Thursday, April 02, 2020

kinds of lonely

One night in January,  I came home and wrote the bulk of something--short prose fragments?  A braided essay?  Something else that remains to be seen in its final form?  I did it fast and had it mostly written within a couple days, with some pieces here and there interspersed on days I was stuck on the dog-girl poems. It's definitely more non-fiction, but a little poetic, and therefore probably a lyric essay creature. I called it  & NBSP ;*  (or "non-breaking space" for non-design folks).  The command you enter in html code to create space in a line, but not a jump to the next one or a new paragraph   I've long wanted to write something in html code format, and this isn't that exactly, but what it is is a meditation on loneliness.

Today, as I was idly scrolling through facebook before I got up to make breakfast and start the day, I came across a statistic that 11% of the population lives alone and how hard it must be during this time.  I laughed since I've been routinely thinking how hard it must be to be cooped up with other people.  Or how many relationships are on the rocks because of a little too much together with no reprieve.  I am a pathological introvert, so that might have something to do with it--my enjoyment--I'd say the necessity --of being alone much of the time.  Which is not to say, you can't be subject to loneliness, but it seems to have really nothing to do with who or who isn't around you at any given moment. I occasionally ask people randomly would you rather be stuck in an elevator alone or with other people.  I've been briefly in both situations and would rather not be either, but definitely preferred the solo one.  It's sort of like that with quarantine, only more comfortable and with cats. Solitude is not loneliness, and they don't really have a cause and effect relationship, at least for me...

I've been lonely in groups of people I don't quite feel a part of.  In relationships that were at the same time passionate, but lonely-making. I've been in decent relationships with good people that have also spawned a feeling of aloneness at points where we weren't connecting. I've gone through times where I felt like I wasn't able to communicate my loneliness or my disastifaction.  As a poly person, I have been in up to three different relationships and still felt like something was missing and was a little lonely because of it. These weren't all the time, or even much of the time.  I had a spat of time about 5 years ago where I was pretty much completely single and was not really lonely at all during that time- or at least not romantically lonely (I was bedridden for a few weeks that winter  after a pinched nerve, and I had some feelings about that, but was supported by family and friends that more than made me feel less lonely.)  Part of that period was spent at my parent's house, which was no more or less lonely than the time I spent in my apartment where I limped around and made do on my own. Still relationship lonely was a separate thing from other kinds of loneliness.  You can also be family lonely or friendship-lonely.  While I keep loose tabs on and relationships with  many of the folks I've considered friends over the years, I quite often threw myself into new environments where I started from zero--North Carolina, Chicago.   I'm reasonably adapatable, and if you can break my introvert hard shell, I make friends pretty easily (a few toxic misjudgments, some might say TOO easily.)

So these past few weeks have actually not really been a problem when it comes to lonely. My feelings of unease have less to do with anything going on in my immediate sphere of me and the cats in my apartment and more to do with what may be happening in the outside world, or what this all will look like when we go back--people missing family members, friends lost to the virus, the way the world will be changed. How our lives may be different for awhile as we adjust.  As someone who likes to feel like I have control over my world, it's a hard adjust to realize I very much do not.  Though I also feel the low-key stress of because I am solo, dangling out there without a lot of financial support and back up if things go awry. Or if I myself get sick and hospitalized, who will take care of my cats (I actually have a plan for this, now, but was something I had to worry over for a hot minute. )  A little anxious about being a single household in an uncertain time? Sure,   but I wouldn't trade it, not really. Mostly, I relish this alone time, and while after a another month I might be a little stir-crazy to get on with things, I'm okay with it.

But what I am still processing, and have been long before this, is how my mother's death suddenly punched a hole in my loneliness.  Even though I only visited a half dozen or so times a year, I did talk to her twice a week on the regular.  Despite all the things I left out of our conversations (mostly romantic or things I felt she'd worry unduly over), she probably had the fullest picture of my life.  Her mere presence in the world made me less lonely somehow.  Even still, perhaps that relationship was a spine that collapsed on so many things and I've spent the past two years grappling with that.  I have good relationships With my dad, with my sister.  With my best friend and my boyfriend.  But there is still this giant hole into which my mental health falls into every once in a while and needs to climb back out of.

While not entirely about that loss,   & NBSP ;* builds on that with other types of loneliness and re-reading it for the first time earlier this week, I think it's pretty solid and just needs a few tweaks and I'll start sending it out, either in parts or as a whole.  Large stretches of alone-time are excellent for writers , I just need to buckle down into it and see it through.


* note:  I had to breakup the command because blogger kept making it a space not a

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