“remember, we’re all in this alone” – lily tomlin
for me, being lonely has very little to do with loneliness.
being lonely is debilitating, whereas, loneliness evokes an aura of palpable energy. it is not the actual alone, it’s just feeling alone. there is a barrier between the two states. loneliness is more romantic. its tangible qualities and fluttering physicalities infer there is a choice, of some kind. a tenuous grip, an empty page and a piece of charcoal. maybe you can do something with the emptiness, perhaps fill it. render a meaning into the void with your own motion, and articulate the feelings you have. your darkness might fill the light, to let you know where one begins and the other ends. we all need to gain spatial awareness of our internal geography from time to time. even if it’s akin to counting grains of sand on a windy beach.
loneliness is transient and less literal than most emotions. it’s the sweet sadness i feel from listening to a song like ‘blindsided’ by bon iver. i don’t really need to follow all the words, despite how important words are to me. it’s the emotion it evokes, the blanket of feeling that warms me so much i want to share it. i get it for a fleeting instant and want to communicate the experience before it recedes into the places i can’t reach. for me this is all a product of loneliness. and not a yearning to be un-alone, but to share loneliness with others.
we never hear or see anything completely, at least not with our conscious minds. we see or hear the beginning and ends of sentences, and images passing in front of our eyes. our unconscious mind fills in the rest. it’s a cognitive fact, our eyes do this, our ears do this and, perhaps, our hearts. this sounds so wrong on it’s surface but it’s actually quite beautiful. it allows us to always find something new in the world around us, in the people and places we constantly come into contact with. it makes art, amongst other forms of self-expression, viable and rich.
my loneliness is this kind of constructive sadness, a transcendence of being lonely. the stirring of nerves that sends me spiraling into the upper reaches of constructive awareness. it makes me want to make something. it makes me want to bridge the gap, in my self and with others. i think this is how the real building gets done. i am not lonely but i am colored and shaped by loneliness.
many of us like to be alone. and some of us like to have company when we’re doing it. whether it’s the company that stays in the shadows or actually comes out to play, i, for one, rely on it. i write about the people in my life, real and imagined, they are both just as relevant.
i use facebook, especially when i joined at the beginning of the year, to have an open dialogue with myself in front of a bunch of people. as therapy, as entertainment, as a muse, as a productive distraction. some talk back, in private and in public, some just listen and some ignore the conversation. lately most of my writing happens off-line, with excerpts of the projects i’m working on shared now and again. i use regular doses of poetry to break out of whatever larger project i am on, as a literary cross-training or as a mechanism to make abstract my reality. it’s easier to see sometimes when you change the shape of how something normally looks to you.
whatever it is, it underscores how good it is to share what loneliness delivers. to separate, truthfully, the difference between being lonely and loneliness. to celebrate the unifying principles and human condition of being alone with good company.