Sights of Loneliness
Yesterday I took a long walk and realized what a loser I am. I saw all of the faces, the broken bottles on the sidewalk, the empty storefronts, and knew everything I was staring at was a part of this picture. Except me. I’m not a part of anything. For the part year I have actively made zero effort to take part in the life around me. I go to a university of 35,000 students and I know a grand total of 3. This alone is not why I’m a loser, in fact, I’d be rather comfortable with this if it weren’t for another glaringly obvious fact: I am empty. I belong nowhere, and I am exploring nothing. The reason I walk the same route to class, sit in the same seats and feel the same frustration day after day is because I have chosen this lacking existence.
And that’s why I’m a loser.
Loneliness is a feeling I am so comfortable with that I can hardly call it a problem. Perhaps it’s simply a part of my nature, or that my shyness has beaten down my sense of enjoyment around others over the years. Either way I know that it is wrong. Society tells us that it is wrong to be lonely, that it means there is something wrong with you. Loneliness (and ok, maybe a bit of mood swings from depression) is why I’ve wondered if I’m crazy before. Loneliness is why I’ve done stupid things out of desperation. In fact, it is that desperation that has spurred many of my failed relationships. And it is the loneliness that I felt gradually seep into every moment that terminated those relationships. It’s a terrible feeling, to feel lonely as someone looks at you or talks to you or kisses you…but either way, if you are lonely in a relationship or not, you are screwed. Because it is wrong to be lonely, even though every single person has felt that way.
Why is it wrong to be lonely? I don’t know, but we sure as hell spend a lot of money trying to avoid it. People get married, divorced, have affairs. People text, Skype, perfect their social profiles. People join clubs, teams, fraternities/sororities. We eat together, sleep together, heck, maybe the only thing we don’t do is use the bathroom in a group. People today are addicted to the company they keep because they are petrified of being lonely. But why? Are they trying to avoid themselves, or are they simply conditioned to think it is wrong to be alone?
On my walk I didn’t see anyone else alone except one guy who walked like he was dead-set on getting somewhere. He didn’t meet my eyes and vanished soon enough. The only people who were walking as slow as me, slow enough to notice the clouds and music down the block, were the people clustered in groups. They, on the other hand, met my eyes. Maybe this is just a habit I’ve noticed in myself, but people don’t usually look others in the eye as often if they are walking alone. They also walk faster because no one is trying to talk to them. Are they trying not to notice how apparent it is that they are alone? Or are they trying not to notice the reaction other people have to the fact that they are alone? Maybe it is because they are the sole focus of attention if someone looks their way, maybe they are self-conscious of this… Or maybe I’m just being an idiot and they are just trying to get to wherever the hell they’re going.
I am a loser because I know what I need to feel active in life, but am ignoring it anyway. I’m afraid of being too happy here at school in the absence of my boyfriend. And to me, that is enough of a reason to be deemed loser-ish. Because the people who are lost and lonely and unsure what even makes them happy are often called the losers, and they are not. I am a loser for not trying. They are losers for feeling alone in the world. And even though these two qualities sometimes feel the same, they are not.
I see the cold, artificial coffee drinks in students’ hands, I see the cracks around the eyes of the homeless. I see the sunlight bouncing off leaves in a way headlights and street lamps could never replicate. I see the silence in the walls of old buildings downtown, and dirty, happy smudges on the windows of bars. The trash cans are overflowing with the leftovers of last night’s adventures, the clothes in the windows are begging to be bought with money no one has. People are smoking in the sidewalks and laughing into the hum of cars.
I’m still trying to figure out what all of it means.