I had the idea for this blog post for about a month, and I thought I would have an easy time writing it. Loneliness is something everyone experiences, I thought to myself. Lately, however, I have noticed that I have not told or expressed to anyone that I have been feeling lonely. As if hiding it from yourself and the people who love you is the healthiest alternative to being lonely.
A few days ago, I had plans with a few friends to go take photos with a baby doll I painted purple because I am now an uncle to a beautiful, healthy baby girl: Gia. The plans fell through and I felt this intoxicating wave of anger hit me. Both my body and brain went into instinctual protective patterns, I sped up, I went on a drive listening to sad music to scream to. As I drove around, I came back to reality within a few minutes, I asked myself
“Why am I so angry about this?”
“Because I am sad and upset that I don’t get to hang out with my friends today.”
“Why are you sad about that when you know you can make new plans with your friends?”
“Because it makes me feel lonely.”
“Well, have you been feeling lonely?”
“Yeah, I guess I have.”
I have not said this to anyone or told anyone that I have been lonely. I did not know I was lonely in the first place. It is okay to be lonely, it is a way your brain signals to you that something is disconnected, it helps you address that broken connection. I took a deep breath, and I was honest with myself that while I may not have a friend who is down to go to a graveyard at midnight with me, I have myself to do that with. I found that focusing on that fact that my current friends ‘don’t match my energy’ robs myself of the insight that all my friends match various aspects of my ‘energy’ or ‘vibes’.
After that I took my phone off the hook, and I disappeared for a while. I went to my favorite park, the Curtis Hixon Waterfront Park in Downtown Tampa Bay, and I looked at the beams of the Sykes tower swerve around in the sky. After an exhausting night of reconnecting to myself emotionally, I felt less lonely.
Do not forget to do the things that make you feel connected to yourself. For me, that is thrifting, trying a new drink, book shopping, or searching for an obscure vinyl or toy. I also like visiting places that make me feel connected to old friends and giving myself the opportunity to be sad and upset about things I might not be letting myself feel. Loneliness does not feel good, I do not like it. It happens for a reason, just like sadness. It is a great ‘check engine light’ for your brain, and sometimes you do need to get an oil change.
If you are feeling lonely this Valentine’s day, reach out to an old friend or take yourself out. Buy something you have been wanting. Do something that makes you feel connected with yourself. Treat yourself because you deserve it.