I’ve always made it a point that I don’t need to pair up with someone and for as long as I can remember I was content with the way things were. This went on most of my life until around 17 when the feeling of contentment started to diminish as I watched my friends and almost everyone around me getting into what seemed like serious relationships. At this point everyone had a story about a crazy ex or someone who’s courting them or whatever and all I could do when these conversations came up was sit, listen and try to pretend like I don’t wonder what it would be like having a story of my own. I wasn’t the only one wondering because I always had to answer questions as to why I’m single and if I wouldn’t like to have my first experience; the answer always being “No, for what?” or “Nope, I’m perfectly fine the way things are.
I’m 19 now and I can say it took a year and several months to get over my denial and actually admit to myself that yes, something is indeed missing. Not because everyone says I’m weird when I tell them that I’ve never dated anyone but because something is really missing. I feel like I don’t have enough stories to remember such a crucial part of my life, and me being “alone” the whole time has contributed massively to this.
Through it all I remained single and even got used to my role as “The single one”. I was totally okay with it, really. I really like alone time and I didn’t mind until somewhere along the line “single” turned into “lonely”. Yes, this is me finally admitting it: I’m lonely.
My friendships aren’t gay-lovey-friendships, there is very limited physical contact besides the occasional pushing each other in front of a car or slapping them while laughing (lol). And even if we were “physical” friends, physical contact is different and the difference is very distinct. I’ve never felt more isolated than recently, when I realized that I hadn’t been touched all of my life.
What most people don’t understand about loneliness is that there is literal physical pain that comes with it. It’s hard to describe and you never really actually know until you experience it. Being lonely physically hurts, it’s a serious hard ache in your chest and a sense of heaviness on your back and neck, terrible back pains and an overwhelming constant exhaustion caused by longing for another person’s touch or even company.
The toughest part to explain is that friendship is not enough when you have a very good group of friends. As much as I want them to be or wish them to be but they’ll never be enough. It’s hard to communicate this to my friends without making them feel like it’s their fault in some way or another. They don’t understand that they are my friends and they are there for me as much as they can and as much as I need them to be, but that only fills a certain part of my life. No matter how hard friends and family may try, they won’t be able to fill a void that is created by something else, something that they cannot compensate for. It’s like forcing a puzzle piece into a place where it doesn’t belong. No matter how hard you push, it’s never going to fit.
Being lonely isn’t a lifestyle choice, being single is. Unfortunately at some point being single turns into being lonely. There is a serious difference between being alone and being lonely and it’s impossible to compare the two without romanticizing one and undermining the other.
I didn’t ask for this nor do I want it and obviously it isn’t something I can fix on my own but what makes it even worse is that no one truly gets it. People can only sympathize and not empathize. You have no idea what it’s like until you go through it. So basically since people don’t understand, they cant really help you and that just makes everything more lonely.
So, here’s to another 4 am, alone and lonely with Lana Del Rey playing softly in the background.
And there you have it, my second post. Feel free to share if you can relate.
The Lonely, Nonjabulo Tshabalala.