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  • Writer's pictureBrian

It's Lonely Around People, Too

This post is inspired by the cycle that I am finishing up, as well as this song:

Synchronistically, I am pretty sure I downloaded this song from this exact Youtube video eight years ago. It only makes sense that I would surface some part of me rooted eight years back.

I have been moved lately witnessing the lengths people go to avoid their loneliness. They think that loneliness is about being alone, but I have spent some of my loneliest years surrounded by others. I would be at parties or get-togethers with this deep void inside of me that longed for something more than surface level validation and interactions.

Loneliness is not about being alone. We cling to that illusion because it validates our defense mechanisms based on surrounding ourselves with others as a way to avoid our loneliness. However, that doesn't work either.

Loneliness is judging your own presence. If you are so afraid of being alone with yourself, that assumes that you are judging yourself so harshly that you would do anything to avoid it. Eventually, nobody and nothing will be a big enough distraction from your own self-judgment.

Surrounding yourself with others, collecting external validation, it only delays the inevitable. Eventually, you must confront all of these self-judgments. Eventually, you must become present with the part of yourself that you judge the most.

For me, that was my actual physical body. I was always very skinny as a child. I was very insecure of this over time, as people (even family members) would make insensitive comments about this. Over time, I learned to hide my body, that something was inherently wrong with my body the way it was. That innocent view of my body transformed into a fear-based view of hiding and shame.

I spent a lot of time alone in my childhood. It was just me and my body. I even remember specific memories of when my family members stopped spending time with me. I did not have very many friends. I was somewhat of an outcast, finding myself around other people who probably had similar situations.

Then, I moved to Dallas, Texas in middle school. I assumed a new identity. I became literally anyone else but myself in order to get people to like me. It worked. I lived this new lifestyle of being "cool" and "popular". I started to communicate over cell phones and social media. It was all very exciting to be liked or desired or valued. It was a radical contrast from the insecure life that I lived before. I hoped that I would never have to return back to the old lifestyle. In this way, I cut off the "old" version of myself and identified with this new version of myself. In doing so, I lost my connection with my body.

From then on, there was this wall of numbness between my mind and body. My body also started to experience regular issues/injuries both in sports and outside of sports. They seemed to happen in a cyclical manner, as if there was something that I was continually avoiding. However, I was way too numb and close-minded at this point to consider such an idea. I was so invested in this identity, desperately refusing ever going back to the those years of loneliness.

The truth is, I was still lonely. In fact, I was the loneliest I had ever been in my life. The self-judgment never went away. It was just hidden under all of the external validation I had accumulated. The physical insecurities were just hidden under all of the muscle and endurance that I had built up through sports. My entire idea of myself was based on how others would see me, the perfect coping mechanism to distract myself from this huge void inside of me. It was all a big lie.

Years later, I have finally deprogrammed enough of the layers to confront the judgment. It became clear how I did the same thing I did years ago. This time, I created an identity based on consciousness and spirituality. However, underneath it all was the same insecure middle schooler with no friends. As I am present with this part of myself, I start to realize that I never needed to hide it. There was never anything wrong with me. I was different, but that was okay. I lived many years of my life trying to conform, like a shell of a human, a clone of everyone else. Now, I have all of these ambitious goals and dreams that is beyond what anyone around me could have ever imagined or dreamed of themselves. However, these old patterns still hold me back, as I hide my inner voice.

However, as I write this, I want nothing more to be myself no matter how different or weird it may seem to others. In fact, the part of myself that I needed to accomplish all of these creative dreams is that same boy who moved to Texas in the first place. I didn't realize how creative he was until I stopped judging him for his coping mechanisms to realize how creative he was at creating new versions of himself to fit in. Now, he can use that creative power to create things that the world has never seen before.



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