The Audacity of Loneliness.
Twenty-seven years. That’s how long the world and I have tolerated each other. Sometimes with hostility, but mostly with fumbling understanding. Most days it feels like the the world is trying to teach me lessons in a language i’m yet to learn. You see, in our universal, yet exquisitely unique suffering, it’s easy to convince myself of my singular loneliness.
I’ve been lonely for a very a long time. In fact, I do not remember a time I wasn’t overwhelmingly so. Maybe, as a child. But my memories won’t let me relive those moments. I can only imagine, so I make my imagined memories happier, livelier, fuller, bursting to seam with people scrambling to adore me. It does nothing to alleviate my suffering — these are feelings I’m aware I’m manufacturing, those too, barely a whisper of a real voice. Growing up having a twin as a sibling, loneliness seems like an alien concept, a blatant lie. In fact, it might have to do with it. Depending on an entire person to ship you both through life leaves you with no ways to cope when you find the boat being manned by one — you. You see, even a pair of twins are made of two wholes. Mine just never materialised enough to fill me fully of myself.
I changed schools, boyfriends, jobs, cities. In a time spanning more than two decades, I learned to live alone, now in the literal sense of the word. And it forced me to acknowledge that not only was I living full-time with loneliness, but that I always was, and was afraid to ever admit that. And secondly, that I did not know anything to do about it. A fact, that till date, remains unchanged. Look, it’s not like I haven’t tried. I’ve tried everything — even romanticising the life of a tortured writer with too many boys, too much wine, too many tears, too many poems. Secretly always believing the feelings were just crashing into me, and I was an unyielding dead thing, pretending to feel them. That’s also about the time my recurring toying with the idea of ending my existence, was now more everyday and less once-in-a-while.
It’s okay. I’m not dead. I took help. I now know enough to function, even pass off as an averagely happy non-consequential person living an average non-consequential life. It’s a funny thing to feel alone and to feel nothing, all at once.
When I imagine loneliness, I think of a thing full of living, full of itself, visiting people and refusing to leave them. This loudmouthed force, insistent on making you feel their presence, and an absence of anything else.
I don’t know if it ever goes away. I don’t know if it ever will. All I know is, some days I fight for happiness, and some days I cannot try any harder. I fantasise about happiness finding me on my bed, lying awake on another 4 am night, and telling me I’ve tried enough. Finally rewarding my tired, small, but still-there existence with its companionship.
(Art featured is from here.)