There are many types of loneliness. There is the everyday loneliness of empty cafeteria tables and no new messages on your phone. There is the aesthetic loneliness of abandoned swing sets, long piers running out into still lakes, and Pinterest pictures of a backpacker staring into a vast panoramic landscape. And then there is True Loneliness.
1. True Loneliness is the feeling you get deep in your gut when you realize you are the only You on this planet and everyone else might look the same but they will never really understand how you work on the inside. Your internal clockwork is shaped differently. If you broke, no one would be able to put you back together.
2. True Loneliness is the moment of blinding panic when you swim out too far and realize your foot can no longer touch the bottom of the ocean, except you feel it in a room full of people. These people are completely comfortable, your friends, people who love you… and all you want to do is scream because you can’t really connect with any of them. You gasp for air, and you drown slowly in quiet nods and smiles and no one notices.
3. True Loneliness is seriously considering the concept of reincarnation, simply because there is no other way to explain how old and misplaced you feel in the world. You find solace in the idea that there was a life before or will be a life afterward in which you feel whole, and at the same time are filled with weary resignation in the assurance of utter transience and forgetfulness.
4. When you’re driving down a highway with someone in the passenger seat and no one is talking and it feels like every mile you drive comes to sit between you, that’s True Loneliness.
5. When you’re listening to a song you love and suddenly realize that the words no longer hold context in your life, that you’ve moved on into a new and helpless space without a soundtrack, that’s True Loneliness.
6. It is Truly Lonely to realize that words mean different things to different people, so that no matter how hard you try to communicate something, the person listening will never see that mental image like you.
7. It is Truly Lonely to realize that the atoms that make up your body are constantly vibrating at such a ridiculous speed that it is impossible to really touch anyone or anything.
8. And it is Truly Lonely to realize that you will only ever be able to see out of your own eyes. Walk on your own legs. Think with your own brain.
9. Have you ever locked yourself in the bathroom and dry sobbed for half an hour, only to come out and find that no one had noticed you were missing? Have you ever felt the air around you as tangibly empty because some unknown person was not filling it? Have you ever stayed up until 2AM typing words into a blank document in a last desperate cry into the void, begging someone to answer, saying “I know how you feel,” and really meaning it?
Have you ever been Truly Lonely? So have I.