Loneliness: Wanna Play Along?

As most of you know, I intend to spend the next month and then some immersed in the subject of loneliness and longing and come out on the other side with a Master’s thesis on the subject, followed shortly thereafter by a degree in depth psychology (the psychology of the unconscious). I’ve done a lot of reading the subject. I’ve read the religious perspectives, the psychological perspective, the mythological perspective, the physiological perspective, and the poetic perspective. And now I’m going to put it all into a vessel and place it over a fire and let it cook. But y’all could help me get the spark going to light the stove.

If you would be willing to share it, I’d love to hear in your words what the qualitative experience of loneliness has been for you? In moments of loneliness, what’s your first thought about what it is that you need? No judging it. Make it long or short. Messy or well-constructed. It could be a litany of adjectives, a story (fact or fiction), a comparison of the meanings of loneliness and solitude, a review of the role of longing in your life, or just stream of consciousness writing. Anonymous posts are welcome.

If it helps you to read another’s first. You can peruse mine here. Or you can try some of these words and phrases on for size …

abandoned deserted estranged forsaken
unreachable invisible unique like a hidden treasure
desperate anguished confused shocked
terrified restless resigned bereft
needing protection needing comfort needing rescue needing retreat
incomplete anxious numb non-existant
worthless meaningless purposeless hopeless
relieved expectant watchful patient

And because I’m just that sort of person who will use 100 words when only 10 will do, I will offer up a poem to inspire us both (in the next post).

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7 thoughts on “Loneliness: Wanna Play Along?

  1. I’ll just say this about the whole “loneliness” thing.
    Even when you are with someone you are still alone. It is the cosmic
    joke upon us as emotional beings. No one can see through our eyes. Feel our feelings. Or truly know our point of view. We are all walking individuals. Little pillars of solitary lives with external mechanisms for communicating with each other. Never truly knowing if the message we sent was recieved in the form in which we meant/felt. And yet it is in this “lonliness” that we can find commeraderie. We can find kinship. We can bond through this shared experience. And, ultimately not be alone while, humourously enough, being alone in the truest sense.

    yup,.. that’s what I think.. at least as of this morning.

  2. Greetings! I am just staring at Pacifica; I mailed off my first set of final papers today. I saw that you had also added pacifica graduate institute to your interests and I have been peeking in every once in a while.

    I wish you well in your writing and since your topic is loneliness and longing, I wonder if you’ve come across the word saudade. It’s such a wonderful word, at once untranslatable and yet known immediately.

  3. For me loneliness is the feeling that the unique perspective of the divine that one is can not be fully experienced by any other, or is not valued or perceived by any other. It can be an invalidation, or a longing to be experienced and known, to be fully oneself through expression of self to another that is lovingly received. Loneliness is the feeling that one is not received, and may never be fully known or received. I just broke up with Hamish tonight, so I’m in a unique position to speak to the feeling right now. It carries with it a physical sensation of a crushing cavernous emptiness within the chest, that seems capable of creating an echo of longing and it can cause my stomach to churn as well.

    • Thanks for your words. I’m so sorry to hear for your loss. It’s strange how something seemingly so related to ideas of self and belonging can carry such a physical manifestation. I really resonate with what you said about being mirroring/accurately perceived. I think I most often feel lonely when my outer life does not reflect the inner image I have of myself.

  4. For me, I think unsafe and lonely go together. Abandonment…

    When I was around 4, I wasn’t getting dressed fast enough to suit the schedule. And my parents left. Walked out, locked the door, I ran into the living room struggling to put on a turtleneck (I remember that, weirdly enough), screaming bloody murder and crying my heart out, utterly abandoned and alone.

    Of course, they came back in a few minutes. But I never trusted them not to leave me. (and I’m sure they have no idea it was such a formative moment.)

    Sometimes, my sense of loneliness has that sharp, desperate feeling of “I caused them/whoever to leave me — I am alone because I deserve it. I’m not…enough.” Sometimes it is that same sense, just baked in the oven for a good long time, so not a pointed pain in the chest but a hole with soft, carmelized edges that easily tear wider.

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