This is a continuation of a post on loneliness I wrote some time ago. Much of what it says is in some ways similar, but the perspective is slightly different.
The state of loneliness or being alone are often regarded with negative aspects, both potent with implications of sadness and isolation and not belonging. It is a state of being that is viewed with horror and dread by virtually everyone around you, because of those connotations, and because we are very much conditioned against it socially and culturally.
Yet for me, it is a fundamental part of being a human being, filled with possibility and positivity (whilst fully recognising the negative aspects). We are individual, and much of our social conditioning, especially now, is driven towards this expression of uniqueness. And there is a truth in this, and a fact.
No one else has your experiences, your genetics, your thoughts, your upbringing, your parents, cousins, friends, enemies, environments, etcetera, etc. The list goes on. People will have approximations, similarities; in experience and environmental influences, and yet these are only approximations.
You are a unique individual. Each of us is. And therein lies the truth. You are alone. Of the billions of people who have lived and died, of all those who exist now, there is no one person like you. There never has been, and there never will be. No one thinks in quite the same way as you. No one person has the same image of the word 'bread' in their head as you, nor has your specific fears, your fantasies, your dreams.
You are alone.
Today I sat at my spot at the work's do, and I felt out of place, alone, isolated. I felt disconnected from those around me. I sat there and watched those around me, and I wondered. I wondered if every single person there, in a moment of reflection, in the fleeting quiet of their mind amidst the noise and the laughter, suddenly felt alone. And I think they did, and do. I think everybody does.
It is part of what defines us, and the fear that can accompany it is often drives to do the things we do; unworkable relationships, unhealthy friendships, inappropriate liaisons. Being alone is so often terrifying, and so many of us are lonely, for better or for worse. It can be a terrible, terrible thing, to be alone, shunned and forgotten by the world.
And yet it is a positive thing. It is the space between us, the gap that defines the shape of us. It is the fact of our individuality, a reminder of opportunity and possibility. Every act of communication is an act of bridging that gap, that loneliness, of sharing ourselves, of redefining, of restating our commonality and our liminality. Loneliness sets us apart and can set us free. Sometimes it is what we desperately seek, sometimes it is what we need.
It reminds us that moments shared, that love exchanged and freely given are made so much more acute and precious in the recognition of that loneliness. It accentuates and highlights and defines more sharply.
And yet, like all emotions, all states of being, it can suffocate, drown, destroy. But only if we let it. Only if it becomes the monster in the room, only if it drives us beyond reason and recognition.
Loneliness is what we make it. Loneliness is what we allow it to be.
Loneliness is the rock on which I stand. It always has been. It probably always will be.