There is a very big difference in wanting to be alone, and feeling lonely. Some people don’t seem to understand that they are two entirely different things.
Not to sound like a Christina Aguilera/Ricky Martin song or anything but, nobody wants to be lonely. They might want to be alone – whether for a little while during the day or long term, whatever. But they certainly do not want to be lonely. Being lonely is one of the most awful feelings in the world. It’s right up there with someone you love dearly being in pain, whether physical or emotional, and there is nothing that you can do to help them.
I grew accustomed to being alone when I was young. Too young, probably, when I think about it. But hey, that’s the way it was. My brother and sister were both in school, my dad worked, and my mom wound up going to school as well. Which meant when she was home with me during the day, she was taking care of household stuff, or studying. My siblings would come home from school, my dad from work, we’d eat, then my mom was off to her classes, it was homework time for the siblings and/or they had after school activities to attend or they got to go to friend’s houses/have friends over which gobbled up my dad’s time. Or they just really did not want to deal with me, because they were so much older and I was the baby and they simply had no interest in entertaining me. So. I was just left to fend for myself basically. At least that’s how it always felt to me, and it’s how I remember most times going. It probably wasn’t really all that bad. But when you’re four years old and just want someone to play a game with you with your dolls for a little while, and you’re told to play by yourself because everyone is “too busy to play with you”… it sticks with you. I remember more than once that happened. And once in particular is very well remembered though I’m not sure why this one sticks out in my mind more than the others. I’ll spare the specific details but just leave it at I so very much wanted a particular family member to play with my dolls with me, and I was told they were too busy and to play by myself. I remember I had asked a couple times already and had gotten that answer each time. To be fair it probably hadn’t been long between my requests but time moves a lot slower to a kid so it felt like I had been waiting patiently for a very long time. After that last time I remember finally giving up and going into the living room to play by myself… and just being so absolutely heartbroken with it that it did not last long before I just went to my bedroom and cried myself to sleep instead.
Yep. I learned early to just be content to be alone. And in looking back on it and realizing that I remember it far too well and it still kind of hurts, all these many many years later, I see that I have ALWAYS been rather “special” like that. (Hurt too easily, I mean.) Regardless… I learned to be ok with being alone. And I’ve spent much of my life alone. Sometimes by choice, and sometimes not.
What’s sad, though, is that much of that time has also been spent feeling horribly lonely. And the thing about being lonely is, you don’t have to be alone to feel that way. If anything I find myself feeling more lonely when I’m with people than when I am alone. There have been quite a few “family gatherings” over the years that I was not invited to or told about until well after they had happened. Which sometimes bugs me when I think of it. But usually I can’t help but feel it’s better that way. Because whenever I am at “family gatherings”… it’s when I feel the absolute loneliest. It never fails. Everyone else mingles and laughs and catches up… I try to join in but just can’t seem to do it. I feel like I just do not belong.
Is a regular occurrence in my life, especially when I’m around my family.
And when I screw up, which I kind of do a lot… it tends to go like this:
I think I’ve digressed from my original topic a bit, here… but whatever. It’s late, I’m tired but unable to sleep… and… feeling kind of lonely. (I bet that came as a shock didn’t it?)
I can get used to being alone… but loneliness? I don’t think it’s possible to ever get used to that.