Wow, what a crazy past few months. I believe I cared for myself pretty well after my big breakup, which was now almost four months ago. I surrounded myself with my family, which was easy because I moved back in with my parents. I spent a lot of QT with my girl friends. I drank and shopped and watched crappy TV shows, as you do. When I felt ready to poke my head out of my hole and venture out on dates again, I splurged on a couple pairs of sexy heels. I kept myself busy buying furniture for my new apartment, being a good sister and friend, doing my taxes — anything I could think of.
Now I’m all moved into my new place. I go on dates with a new guy, casually, once or twice a week. After months of tiny tornadeos wrecking havoc on the blessed life I had six months ago, outward appearances look like the dust has finally settled.
Inside? That’s a different story.
I’ve fought through bouts of depression my whole life — which, while awfully painful, make me super-attuned to how I’m feeling. So I know I’m doing pretty well. I’ve been judging how well I’ve been caring for myself after these life-shattering past few months by how I haven’t felt depressed. The color hasn’t bleached from my life. I still feel joy. I still get excited about things. I still feel hopefulness about the future. I still believe I have friends and family who love me.
There is one piece that’s missing, though: an ever-increasing feeling of loneliness. The solitude I’ve been experiencing has not been sitting well with me, despite filling it up with Netflix movies and dates and blog posts. I feel that I am alone. When I grocery shop, I am acutely aware I am shopping for food for one. When I wash laundry, I’m acutely aware it is only my clothes being washed. I notice how my leftovers sit longer in the fridge. I pass a lot of hours rattling around inside the walls of my apartment. I stare out subway windows alone, to and from every destination. All these feelings just compound on each other.
It’s true that I’m a lonely person to begin with — this feeling is not unfamiliar to me at all. When I read Emily White’s book, Lonely: A Memoir, I kept saying to myself, “Yes, yes, someone else gets it!” Because lonely people are not anti-social hermits; Emily White, in fact, ends up with a partner towards the end of her memoir. They’re just the opposite of interpersonally inclined. I live inside my head more than I do out in real life with other people and oftentimes around others, I would just prefer to be alone. It’s not that I’m scared to be around others; obviously, I function at work and with friends and family. I’m simply exist deeply, deeply, deeply inside my own head — sometimes making it difficult to warmly click and connect with other people.
This isn’t the best landscape for someone who just got her heart broken recently and I realize that. Anyone would be fertile ground for loneliness right now. As well as I believe I’m doing, I also have to be honest with myself that my aloneness feels particularly acute of late. The loneliness is like a person that walks astride me all the time. I’m watching it, studying it, and waiting for it to go away.
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