‘Hello little Mrs. Loneliness…
You stumble into this world all on your own and I am in awe of your courage.
Sometimes aloneness is a blessing.
Often it is a curse.
Which one will it be?
What if you get to choose…’
I bet you, there isn’t one human being on this earth, who hasn’t been wrestling with the intense feelings of being cut off from everything and everyone. This excruciating, painful emotion, hitting you like a cruel punch into your stomach. Letting you fall into the abyss of black nothingness as if you were the only survivor on a spaceship, floating through vast, endless space.
Loneliness can feel like an eternity.
The weird thing is, nobody talks about it. Which makes it worse, because you think you’re the only one, having to go through this. It creates an even greater separation from everyone else, seemingly having such a bloody good time. Kissing and hugging their family, partners and friends on Facebook.
The reality is, lonesomeness is a human condition. Some may encounter it more often than others. Although we all have to face this feeling one time or another. We come into this world on our own and we leave it by ourselves. No matter how many people stand around our deathbed, holding hands.
It’s a shame, that loneliness gets such a bad rap. People on their own often have to face a lot of shame and judgement, even though it might be only internally:
‘Oh look at me, I am eating alone in a restaurant. Everyone must think what a sad, lonely woman in my mid-forties I am.’
Most commercials tell us a story of happy togetherness! Like, gorgeous men and women having a party on a yacht with plenty of Lager.
Aloneness is hardly viewed as something to be proud of.
The message is:
‘You should have a family.
If not, at least have the decency to get a partner.
But don’t be on your own. Otherwise, you will end up as a lonely, sad, old hag!’
I wonder, why can’t we be a bit more open minded about this subject? Where is our curiosity? Is aloneness really all just bad and that’s it?
Because feelings of loneliness are such a tabu, nobody fesses up. Instead, we drown our monster, that’s lurking around every corner, with booze, only to find out it’s still there, when we wake up with a hang over. Greeting us with its ugly grimace. We numb ourselves out of our wits with social media, TV and computer games. Still, the minute we stop we get eaten up by our own demon. We sit inside its belly, feasting on disconnection, while the beast’s slimy, green, poisonous walls are squashing us with every breath it takes.
By so much wanting to escape this insidious feeling of loneliness we actually make it worse. I believe, we’d be much better off by sharing our stories of loneliness with one another. Who knows, maybe it has even some secret power…
Here’s how my early years have been shaped by aloneness.
The first five years of my life, me and my parents lived in my grandparent’s house, which was huge. Our family inhabited the parterre, my grandparents were on the first floor. In my memories, the whole, vast house was wrapped in a coat of unspoken forlornness. I was an only child. It felt like I was an island amongst other islands, with very little, real connection to one another.
My grandpa seemed to be surrounded by a cloud of grumpy dissatisfaction with life itself. Making it nearly impossible for him to let people in. Whereas my dad was dealing with his all pervasive sense of alienation like a Don Quichot fighting wind mills. He was an only child too. Since my grandma had had six miscarriages. Imagine! It’s curious, but I don’t have a clear picture of my mom from this time. It’s as if she is disembodied. Floating around like a feather in the wind or a graceful bird, that’s out of reach.
In the midst of this deep sense of forlornness, I felt closest to grandma with whom I shared a sense of playfulness, that couldn’t be found anywhere else. We’d build tents out of old blankets and brunches and we’d do a lot of other fun stuff. There was a good solid bridge between our islands.
We shared an unexplainable kinship. Maybe, because me and my grandma dealt with our feelings of loneliness similarly. We both liked to dive into the world of fairy tales, the realm of phantasy, where everything is possible.
I imagined for example, my grandparents garden turning into a zoo. My companions were the most amazing animals; elephants, pumas, dolphins, horses etc.
When I look back, I see myself on my own, drawing on small pieces of paper.
Or I am sitting, poised like a cat on a window silk, staring right through bleak reality into dream – wonder world.
On another day I am moulding weird creatures out of clay – soil I found in the back of the garden.
Don’t think I didn’t play with other children. I did. But it’s not the main imagery, when looking back.
I see a little Mrs. Lonely, exploring the world on her own and being brave.
Wherever I go now, I carry her with me. And even though there is a deep, ingrained sadness inside of this girl, I believe little Mrs. Lonely is my secret power at the same time.
It’s bitter-sweet really.
A double edged sword.
A blessing and a curse.
Little Mrs. Lonely encourages me to explore things on my own. Be independent of whether someone can come along or not.
This way I have dared things, others maybe wouldn’t have.
I traveled to numerous places, the States, Ireland, England and Portugal by myself, meeting many wonderful people.
I moved from Hamburg to Cornwall for no other reason, but because I wanted to and I relocated from there to Galway Ireland this year for the very same reason.
If I want to do it, I go for it, no matter whether I happen to be on my own or not. I am not waiting for an external reason other than my very own intention.
That’s enough for me. It’s all I need.
‘With whom are you going?’
Many people don’t understand, because it’s beyond their comprehension. They wouldn’t do it, since deep down they know they’re too scared by the idea to be by themselves without the distractions daily life has to offer.
I have come to the conclusion that it’s neither a good idea to run away from loneliness nor to drown in it. Once you sort of come to grips with the threat of this emotion, you’re able to do far more than you were before, because you’ve tapped into its secret power.
It’s as simple as that, loneliness most likely will come and pay you a visit when you’re on your own. Be prepared and you’ll survive.
This knowing will enable you to execute your free will and it’ll teach you to first and foremost belong to yourself.
Often I wonder, what would happen if we’d walk hand in hand through the tunnel of loneliness. Will we find real connection? Let’s try and find out.
So, what’s your story with loneliness. Tell me.