My expectation of true human connection contributes directly to the waves of loneliness that swell within me. I feel so disconnected from my friends, my family, the world around me. And when I speak of my loneliness in conversation, it is pushed under a veil of encouragement: “You’ll meet someone. You’re so amazing. It’ll happen.” As if my feelings are incorrect, invalid, and I simply should not feel lonely.
But I am lonely. I feel alone. Despite my ability to talk to any stranger I see or plan a party or perform on stage, I always end up at home. Alone. But the aforementioned positive qualities are momentary. I do not exhibit them constantly. That’s impossible. But they are what people see. Which means their perception of me is based only on a glimpse of truth. They see me in my strong state. As a rock to aid them with their problems. A guide to help them navigate their icy waters. In this action, this relational support, I am seen as having the answers; as being in control. As being above the perils of loneliness and fear. But I am not. I am not immune to the sinking feeling of waking up alone after having gone to bed alone for the countless nights I do. I am not immune to the dull pain of knowing my 10 most recent calls were all outgoing. I am not immune to having an empty mailbox, digital and paper. For me, it’s movies for one, restaurants for one, bars for one, cooking for one, drinking for one, book reading for one, Netflix for one, grocery shopping for one, concert ticket for one, evening walk for one.
I have no better half. I am whole, but swollen with loneliness. It fills in the contours of my puzzle piece which I prefer to be completed by a woman. I am tired of dating. Each woman becomes a two dimensional memory like a Polaroid in a shoe box. Dating is a race to find the flaw in the other so you can be the one to initiate the “I’m just not feeling it” conversation. And I win more than I lose. But do I? Because then there I am again. Alone. That’s when every woman I see has the potential to be the one. And in reality, none of them is.
I drift through first dates. Through crowds of women at concerts, art openings, restaurants, bars, Trader Joe’s. Through dating sites. I drift aimlessly searching for meaning and understanding. Trying to piece together the internal clues about who she is or will be. But the reality is that no one understands me. And the expectation that someone will is fruitless. As always, the answers lie within me, but I do not seem to ask the right questions.
I feel weak. I feel lifeless. I feel the weight of perception like gravity on Jupiter. Perhaps I am not honest with myself or with the way I communicate. Perhaps I have only grown more accustomed to my loneliness and am collecting rust with my lack of social interaction. Maybe the longer I am alone, the more likely it is I stay alone; the more difficult it will be to open up my true self. Without someone to provide resistance to my loneliness, it pushes me further and further from the depth and beauty of human connection. This is what I fear. And this is what perpetuates my loneliness. I’m tired of living life for one.
I have released eight albums in eight years. Six hours and twenty-four minutes of music. I feel squeezed dry. The last trickles of music seeping from my pores like blood. I’ve sat in my bedroom with a guitar between my heart and my hands and found melodies and textures that never seemed to be my possession. I simply felt them floating in the air and then funneled them onto my fingerboard.
“I don’t believe in divorce,” Lisa declared in between bites of her spinach lasagna.
“Uh, I’m sorry?” I inquired as my mind jarringly shifted from the lovely drought of wine I just swallowed to the thought of a ferociously sensitive and heart-wrenching topic.