Recently a friend texted me and asked: “Why is it that at night you feel like you hate everything?” I had to think about that for a minute. I think it’s a widely acknowledged reality that we feel and think more poignantly at night, but I never really put any thought into the reason for that. I answered that it might be because night is quieter, so your mind is louder. Or maybe it has to do with darkness; you feel like the world doesn’t see you anymore, so all you’re left with is you. And that is terrifying.
Everybody in the world experiences loneliness throughout their lives. Nobody is exempt from the deeply capsizing realization that we are always going to be, to a certain extent, alone. I can’t say for certain that everyone feels it the same way, as I have only felt my own. But I know that the feeling is always around, lingering in the air, waiting for its chance to grab ahold of you. Sometimes we’re lucky enough to have someone to thwart that heartache. Sometimes we lose that person and we’re consumed by it with more ferocity than we ever thought possible.
I find it kind of funny how none of us are really alone in feeling alone. I also find it kind of funny that a lot of us don’t talk about it. At least not in the way we should. I suppose that’s the nature of the sensation itself: to go it alone. Once in a while I’ll have a no holds barred conversation with my best friend, and I’ll tell her how heavy my heart is. I’ll try to convey how painful it is to feel completely isolated from a world filled with over 7 billion other people, but words always seem to come up short. And even though I get frustrated that I can’t seem to describe how I feel in a way that will truly make her understand, I already know that she does. Just looking at her expression – the way she nods at every word I attempt to conceive, the sadness I see swimming in her eyes – I can see that I don’t need to find the words. Loneliness is a feeling that transcends any and all language. It is a language in itself, and everybody is fluent.
How different do you think the world would be if people were honest about how they felt? I don’t mean like something out of a sitcom where somebody wonders out loud what would happen if everybody told the truth, and it fades out to a universe in which people spout their crude and ignorant opinions at any given convenience. I’m talking about a society where someone says, “How ya doing’ today?” and our answers are more real than, “I’m good, how are you?” What if it was okay to say, “You know what, I’m feeling kind of hopeless today and I’m not sure why,” or, “I’m feeling more inspired today than I have in a long time.” Do you think a world like that would be a better place? Would it change how we as a human race operate and function with one another? Maybe it would.
I’m not saying you should dump all of your problems on the next retail worker that asks if you need any help. Just be a little more honest with yourself and with the rest of the world. If we did that, perhaps we’d all feel a little more connected to each other. I think we can all find comfort in knowing that we are not alone, in facing the haunting awareness of being alone.