This past year was extremely important for me. I had been through a lot, both mentally and emotionally. I struggled with depression, anxiety, loneliness and loads of insecurities. I experienced feelings, I’ve never known before and God, they were intensive. I didn’t use to be a sad person. I always had a tendency to be negative and pessimist and very critical yes, but it wasn’t about me. At least I didn’t know back then. I was as superficial as the people around me, and I was quite happy that way. This is how it works though. The more conscious you are about yourself, others, the world, everything basically, the more anxious you become.
I want to write a lot about all the things I’ve learnt in this period of my life (and I’m not talking about the vocational school thing, don’t worry – well, maybe about the sociological side of it) and I’m starting it right here. Warning: this is not going to be a short post, but I hope, you’re sticking around until the end.
So what the hell does this title even mean? Being lonely, or feeling lonely is a bad thing, while being alone is essential and inevitable. I’ve shared some thoughts on this topic before, in one of my Hungarian posts (here), but I wasn’t satisfied with it. It wasn’t enough and it wasn’t really organized. I’m just going to say it. We are alone. Yes, it is rough, but I’m convinced that it is also true. There’s makeup, there are clothes, there’s the skin, there are muscles and organs and bones and then, under all this stuff, there’s us. We live in this shell, we call body. We are always there. We think there, we daydream there, we make our decisions there, we love there, we feel anger there, etc. I don’t know about you, but I used to – and I sometimes still – talk to myself. Without actually saying the words out loud of course, but when I was debating over a problem, I always imagined a real conversation. Maybe it was because of the fear of accepting that I’m the only one inside there.
There are a lot of impulses from other people, which can influence our thoughts and choices, but they cannot control us. No one else knows, what’s in your head. It’s simply not possible to know everything, because it’s very complex. No one has the same memories and experiences that we do. Also, it is rare that someone is there with you from the moment you were born, until the moment you die and in every single one between the two. No doubt that friends and family are important, but –as cruel as it sounds- they come and go. You are the only one who’s living your life. You are the main character of your movie.
I know quite a few people who cannot bear being alone. I don’t think it’s healthy. Being alone is not always bad. You need time alone. You need to organize your thoughts, you need to look and examine the world and the people around you. You should have friends, but you should be one of them. If you can’t spend time with yourself, then you know that something’s wrong. You wouldn’t want a friend, whose company you don’t enjoy. There’s a saying that we can choose our friends. We can. It is one of the most important things in life. You can’t ignore yourself, if you’re not the friend you want, become that!
In September, I had to get over something and I didn’t really know how. It was in the middle of my worst phase of depression and I don’t think it will shock anyone, if I say that it did not help me get better. I felt that I’m not good enough for anyone and I felt so pathetic. And what do girls do, when there’s a massive chaos in their lives? They write a list. I wrote a list about all the things, I want to do on my own and for myself. There were bullet points such as “go somewhere on your own”, “visit an art exhibition on your own”, “go see a movie on your own” etc. I spent 1-2 weeks doing everything on my own. It felt so nice. One of my favourite things since that is to sit in a café, drink something and read a book, or go on tumblr, or draw something, or write. I’m actually writing this post in a Costa Coffee in the city. It’s so relaxing that you don’t have to express yourself, because you understand yourself and there’s no one else listening. You don’t have to feel lonely, just because you’re alone somewhere.
Loneliness is a different thing. It comes when you feel that there’s no one to talk to. When you feel that no one on Earth understands you. When you can’t express yourself. You can feel lonely even if you’ve got friends. Even though I’ve always had many friends, I still felt lonely many times. Sometimes I was sitting with other people who were talking and I felt like I don’t belong here. You feel lonely when people don’t hear you. You can have really good friends, you can enjoy spending time with them, you can trust them, you can count on them, you can talk to them about your problems, but you can still feel lonely. I had been lonely for a long time, but not anymore.
My major problem was that I felt so unseen. I felt like people can’t really see through my physical existence. That they are not seeing me as I am. I have never felt like sharing everything about myself with anyone, because sometimes my thoughts scare me and I didn’t want to scare anyone away with them. There’s one person in my life right now, who helped me climb out that enormous whole I was in. And he doesn’t even know. It feels so calm. It makes me so happy, I could cry. By ‘it’ I mean that he sees me. Not only because I tell him way more stuff about myself than I do to anyone else, but he really cares and somehow, he really understands me. I realized that this is what I’ve always wanted. I wanted someone to know. To see the real me under all those makeup, clothes, skin, muscles and bones. I let someone in. Okay, he’s just a guest, who visits me sometimes, but he’s the first one, who didn’t stop on the boarders.
So the answer to how you can be alone without being lonely is: be a good friend of yours, get comfortable with being your own company, and let someone in, let them see you. You should always have someone, who sees you.
The photos were taken by me in Dinard, France, last summer, when I was living the lowest point of my emotional condition.