I never chose loneliness in the beginning. Growing up, I was definitely restless. Restless for an interaction, a distraction, a companion. I had my friends, yes. Moments with my family. But when the sun set and I only had myself, I’d throw myself into daydreams. Daydreams where I’d always have someone and I’d always be doing something.
Not all of those daydreams came true. Though I am grateful for the friendships I currently have and my relationships with certain family members, my younger self would still be shocked. Shocked, but not disappointed. Just simply surprised of how I’ve come to terms with loneliness.
When I’d started college, I prided myself on wanting to be alone. “I just want to work on myself and my career,” I’d say, my chest puffed out with pride. Talks of futures that included weddings and families simply did not appeal to me. They had an air too similar to the daydreams I gorged on as a child.
On top of this, romantic relationships seemed like a fantasy. Something, I’d let my mind linger on until it felt like too much. “Platonic relationships are all I need,” I’d remind myself, feeling guilty for not appreciating the love already in my life.
In a way, this mindset did allow me to grow comfortable with myself. I do enjoy my alone time quite a bit, actually. I still want to and am focusing on forming a career that I feel passionate about and look forward to. And platonic relationships are of the utmost importance to me. I think many people forget how much they can truly mean.
But in the small moments where I’m alone with myself, an ache comes over my chest and sits heavily upon my ribs.
While I’m reading my book, I imagine turning towards someone to point out a line I’d think they’d like. When I’m watching a movie, I think of someone by my side, the two of us in a comfortable silence as we watch the film unfold. I just picture someone existing next to me peacefully, ready to do so forever. Filling up the crack that loneliness nicked into my heart long ago.
The crack that those platonic relationships cannot seem to fill no matter how much I want them to. The crack that I’m so desperate to fill myself, even though I can see bits of it between the spaces of my fingers.
If I’ve learned anything from my loneliness, it’s that loneliness is not linear. It’s a tangled web, and I’m not sure which strand leads to a solution. I’m not sure if it will ultimately lead to myself or to the daydreams I’m far too fearful to fully desire.
Facing my loneliness and what it means to me, however, is a start.