“permanent awkward turtle.”



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.


9 thoughts on ““permanent awkward turtle.”

  1. I understand what you mean.I like to spend time alone,but for me it was always like that for me.I have little family-only my parents and I.I always had some friends,but very often I prefered to do something on my own instead of going out with friends.Friends wanted my full attention,all my time,but I couldn’t give them that or maybe I just didn’t want to do this.As a result I lost many of them,practically all of them.At first I was ok with that because I could devote all my time to myself,my desires.And then some time ago it striked me how lonely I became,because no dramas or tv series can replace friends.
    I hope you don’t mind i write so much,I just have so many random thoughts)

    1. No it’s okay, I don’t mind at all :) I’m sorry I can be really slow to reply, but I do read each comment I receive. I think there’s something to be said and to reflect upon when what I feel echoes to another; comforting, if nothing else so don’t worry about it.

      I’m sorry to hear that you lost friends along the way, though I suppose that’s inevitable. I hope that you’ll keep your spirit up and be yourself though, cos surely new ones will come in due time :) I completely echo your thoughts about shows though, because I think that’s my issue lately too. As much as the fictional world is alluring and characters come to life through characterization and strong acting chops, it still doesn’t beat blood and flesh you know? Human interactions.

      For me it’s not that I eventually lose friends, it’s more like I constantly hold people at bay – it’s so, so hard for me to let others in and when I do, sometimes it’s worse because I tend to care and give too much. I think being older makes me more skeptical too, or more like more non-committal. It’s easy to strike conversations and acquaint with people, but forming real and permanent bonds are far and few now.

      Often I wonder if I need to internalize less and externalize more (i.e. this isn’t an issue if I don’t make it an issue by acting the way I always do!), but these things are always so much easier said than done. Tricky.

      1. Thank you for your words:)It’s difficult to let people in for me too.This is because I know that I’m not a very good friend because I have little commitment,for example when starting a new drama I become so focused on it,that I completely forget about my friends.Though I realized I need friends,I refused to stop watching dramas because I love them too much.They are so addictive…So I now try to find a compromise between social life and watching dramas.

        1. Haha I get what you mean. I’m tryna workout that balance too (plus school is really slaying me with the crazy workload and materials). Let’s hope we achieve it, one way or another :)

  2. RE: “It’s so, so hard for me to let others in and when I do, sometimes it’s worse because I tend to care and give too much.”

    THIS. I find it hard to be friendlier towards people because most of the time, I expect them to treat me just like what I did to them, only to find myself as just an insignificant character in their lives. Maybe it’s just my self-defense but nowadays, I don’t really treat my friends well, afraid that the same thing will repeat itself again. Ah, the insecurities I have keep increasing as I get older…

    1. *waves* You’re here! Heee.

      You and I both then. There’s especially this one friend who did that to me and ugh, once I got past the sadness (disappointment?) that I’m just a blip in her sensational life, I’m now just irritated with her all the time. Ooops. But she taught me one thing (we’re college friends) and it’s that friendships formed in the later, grownup years are so much harder to keep.

      The weird thing is I think generally I treat people well i.e. I’m friendly and I try to be good-natured as much as possible, so acquaintances are easy to make but I’m… non-committal. I really don’t know if it’s me (okay, I think it’s me) and I suppose this is what you’d coin as ‘self-defense’. I wonder if it’s insecurities alone though, at least on my part cos I guess it’s more.. both jadedness and insecurities. Either way, it kinda sucks.

      (but rejoice? We’re kindred souls on this, ha)

      1. *waves* To tell you the truth, I drop by quite often…it’s just that I enjoy reading your thoughts rather than commenting. Heee…forgive me for being a silent reader most of the time :3

        “But she taught me one thing (we’re college friends) and it’s that friendships formed in the later, grownup years are so much harder to keep.”
        I noticed this too. Although I have a gang of close friends in college, in the sense that we spent most of the time together, there’s this untouchable territory in each of us that prevented us to be best friends. I’m not sure if it was just myself, but I didn’t think that we’re that close. Unlike my schoolmates, whom I rarely meet nowadays, I feel like I know more about them and I prefer to share my problems with them, probably because I stayed in the hostel for five years and we practically grew up together, knowing each other really well.

        We have some similarities, then. I’m not on the talkative side but I can make friends easily. But then, I do enjoy being alone most of the time (although there are moments when I feel lonely – I guess that’s normal?). Must be the untouchable territory inside me acting up. Ha.

  3. “I don’t know if I’m happy (I think I am), but I know I’m not sad.” This.

    In other news: Family dynamics have always fascinated me. I don’t have a big immediate family. No siblings, no cousins within a dozen years of my age. Every brother and sister I now claim are my husband’s, or my stepfamily. And honestly, I love that. Being forced to have family, forced to have relationships with other people who aren’t mine exactly, but are there by default (or maybe it’s me who is here by default). I just love quietly fitting into their lives- and I don’t want them to grow up and move away and get married. I’m selfish like that. I know I complain when they all invade my house, but I miss them when they’re gone. Having family is sometimes easier than making friends. You’re tied to one another, no matter what you do. And I know that time will stretch our ties, but I still know we are linked together. Like a best friend you don’t see often, but still can be natural with when you do meet again.

    I have no conclusion to this. I just felt like talking, Lol.

    1. There’s no need for a conclusion haha, totally love what you just shared :) “Having family is sometimes easier than making friends. You’re tied to one another, no matter what you do. And I know that time will stretch our ties, but I still know we are linked together. Like a best friend you don’t see often, but still can be natural with when you do meet again.” I’m glad you found yours in your step- and husband’s families :) This is pretty much what I feel, my only crutch is that as I wrote here, because I grew up with the certainty of knowing there are eight people who love me as I am, always, I feel content. So much so that… for a long time (and okay, even now) I don’t seek people as much, because I didn’t feel like I needed to. These days, sometimes I feel like I’m paying the price for my naivety, as much as I am happy for my siblings and like I said, think I’m happy (I really like being alone, but I guess the catch is – not all the time?).

      I’m also starting to think I’m finally getting to “that age” where this perpetual singledom amidst a crowd of pairs all the friggin’ time does funny things to my heart and mind. It’s not so much that I feel sad and therefore pathetic about myself, but I think I’m starting to wonder what’s the fascination and appeal of being one-half of two. Lately I wonder what closeness is all about, this intimacy that’s only privy to two. It’s weird, and makes me feel so damn wispy when it hits.

      OMG I have no conclusion to this either. So… yeah, that’s that haha.

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