Word Choice

It doesn’t take a word choice fanatic like me to know the very obvious difference between “alone” and “lonely”.

But just to refresh:

a·lone/əˈlōn/
Adjective:
Having no one else present; on one’s own.
Without others’ help or participation; single-handed.

lone·ly/ˈlōnlē/
Adjective:
Sad because one has no friends or company.
Without companions; solitary: “passing long lonely hours looking onto the street”.

With that out of the way. I’m an only child, as most of you know, and as such, being alone is quite common. Not in the sense that I’m alone in my house or that I literally have no one present, as the definition says, but alone. You know, no companions, no one to share one’s thoughts with besides parents and god knows that’s not always (or in high school, ever) an option.

So alone. Alone is okay. I used to play alone a lot. When I was really young I remember that I’d play in my room with all my Barbies (yes I had Barbies, and a lot of them. Don’t judge.) by myself, and only when I had finished would I go over and show my mom, often when she was taking a nap.

And then I’d come back, and put them all back in their plastic box all neat and nice and tidy.

Or so I remember.

Alone’s not so bad. I spent a lot of time in England alone, as the other options really weren’t my cup of tea. Partying and drinking and clubbing? I honestly would rather stay in my room, though alone, but never really lonely.

Even travelling I really had preferred to do alone, rather than spend that much time with people I never really connected with. There’s just more freedom, more control. And anyone who knows me at all knows that I must have these things: freedom and control.

Wow, I just realized…that’s an oxymoron. I’m sure you know what I mean: freedom to control myself and my situation how I personally see fit, without having to answer to anyone or be responsible to or for anyone. Freedom, and control.

The past week has been a very strange experience. I’ve been travelling alone, and though of course company would be nice, I haven’t disliked it for the being alone part. It’s nice going somewhere where no one knows you and acting how you want to act, no matter what. It may be that I’m just in a terrible mood that one day and don’t want to talk to anyone, and that’s perfectly fine, because they wouldn’t know any better. It may be that I’m having a fantastic day and want to talk to everyone, and for that day, and that day only, I’m that outgoing girl from the bottom bunk. I have no responsibilities to carry on that behaviour to the next day, no expectations to live up to, no promises to keep. No commitment.

I have always said I’ve had commitment issues.

I think it’s a peculiar thing, learning a new emotion. I don’t know what it’s been in the past year, but I think I’ve learned what it means to be lonely. I can’t pinpoint where it came from, but I have an idea, and despite everything I do share with you, Internet, this is one I’d rather keep to myself. It’s a strange new feeling, loneliness, and a heavily unwelcome one, as I, in all my macho glory, think that it’s one of weakness and dependency.

Loneliness – sadness that one doesn’t have friends or company? Please, what self-respecting person needs other people to feel happy? That’s ridiculous. Take what you have and run with it, don’t dwell on what you don’t. That’s always been what I’ve tried to go with. I mean, it’s been easy, since my place in this world has, relatively, at least, insured that nearly everything is handed to me on a silver platter.

Not, I’m sure, in the way of trust funds and connections, but in family, friends, shelter, food, and all of that in, again, relative to this world, luxury.

So the idea that in the midst of everything and everyone that I do have, that subconsciously, in the part of my brain (or heart, if you want to go that romanticized route) the audacity to feel loneliness, is beyond conscious me.

It’s embarrassing. Embarrassing in the way that I find being sad embarrassing. Embarrassing in the way that I find being “cold” or “hungry”, in my lifetime, embarrassing.

I don’t know what it is to feel cold, and I will never truly know what it feels like to be hungry, so whenever I have the nerve to let something like “I’m freezing” or “I’m starving” slip, I feel immediately and awfully shamed.

And sadness? Depression? I have no right to speak for anyone else who is seemingly in the same boat as I am, as I have no idea what truly goes on in their respective lives, but as of right now, I have nothing to be sad about, nothing in my life that is missing or terrible enough to be enough of an excuse to be sad or depressed.

So along those same lines, when those bouts of loneliness appear out of nowhere, the subsequent feelings of (again, relative, as I’m sure I’ll never actually feel the actual thing) misery are of course in some small part composed of the actual feeling of “loneliness” but more so of a self-righteous indignation that I have the nerve to feel that way in the first place.

Know what I mean?

I’m not crazy, promise.

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