Mr. Lonely

How much longer can I keep on pretending that magazines, my kindle or laptop and a glass of wine are perfectly suitable substitutes to fill the lonely void inside me?

They say that you can only learn to be happy with someone else only when you can learn to be happy by yourself. I achieved that quite a while back, when I loved getting to cook for myself and choose what to watch on TV when everyone else was out for the night. But when that odd occasional solo night turned into three nights a week, which soon turned into five or six times a week, the novelty of getting to watch The Real Housewives of New Jersey and enjoy a half bottle of Pinot Grigio by myself each night quickly wore off.IMG_0932

They say you can feel at your loneliest when you have lots of people around you – if only I could be so lucky. Just today I sent a message to a friend with a picture capturing my bored home alone life (a glass of prosecco, magazines, and an episode of the The O.C on my laptop), and he replied: ‘you’re always on your own! It’s like you live on your own!’ Obviously this message was meant to come across light-hearted, as this particular friend doesn’t know I already feel lonely, but this brief message caused me to burst out into tears and down the rest of my bubbling prosecco.

I could go down the cliché route and blame this on my female hormones or place it down to being a stereotypical needy girl, but the truth is I really might as well be living on my own. During the day or night it’s either A. a miracle if my mum or brother is in for the evening, or B. a miracle if my mum actually listens to me at the kitchen table when I come to enjoy her company – it normally ends with me asking aimless questions, just trying to enjoy human proximity, but those questions go unanswered or I get shooed away as her laptop or any phone calls consumes any life she has at home.

If I actually lived alone then it wouldn’t feel so disheartening cooking another meal for one or watching the clock tick by till someone comes home. I have my two cats (this story is really hitting rock bottom now isn’t it?), but they don’t always provide the greatest conversation or companionship. They may be vocal and lovely when they want another food pouch, but once they have a bowl full of food they cast me aside like yesterday’s cat litter.

Another route many will go down is asking: “but what about your friends!?” This is one question I dread answering and now filter my answer down to: “They’re on holiday… She’s working… Oh, and he doesn’t live in London… And yes mother, I have tried texting!” Rock bottom when your own mother seems to have a more thriving social life than her 22-year-old daughter.

I don’t want this to be a pity party post; I do try my hardest to stay afloat. Unfortunately the future I want isn’t in reach until I finish up my degree down in Exeter (something I am desperately trying to avoid and very much dreading heading back to the books, dissertation and late all night library sessions).

So till then I guess it’s just me, myself and I (and my two cats). But really, is it too much to ask to feel like you have a family life that’s active and loving or present? I guess in this century, where marriages result in divorce and where emails or phone calls dominate home life there’s not much hope. So for now, I’ll just prepare myself for another night in and slowly turn into a 22 year old Miss Havisham type figure – Charles Dickens meets lonely London suburbia, a hit seller in the making.P1000274

Alone.

We can spend months, years, or even our entire lives without knowing who the people we truly love are. Love blindsides us into a sense of false security where within a second the person we thought would be there forever just simply gets up and walks away. Whether they walk away from a family, wife, or partner, they leave a trail of destruction behind them which the broken-hearted then have to slowly pick up the pieces and clean up the debris of emotions and anger.

My father shunned his wife of over thirty years, my brother and myself for the one woman he could never get when he was my age. It was like a switch had flicked on in his head, yet my family, friends and relatives were all left in the dark. My Grandma went as far to convince herself that he was having ‘some kind of mental breakdown’, whilst everyone else pointed out the ‘midlife crisis’ signs.

Soon enough, the only thing that mattered in his life was his idealized life with this skeletal woman who only ‘declared her feelings for him’ when her own marriage was on the brink of divorce, unhappy with her controlling, whiskey-swigging husband who seemed to be more dull than driftwood and unable to even crack the slightest hint of a smile.

When love hits you, it’s not a nice pair of Ray-Ban’s you’re putting on, but instead a pair of dated rose-tinted sunglasses from the 70’s. All you see through these rose-tinted lenses is your one and only, yet everyone else around you thinks you look like an idiotic love-struck teenager. At the age of twenty-one, seeing your father in boot-cut jeans and ‘slim fit’ t-shirts similar to the ones your own twenty year old male friends wear is enough to make you want to scream: “GROW UP”.

Realizing that your own emotional maturity is way beyond your own fifty-three year old father’s is somewhat unsettling. More unsettling is his own inability to take responsibility for the devastation he has caused, yet ironically enough, only a few years ago it was him lecturing me about taking responsibility for my actions. Obviously the cliché line of: ‘practice what you preach’ has totally gone out the window at this point, but from all of this I can only ask: if you don’t practice what you preach, how will others respect you?

Our parents are meant to be the ones guiding us, setting the example and attempting to teach us how to tackle the world on our own. With love comes respect, but when someone breaks your heart, every drop of respect you held for them simply dies then and there on the spot. I do not recognize my father, nor hold any ounce of respect for him like I once used to. This isn’t the same man who taught me how to ride a bike without stabilizers, or swung me round the room whilst dancing to The Beatles before bedtime, because the man back then wouldn’t have had the capacity to break the hearts of the three people that made his life whole. My father is merely a stranger, about to start a new life in America to be with his ‘sweetheart’.

The only real life lesson my father has taught me is that in life, you can never really truly know anyone, no matter how long you’ve known them. Now isn’t that a depressing thought?

Depressing as the fact that my father is acting like a teenage boy ‘in love’ for the first time, ironically it is less depressing to realize that now I really am on my own. I have my mother and brother, but we are all battling our grief and anger alone.

Truthfully, being alone scares me, both the feeling and the reality of it. Feeling alone is like being in a dark tunnel. At first you stumble your way through the darkness, tripping over a few times and getting hurt, only until you get up and start to see a faint light at the end of that tunnel. Even the faintest glimmer of light gives you hope, and that is why I alone will soon reach the end of this tunnel. Cuts and bruises from my falling only make me stronger when I get back up again, and the more light I see, the stronger I feel being alone.Barnes Common