*Struggling to work tonight but after hour upon hour of doing away with drafts, it occurs to me that I’m distracted by my loneliness. So, let me write these thoughts down…
I ran away to the mountains last weekend to run errands for my mother. The plan was to leave on Friday and be home by Monday because I knew there were deadlines and things that might come up. Work since August has been a rollercoaster–for the most part I’m grateful but last weekend, on the bus, I found myself weary. Too much freelancing, too much work and seemingly no capacity to reject offers for fear of not being suitable/able to fulfil obligations. That things happen so quickly also strips away much needed processing time. I have to learn to balance or at least temper what I choose to do but young as I am, my feeling is always that time slips away and if the moment is not seized, it will never return.
The mountain air was crisp and laden with emotions. I was breathing nostalgia from the moment I leapt off the bus and took a cab home to my grandparents house. It occurred to me, at four in the morning, struggling to enter our gate, that I missed my grandparents very much. I had forgotten how it felt to be loved by them and the years seemed to have gone by so quickly. I could not stand the smell of the house because there was hardly any of their scent left behind. After attending the event I came for–the same day I arrived–I packed my bags, set the alarm, and was out the door before daybreak.
That I made my way further up north can be explained by two things: One, I heard news that this town I loved was no longer a peace zone and it disturbed me so much so that I wanted to see for myself if this was true. Second, a friend was getting married and it felt right to see her as I am to miss her wedding for a conference. At least these are the things I’ve told those who’ve asked.
The truth is, I’ve felt a bit unanchored for a while and only now am I coming to terms with this. It felt good at first, liberating even–to be so free. I stopped reflecting too much and tried living as best I could. This helped me connect with things but it never really linked me back to myself.
They say the best way to know yourself is through friends. They become extensions of yourself, sometimes reflections, often sieves by which our true selves emerge. It’s true and I feel this most when I lose them. Much as this year has been exciting and magical, it’s also been a bit lonely and disconcerting. Earlier in the year, a friend of mine whom I worked with and spent nearly everyday of the year with just stopped talking to me. I let it be, out of respect for the other person–but now I wonder if this was the best thing to do? My best friend since high school has also grown cold on me.
That people are upset and depressed, I can understand but often, I know of no other way to love than to just be. But I also know that love cannot be emptied in voids, that we cannot force people to love us back. It was through a string of messages and strange electronic activity that I knew something was wrong. Suddenly I couldn’t send messages to certain accounts and I was getting very curt replies–what is one to do but accept that even people, the ones we love especially, change too?
Part of me still cannot get over this because it’s difficult to lose people so suddenly. It feels worse than death, to be honest, because we’re still here. We’re alive and yet dead to one another in a present where our pasts have to haunt us. I keep seeing ghosts of our past selves and I keep trying to shake them alive.
The other part of me is also angry. It is tired of trying too hard to gain the affection of people who don’t seem to care that even friendships go sour. Have the years been so bereft of meaning? Have you forgotten how it was to be safe in each other’s vulnerability? Okay, now I’m being a tad bit dramatic.
But I will end on a somber note. While all these friendships seem to whittle away, I’m consoled by the thought that I’m in a relationship. But am I really? We exchange messages every now and then to ask each other what we’re up to but I can’t recall the last real conversation we’ve had about us? Or maybe I can. We were in my house, on the brink of breaking up–because things didn’t seem to be working out. As usual, I say, why must we when we haven’t really tried? At least this is what I feel recalling all the things he’s said to me these past months. I think of words he’s said while we’re lying awake, faces outlined by a soft light he prefers I keep on. I think of how sweet our time together always is.
But I’m sad because I know I’m not first priority. I come second to what he loves most–and this is okay because it allows me to find myself as well and be committed to my writing, to work. But is it really? I would be fine if he just accepted that I like being told that he loves me, if he just gave us a chance to be open about feelings–heck, maybe he doesn’t want to talk about them because they’re not there? I wish he were more bothered by my knowing that I do not come first in his life. Actually, hold that thought, I already know he’s bothered. Honestly? I wish he would just pick me–just as I wish my friends wouldn’t up and go with nary an explanation.
Back in the city, the crickets have forgotten their song and the starlight pales in comparison to the brightness of this place. I am sad that the mountains offer no respite from loneliness.