The disco ball was spinning again. I was starting to feel sick.
I was in my mid-20’s. I was just starting to work in the blinking and bright lights world of New York City. It was the first time I discovered and learned about Happy Hours and other drinks besides ‘The Shirley Temple’ I loved and always ordered.
My body sank into a cushioned seat to watch the scenes unfold and play out before me. Hands up in the air. Drinks in hands. Dancing freely without inhibitions. Screaming words over deep conversations. Everyone looked like they were having fun. Yet, no one seemed really connected to one another. In an overly crowded room with bodies melting into one another and names and cares forgotten, I thought in the midst of my muddled mind from the overwhelming amount of people and not any alcoholic beverage because I never really needed that to give me a boost in the joy of life (I am already naturally high on life): “Such a room full of lonely.”
My red-haired colleague friend who dragged me to this club scene saw me glazed over. He must have thought it was from alcohol rather than this revelation because he asked: “Are you OK? Are you drunk?”
I suddenly felt very sad and small and lonely and lonesome in such a packed room than I ever did when I was physically alone, and said, “No, I just want to go home.”
He huffed and said, “What’s wrong with you? You are in your 20’s and need to live it up and party a more instead of working all the time!”
I stood up and straightened myself to try to make myself as tall as possible (this was actually an impossible feat). “Nothing is wrong with me. This just isn’t my scene. I’m heading home.”
That was the last time I went to a club. It was also the first time I realized how people think if they are in a room full of people that they will feel connected, understood, and fill a void of loneliness and alone-ness that is perceived as weak and weird. There is a judgment and stigmatism that for those who are alone must be lonely. The club was just one extreme place of a room full of lonely. However, there are plenty more rooms full of lonely from as basic as a Starbucks or the million other coffee shops and bars where the individual sits alone ‘connected’ to their technological device and attempts to ‘connect’ with humans only to feel more disconnected and out of place than ever before.
There are some people who always need to be with people—in one ‘relationship’ after another, one person after another as though people are not people with feelings and are just expendable objects, and just simply cannot be alone to fill a ‘void’ or due to the lack of awareness to fill societal and majority expectations or love deprivation as the ultimate root. There is me—I like being alone, need my alone time, and, most of all, conclude that ‘alone’ does not mean ‘lonely’ or ‘lonesome’ just as a room full of the quantity of people is not equivalent to and does not compensate for the quality and meaning of time spent by yourself or with a certain person(s). How can we expect happiness to come from another when we cannot be happy, love, value, or respect ourselves? Can you be alone? Do you need your alone time? Or, do you always need to be with someone? Do you actually prefer to be alone? Have you somewhat achieved a balance of alone time and people time?
Alone does not necessarily mean lonely, lonesome, or loneliness. I have actually felt the loneliest in company that does not possess the truest and deepest companionship of a meaningful person and relationship. Have you ever been in a crowded room and never felt so alone, disconnected, and un-belonging? Do you prefer big groups or individual encounters with people? Maybe it depends on who is in the group dynamics? Are you ever alone and do not feel lonely? Isn’t it intriguing how we will be in a room of so many people that is full of loneliness as opposed to a room where we are all alone yet not feel lonely in the slightest? What is this ‘void’ that we all have and why do we try to fill it?
Keep smilin’ until we meet again,