That title might make you think there is a downer coming, but quite the opposite. Discovering a truth in your life is always a good thing.
Many years ago, when my audience was the worn pages of my 4X5 spiral notebook, I wrote a short essay about loneliness. My scribblings there had to do with feeling totally alone even when surrounded by people. I wondered how it was possible to be in a room full of "friends" and yet still have a feeling that could only be described as lonely. Sadly, I never pursued an answer. Perhaps I was not ready, or could not handle the truth in what were truly difficult (as contrasted with somewhat difficult) times of my life.
We need each other and yet what we deal with is personal, and the paths we take are unique. Our true friends will not tell us what to do, but only what they think and perhaps, if we are really lucky, we will find some who will ask questions in a non-judgemental way, only seeking to help us to think a bit more about our concerns, rather than to validate some path they themselves have taken.
I cannot believe that after all these years it has only just occurred to me that my feelings of loneliness have been the result of a choice made, like a self-imposed penalty for having been born the way I was, in the circumstances I found myself.
Rather than choosing to believe in like-minded companions who I was worthy of, those people referred to above, I made the choice to try to fit in with those who, if I'd been true to myself, would likely reject me, only to find, so late, that the illusion of companionship is even more empty than true isolation. What is more, I squandered the chance to find those of that group who would not have rejected me at all, but might have embraced me as who I really was. I will never know.
A good friend asked me this week if I could stand to live alone. Yes is my answer. I could live alone, for that would allow me to take the risk that living true to myself would lead to a condition far better than lonely in a crowd.