spiky palm —
surrounded by friends
What if I said that I have never felt really, truly lonely?
Am I even qualified to say that? How do I know what lonely feels like — is it a gut instinct, to know that? If so, why should I be missing that?
To be honest, there are some interesting feelings that others claim to experience that have not exactly left a flaming bag of poo on my doorstep. Grief is one of those, and loneliness is another. And while the apparent (to myself) lack of grief has often left me wondering what sort of creature inhabits this body I am wildly empathetic, but with a poker face that would fool anyone who hasn’t caught me watching the first ten minutes of a Disney film. So maybe I’m being classic Surfer Rob — too hard on myself, and expecting more than I have managed to produce.
Chill out, dude!
The loneliness thing, however, makes more sense to me. I have for much of my life been an introvert, one of those people who feel much more comfortable with smaller, more intimate settings than with highly social situations. I still feel that I’ve spent a large chunk of my life face-to-page, and hopefully I can append some modest portion to that chunk before I’ve finished the ride. I immerse myself in my pursuits — reading, writing, music, crafting, video games . . .
Or so I wish! I’m trying to kick back more, but in latter years it’s been more like cleaning and maintenance and financial wrangling!
A long time ago part of me (the mostly subconscious part, I have mused out over the passing tide of time since my misspent youth) decided that associating with others is a risky business. People can disappoint, they can find and manipulate the soft bits of the soul; worse, they can leave you in their wake, wallowing in the messes they made.
I switched to well-considered, strategic alliances. Better that your pillars be few and strong than many that could topple at any time.
Still, I think we introverts surround ourselves with friends as well as anyone, they’re just the quiet kind. The kind you can interact with on your terms, the kind you can talk to, listen to, and learn from with a minimal amount of risk. The kind you can disconnect from at will without fear of offense. At the end of the post they are all words; the ones we choose — like the friends we choose — move us to be something even greater than we’ve already become. The beauty of it is that even though we’ve granted them that choice status, they still came to us out of a random ocean. . .
We couldn’t have wished them into being even if we had wanted to.
I’ve often had the conversation with myself about what sort of emotions I’ve never really experienced. Based on observations of others in both reality and fiction, have the situations in my life evoked similar levels and ranges of emotions? Most of the time, we decide a resounding “no.” Is it because I’m too laid back? I don’t think so, because I don’t like to restrict my emotions on some level. I guess it’s a good thing I haven’t felt copious amounts of grief or loneliness, yet I’m still curious.
But what if you felt like you could weather any loss with little emotion — until a few years ago, I did. And I was like, “that can’t be normal.”