Sometimes I think loneliness is such a real thing, so tangible and palpable that I just don’t know what to do with it, what more how to shake it off.
For the most part, I function absolutely fine by myself and frankly speaking, it’s not that I dislike people; I think I just value my personal space too much. Sometimes I wish I live with housemates and not alone, but the truth is, I hate it when others invade my personal space and living quarters. Where I live is always a big deal to me that until now, I refuse to have just anyone in and out of it.
It’s not that I dislike people or can’t be around them, but I think I am… selfish? I want to be in the presence of other people, yet have everyone leave me be to do my own thing, undisturbed unless I’ve stated otherwise beforehand. Naturally, this is the result – I have very few people for company because people are not animals, you know? People don’t just get told and oblige to my allowable hours, nor do they live their lives around my schedule. People aren’t inanimate objects either, where they’re arranged and placed wherever I think is most suitable for them.
I don’t think anyone is black-and-white introverted or extroverted; we’re a mixture of both, and what varies is the fractional percentage between the two traits. Are we more introverted than extroverted, or vice versa? For me, I think I’m introverted when I want to be because the more someone gets to know me, they realize that I’m not quiet at all. I am talkative, and love substantial conversations. I love spending downtime with human interactions, but being in the presence of others always tires me.
A classmate of mine is married, and her husband is here this week. It’s a brief stopover before he flies back to their homeland Singapore where he’s still based at while she’s here for the rest of the school year. They sound like a really cute couple and it must be really nice to have him here with her, knowing there’s someone waiting for you at the end of a long day.
Last week I kept passing by couples who are lost in their own intimate bubbles; giddy in love. Last weekend I noticed that my news feed was filled with outings and weekend getaways from skiing trips to city excursions, widespread grins plastered on each face. On Friday and Saturday nights, the neighborhood was lively and well, loud. Music filled the spaces of the darkness and every few minutes, I could hear the sound of laughter floating from somewhere else. People – they sure sound like they’re having so much fun in each other’s company.
Sometimes loneliness feels like such a real thing that I just don’t know how to deal, or what to do.
For the most part I function fine and in my extremely weird ways, always prefer my own company over others. I fill my time with things I want to do, because let’s face it – there’s simply not enough hours in a day to do everything one wants to do. If there is, the energy and strength aren’t always there, unfortunately. I’m good with keeping myself busy and occupied, lining up schoolwork-related workload and leisure activities I can do by myself like writing, reading and of course, catching up on shows. I think I am happy, or perhaps it’s more correct to put it this way – I don’t know if I’m happy (I think I am), but I know I’m not sad.
Perhaps this is the side-effect of growing up with such a large family; I grew up smothered with attention throughout my formative and teenage years, and even now when I am home I’m constantly surrounded by people. The irony is that as we grow older, we communicate less. We’re still in each other’s lives but we’re in-and-out, never really there, constantly in motion as we claim we’re busy with priorities. Even now, I can easily count with my fingers the number of times we’ve held Skype sessions – if I’m lucky I’ll be able to catch them, other times it’d be whenever Mum thinks I’ve been elusive long enough, so she ropes me back within her viewfinder.
What I’m trying to say is that it’s ironic, isn’t it? Coming from such a large family means I’m supposed to constantly have people by my side, or that I’m supposed to be too used to people. I guess I am? Most times I don’t understand my own loneliness, and I wonder if it’s a paradox of someone whose been loved all her life? I grew up with the certainty and assurance that I am loved by not one person, but eight of them and somewhere along the way, maybe I started believing that that’s enough.
Maybe I simply forgot, or maybe they just never did – they have lives of their own. Sometimes I feel like I’m now left teetering after their shadows and the spaces they left behind. Between husbands, wives, kids, daily jobs, in-laws, and friends – so many things and people, their commitments now lie elsewhere. Their priorities are now stacked high with things beyond their control and lifelong engagements. Now that their little sister is no longer little and halfway across the globe, surely she’s fine-just-fine.
Did I live and build my life around their presence, failing to realize they’re doing the same thing… but for themselves? Now it’s like I’m left by myself because growing up the way I did also meant that they sew and then clipped wings on me, allowing me to fly freely with the belief that their love for me will live on in my heart and clipped wings – only not necessarily within their presence anymore.
For the most part I don’t understand my loneliness, and there are moments when silence has never felt so loud. It’s hollow, yet it feels more obtrusive than anything else I’ve experienced. It’s neither happiness nor sadness, yet its emotional resonance vibrates and ripples. It lingers for days, and sometimes I’m taken aback at the sharp and sudden pain. I say I’m fine and believe it, yet something persists and try as I might, I still can’t put a name to it.
The thing that strikes me as odd, always, is this: how can I possibly yearn for something I don’t know? How can I possibly yearn for something, or someone, when my preference and tendency is always… well, myself? How can I miss something I’ve never had? How can I possibly put a name to an emotion I’ve never experienced? I sit in my personal space, one that I create and safeguard with all my might, convinced I have them all right. I think I’m happy.
Sometimes loneliness is such a real thing, and I just don’t know what to do about it. It doesn’t go away, and I don’t know how to deal.
Twenty-three feels like it’ll be a challenging year.