Out of nowhere, tears roll down my cheeks. Without understanding it, it is just there. An indefinite emptiness that I can’t seem to fill up. I feel like a dot in the horizon that nobody can reach. Everybody can see me, but nobody is making contact with me. Waves crashing as attempts to connect. I try so hard, but I can’t for some reason.
The social butterfly that I used to be has become a caterpillar. A metamorphosis in reverse. As I crawl, I struggle to find the connections that make me feel less lonely. It is something strange, this loneliness. It is not the same as my depressions, it is something else. It’s wanting to party, but nobody comes to your party. I’ve got the music, but nobody to dance with.
Lonelier than lonely
I am looking for a community in which I can quietly bathe. A group in which I can ground myself. People around me who want to fill the days with me. Time as our best friend, serving as a bedspread of possibilities.
There is so much in life to be lived. But when the ticking of the clock is echoed with silence, the emptiness makes it almost impossible to come alive. I feel lonely. Where once my agenda was full, now the pages are whiter than white. I ran from one place to another. I absorbed life to the core. Every day again. But now, I don’t know where to begin.
When I wake up, the desire to go back to sleep overwhelms me. Because then I don’t have to worry about how to spend my days. The irony is that I know there are so many wonderful things to do. But being on your own gets lonelier than lonely after a while.
People around me
I wish to wake up with people in my house, saying good morning to me in the living room. I wish to come home to a warm welcome, where people ask me how my day was.
I wish to fill evenings with cooking new dishes with people who want to taste. I wish to spend weekends with others, lazing around because sometimes life can be that simple.
I wish to make memories with companions who excite me for the future. I wish to be part of a group I can belong to.
But for now, I float alone in my little boat. I am looking for ways to get my engine running. To move myself out of this ocean of loneliness. I wonder where the coast is, where my mainland is to be grounded.
Ça va aller
As I wander through the streets of Brussels, I walk past a group of people. I hear them laughing together in French, gracefully and melodiously. A young woman with her hair shorn to the side is holding a glass of vin rouge. The young man next to her speaks with big enthusiastic arm gestures, as if his words come out quicker that way.
I am beginning to get used to the sounds of the French language. The language barrier has diminished considerably, but at the same time, the social distance between me and the people around me seems to have increased. Speaking someone’s language does not automatically mean making contact with them. So I continue walking and I sink deeper into my thoughts, French thoughts.
Ça va aller, ça va aller. It will be fine, I repeat several times in my head. As a kind of mantra to remind myself that it will be fine. At the same time, I wish I could feel the lightness of this French sentence in the fibres of my body, because the loneliness I carry feels like I am lifting weights every day.
Somewhere in the back of my mind I know that I don’t have to lift this heaviness on my own. “You are not alone,” my girlfriend says with a troubled look in her eyes. I can see from the way she looks at me that she is distraught.
She wants so desperately to be able to take away my loneliness. Even if it’s just to carry a piece of it, so that I don’t have to feel so heavy all the time.
But I don’t know how she can help me. I wish it would be possible, that she could strip me of my loneliness. Like a winter jacket that is too tight, that she unzips for me so that I can breathe normally again. If only it were that easy.
to be continued…
27 September 2021 | Written by Sacha Celine Verheij
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