Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Voices from the Other Side

Sometimes at the end of the day, the most miserable thing to be is alone. Especially when it piles up: day in, day out, same grind, same routines, and a whole long collection of lonely evenings. Someone to share what your day was like with, to sit in companionable silence, even, watching television together, or not even doing the same thing together, but still being together. There is a safety and security like no other when you know that you can cast your heart to drone over the surface of the many thousand miles of the earth and it can find that other heart that beats in sync with yours.

Yet the claustrophobia of company takes away the glow. Expectations of and from other people weigh heavily on your shoulders. Even when you're focused on accomplishing one task, you feel as if there are a million eyes - even if belonging to just that one person - peering over your shoulder, not letting you be at peace. Even when you sit for a second to catch your breath, you still need to take a figurative look around, almost guiltily, because you know that this moment to yourself isn't really yours, everyone else expects it to be theirs.

And this, too, piles up. It is almost as if your own lungs cannot belong to you because every breath you take is chained to another person's demands. As if your own hands, your own feet, taking you to places and performing your tasks, can never really be your own. Even your tears, if you even allow yourself a moment to let them fall, they too are tainted; accusations abound and fingers point, prodding, taunting, persistently, irritatingly, to your apparent selfishness.

What is it worth, then, being caged in forever, if that is the cost of not being alone? Why set yourself "free" from loneliness if it only means you lose your own sense of self? Why bother to try, if when every time you moved mountains to show you care, you are left holding the mountain to perpetuity as the very action is questioned, disputed, and doubted? How many times can you be expected to jump over train tracks with the train a split second away; how many times can you lay yourself down and let others walk over your back to safety; how many times can you give away your umbrella to stand alone in the rain?

What is the point of not being lonely, if the other person doesn't know this is what you feel but can't say.

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