I struggle with getting lonely. Maybe everyone does, but for me it sometimes still feels like an affliction. It’s rarely a passing feeling, consistent to that of boredom; my loneliness takes hold.
It took me years to notice that among the people I knew, this depth of longing was not normal. It has really only been within the last year that I’ve become aware of why it is that I become so enveloped by this. I try to reverse it. You can only do so much.
My life feels like a series of people leaving. And if they weren’t leaving, they were disappointing in monumental ways. My father, my mother. My father never looked back. My mother chose heroin. It’s funny how things can happen to you when you’re a child and you seem to recover quickly enough. I’ve always looked and felt resilient. But the truth is that I am damaged and it manifests in ways of which I am only now becoming aware. You can ignore your daughter’s existence from the time she is 2 years old until she calls you when she is 7 and you hang up on her. You can go about your life and she can go about hers. You can bring her along to live with your abusive boyfriend and on your late night trips to buy dope. You never have any idea what you are doing to your child. You can beam with pride at the things she does when she is young: the books she reads, the pictures she draws. But I will never understand how people think that they got away with it. How could it ever be possible that you have not affected your child with your choices? I am terrified of having children.
I remember a time when I was still living with my grandparents. It must have been when I was in second grade. A friend told me she couldn’t come over after school like we had planned. I sobbed for an hour.
In my early teens I sought solace in a friend on the internet. He was 20 years my senior but understood me like only my closest friends did. I befriended my uncle and confided in him when I could not trust my mother. Maybe I had daddy issues. In any case, they both left. My uncle shunned me when my grandparents disowned me. My mother told me I ruined the family. My online friend got married and told me to stop speaking to him.
I remember a time soon after moving in with my guardian-to-be that I got home and could not find her. I was anxious and disappointed. I was certain she had left without me. She laughed and took me in her arms. She told me she wouldn’t leave me.
This all seems so trite when I write it out. How do you explain how much these experiences shape you? Although they were not necessarily jarring, I have carried them with me. I make poor decisions to keep people in my life because I cannot bear the thought of losing more relationships, even if they are not healthy and rewarding. I cling so hard to the idea of having some kind of stability that I allow myself to settle in ways that I should not. But I’m learning.
I find that I frantically try to find ways to make certain people like me. I’m overbearing. For years after my ex dumped me I bought him clothes, linens, packed his lunch. I cooked for him and cleaned for him and taught him to do laundry. I explained how to keep a house and how to take care of a shitty winter’s cold. I remember his friend’s birthdays and phone numbers. It’s never that he expected me to do these things. It’s that if he didn’t want me anymore, maybe being needed would be okay. I didn’t resent it. I tried to take care of him because I genuinely loved him…but also because I desperately wanted for him to decide to have me stay. It shocked me when I saw it was just another area of my life my loneliness had creeped into. It’s all abandonment issues, really. But I don’t want to just be useful anymore. I’m learning to reign it in.
So, there it is. Pretty much the groundwork for all the issues I have. Emotionally, I mean. every single time I write a post I realise that I simply can’t write it properly without laying this out first. I hate talking about it. It seems so absurdly stereotypical and whiny. I discovered this all last year and spoke to the people with whom I wanted to speak. I’d rather just be aware and let it go. Somehow I feel like talking about this out publicly is too much of a window into everything I do. I could be wrong. Maybe that’s just what I see in myself. But I am nothing if not self aware. And now maybe I can write again.