Community and Loneliness

I’m never alone. Every inch of this world-home is inhabited. I have no enemies here, not all are friends but all are companions. Moss, ants, squirrels, humans, a lady bug falling from the sky with an awkward and elegant plunk against my notebook, I’m never alone.

By some standards, my social life is dismal. I appreciate my open minded definition of what makes a ‘person’ because without it, I wouldn’t interact with many people at all. Though my years of severe agoraphobia are gone but accepted as part of my integral self, my residual habits toward seclusion have left me lacking a social circle for many, many years.

My childhood had a particular flavour of loneliness that made my current circumstances palatable. While not intrinsically delicious, what I’ve learnt and the perspectives I’ve taken upon have made all aspects of life decadent. Even depression. Even quiet ache. Even dissociated silence.

Loneliness is feared because its uncontrolled, and I do still feel it (old memories of an old friend now lost, jealousy begging to be understood by me rather than fought against as I think of what others have that I don’t, insecurity and embarrassment, the urge to blame myself, when I forget that I’m not the only who one struggles like this) but loneliness doesn’t indicate that a person is alone.

Taking companionship and community for granted is disturbingly easy. Our species is gregarious, our foundation is of connection, communication, but when we feel we may be lacking— insecure and vulnerable, we focus on what we want rather than what we have. We can be thankful of our blessings and still ask for more, but we can’t ignore what we have to be grateful for.

Whatever we’re given, we won’t know how to use if we haven’t come to terms with what we already have. I want friends and I keep my heart open to the potential, I practice being social whenever I can and I’ve worked diligently to be self aware of how my autism interferes. Still, I cannot be a good friend if I don’t learn to appreciate what it means to connect. This includes what I already have. This includes what I already do.

But reading and researching the lives and opinions of others isn’t near equivalent to the interaction and exchange of ideas. Meditating with a wild chipmunk in my lap and listening to her speak without a voice lessons of motherhood and survival, this isn’t the same as talking. I’m not alone but enriched as my life is, I long for human beings. I’m marrying one, a beautiful, compassionate, easy to speak to human.

I’m a spiritual person and in many ways I communicate with many people— but I miss talking. One of my favourite pastimes is having lengthy, multilayered, multifunctional conversations with my fiancé. Casper is the reason I remember how lucky I am, and the reason I keep trying.

I’m never alone and I can make space for myself amongst the crowds when needed. Through the chatter of wind, rain, birds, crickets, I can sit with myself and have a good conversation with all the people who exist within me.

Our bodies and minds are also communities. I ask my stomach how it’s doing, check in with the flora of my gut. I test the pressure of my brain and go drink a glass of water. My anxiety and I have a heart to heart. I visit my memories. Eventually I ask my soul if I’ve done enough today to feel proud and always the answer is ‘yes’, even if I don’t accept it.

I don’t fear loneliness. The disconnection I feel between myself and others evokes sadness, sometimes grief. I care so much for humanity and I have seen such glory, but I don’t feel apart of it. I sit on the outside or in niche and corners no one looks. Since I was young, I’ve been passionate about social issues and at the forefront of my dreams is the possibility I could do good here locally in decolonizing agriculture and being friend to those in poverty. I believe deeply in community.

I crave it.

Mostly I’m content but I never deny myself the right to cry because even though I’m never alone, it’s ok for me to sometimes feel alone.

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