Describe a time you felt alone.
Loneliness is something I am quite well acquainted with, at least in a way. I have never been one for massive amounts of friend making. In elementary school I made the rounds to different friends and different groups, but always had only one or two people in my class/grade I ever felt any real kinship with. They were the ones I played with on the playground with and the ones I ate lunch with. But they were just school friends and that was where they mostly stayed, at school. That didn't change much through junior high and high school. And guess what? I didn't mind.
Being a bit of a recluse was the perfect fitting cloak for me. I never really felt lonely, but I never really felt befriended either. I guess the thinking was: hey, if I don't have any really close friends then I can't get hurt when they betray me, leave me, or disown me. It worked for me for quite a while. In fact, it still does sometimes. On many occasions I find myself withdrawing instead of really putting my whole self out there. There is of course, a single exception to this social recluse syndrome: my best friend.
We have known each other for ages, as I have probably mentioned before, and have been sisters at heart for probably much longer. We spent countless weekends and endless film footage together. Our relationship was based on both quantity and quality time together. We didn't really have use or need for lengthy phone calls and endless text messaging sessions, because we would rather just get together. It was a simple, innocent, and yet strangely wealthy life we led back then. Alas, that simple life could not last.
A few (like seven? wow) summers ago we each pursued jobs, callings, higher education, and boys. As most friendships do, we ended up going separate ways, the chasm growing wider when she moved across the country. Because we didn't call or text a lot in our youth, the pattern is much the same now that we are apart. It is out of character for us to call or message. When we do it is always a long conversation, but sadly those occasions are rare.
Yes, it gets lonely without her, especially knowing I can never replace her. I spend some days thinking of the things we could be doing together if we were closer: we would visit the parks with our boys, go shopping, attempt hiking, and of course have endless dinners at O.G. and Cafe Rio together. Those days, the time I spend missing her and wishing we could go out and do something together, they are the loneliest days.
I try my very best to make local friends and join in local fun. I hang with my neighbors every so often. I do playgroup with two other moms. I even go to parties, events, and bloggery gatherings once in a while, trying to put myself out there. It is sad, but mostly I am looking for her at those things. I am looking for that kind of friend who matches my crazy, inspires my adventurous side, compliments my misgivings, and amplifies my good qualities. I am looking for my missing best friend; looking and searching in vain. Which is why I usually end up spending most of my free time with immediate family or just spending time at home with my Littleman. We are two, yes my baby and I, and from now on I will always be at least two, but it can still feel completely lonely and empty sometimes.
However, that loneliness is not necessarily a bad thing. I mean, I have never felt complete loneliness in a deep and hurting way. I never feel cut off from the world. Instead, the loneliness I feel is familiar, which in turn is a bit of a comfort. To me being lonely is therapeutic; a bit like a gloomy, thunderstorm day. It is a reminder to curl up in a blanket and remember the good things. It is an excuse to hole up in the hot shower for a fifteen extra minutes and feel sad. It is a chance to better appreciate the glimmer of blessings I have in my life and to do better at making them count.
Despite the distance, that girl living out in Carolina is still my closest friend. We see her and her cute family when they come visit maybe twice a year. We spend as much time as possible with them when they are around. I mean, even our hubbys get along famously, which makes their living far, far away even more of a bummer. I know I could, and probably should, do more to reach out to her; to call, Skype text, email, send carrier pigeons more often. I know that. However, in some ways I feel those efforts wouldn't be able to do justice to our friendship. We have always been a better-in-person set of friends. We don't talk, we do. We don't text, we go. We don't chat, we see. It has always been that way, I think it will always be that way, and that is probably why, even after all this time, it still feels so new, so close, and so good to be eachother's bffs.
I know if I needed to call and tell her something, she would be there. I know if I needed to see her, she would show up. I know if I had a few questions and sent her an email, she would respond. I know she knows those same things go for me. As far as I am concerned, though we may be "grown up" with kids of our own now, we are still just those two little giggling girls, sleeping on foam pads, trying hard not to laugh too loud and wake the parents. When we get together, it is like no time has passed and no distance or space has ever been between us.
So I ask, how can I really be lonely? Truth is, I don't think I can.