I try not to double post Instagram posts unto my blog. But writing about loneliness — destigmatizing it — feels so important. I want to share more broadly.
I want to express that, in a society that expects us to not appear lonely, that it is very hard to write about my own loneliness. But, I am also thinking about how others have written and shared difficult things that have given me more courage to be myself. So, here we find ourselves.
I feel lonely. I feel it most nights. And I feel it most acutely when I am grieving that others aren’t ready to join me on the kind of life I want to live: an honest, reflective life. I feel it the most these days as I realize that some people I care about aren’t ready to be more honest with themselves and worse when I start to see a difference between how they treat the people in their lives who live in complacent self-deception vs. the aspiring truth-tellers in their circle. I try to trust that other’s choices and behaviors are not reflections of my worth, but it can still feel like betrayal when someone expresses with their dismissals and actions (and lack of actions) sentiments such as “that thing that matters to you, Rachel, I decided it doesn’t matter to me as much as I had initially thought. I liked it better when things were surface level, when I didn’t feel challenged. You care too much. Why can’t you be fun all the time? Why can’t you be more complacent?”
So here I am, feeling kind of lonely. I write in hopes that others can find what is authentic to them. Selfishly, I hope in the long term, by choosing their real selves, others can be honest with their peers, like me. Maybe it can help in my own loneliness.
From my Instagram:
I hate the kind of messages that suggests that loneliness is weakness. How many of us internalize that if we are lonely we must be ashamed of ourselves?
Sometimes, you are lonely because you are trying to end painful patterns. Or because you are being brave. And you need more people who can keep up with that. Sometimes you are lonely because you are growing and you aren’t finding others who are meeting you where you are. Sometimes you are lonely because being honest scares the people around you. Sometimes you are lonely because you weren’t honest with yourself and you are learning to be honest now.
Sometimes, loneliness is a product of risk and trying really damn hard. And that takes courage. I am hoping to get through that valley of loneliness which seems to grow more and more these days.
It is scary to feel lonely during a time where you are teaching yourself you deserve better, kinder, honester, warmer. I haven’t heard many talk about how when you take care of yourself better sometimes you will feel lonely and misunderstood. I am trying to trust that this valley of loneliness doesn’t mean I’m failing. And that there will be more comfort and understanding and solidarity and kindness and love waiting to greet me on the other side.
From adrienne maree brown’s “Emergent Strategy”: