamed of it and I will no longer hide from it. But I am on the journey to find something to replace that badge.