Loneliness and companionship

I’m a lonely soul and always have been.

But we’re all lonely at heart.

Even in the closest and largest of companies you can feel like the loneliest person on earth – sometimes all the more because of it.

I like to be alone, however. I enjoy my freedom to do as I please, with no judgment, no responsibility or expectations from anyone else but myself. But being alone is not the same as being lonely and knowing nothing else. Something essential is still missing.

I’m so used to people leaving by now; to have lives of their own, to make excuses for not staying or hanging around that I expect they always will. However much I secretly hope they stay a little longer just because they like my company and because I have more than enough sparetime and want to help and listen, I also keep reminding myself that that isn’t possible in the long run. People come and go. So what if they do it a bit quicker and more often in my case? I cannot demand that they should stay, not for me. Not for any selfish reasons. That would just be … selfish. Every human is, after all, always free to go. It’s nothing personal. It’s human.

I can’t even pity myself over that fact any longer.

I’m a hypocrite, however. I’ve made my own excuses to other lonely people who just wanted some company. They were all mostly elderly people of the family and though they were sweet and attentive they mostly kept me around for selfish reasons, just glad to have somebody around, spending most of our time talking about themselves and their nearest surroundings. I gave them my time and my ear, finding their tranquil company relaxing and glad to be able to make them feel less lonely for a while. However, being young and spending that much time with your elders rather than your peers … well, I wasn’t getting as much out of the company as my elders did; that was obvious. Then again, most of my peers at the time gave close to nothing of what I craved in a friendship or companionship – or any kind of ship! Growing up in a small town only leaves you with that many options for equal-minded company. Safe to say, I had few to no friends; the closest ones living in other towns, so we rarely saw each other outside of school.

I’ve always been a lone wolf and still am. Again, not that I can’t be social but I’m left feeling drained and still missing something I don’t know what is. I’m not an attention-seeker but again, a little of the right kind goes a long way. When attention from my peers did come, it was arrogant or indifferent at best or surprised at my presence or being able to astonish them at all. Then they suddenly sucked up to me or used me as their go-to joke in random conversations where I was not otherwise included, before losing interest again. I was forgettable, I guess. Yeah, wallow in my regained self-pity with me for a bit, will ya?

I don’t know if that is the case for other INTPs or just a basic human condition for many introverts. I’m sure I’m not a unique case but it certainly felt so when I looked around among my peers. They clearly wanted something else from life and people than I did and I felt so alienated. My way of thinking felt more mature and though it easily fell into the tranquil patterns of my elders’, I couldn’t identify with them either. They had lived a full life when mine hadn’t even begun. They could reminiscence about people and life in a way I wasn’t able to yet. Their bodies old and fragile, while mine was young and agile; a contrast they often pointed out. Their experienced souls accepting the final stages of life before death, while I was so inexperienced and ready for life; thought myself close to immortal (when you’re young you just do that, right?). When they were embittered about life’s changing ways, I was bursting with its possibilities (how could I not?). And when they were bursting with the life they had lived, I felt myself shrinking with a sense of jealousy of what I hadn’t even encountered as well as becoming excited by the prospect of maybe experiencing it myself. I was always left inspired but not exhilarated. Something vital was still missing.

No, I craved company of the same physical age as me but with a soul and mind not unlike my own. And how did I not know they weren’t there if I didn’t talk to that many of my peers? Well, there are certain situations in life when you are able to point out such equal-minded souls from the crowd and I have yet to personally encounter the few ones I have noticed in a by-passing. A reaction or a look that give away their inner thoughts about the situation; giving them that strange but wholely familiar look of alienation from the rest of the mass. I feel the latter condition of being constantly – which is why I cannot fathom how people cannot feel it as well. They must! At least, every now and then. Maybe they just don’t show it? Maybe it isn’t as visible as I like to believe; perhaps they can’t even see it in me either?

I feel my curious gaze so often linger on whatever lies hidden beneath people during these brief encounters with strangers, but it often isn’t enough. Sometimes I find myself giving up hope before anything is found, though the hope always returns whenever I watch people. Maybe I’m too often looking for something that simply isn’t there. Or maybe they hide it too well. Sometimes it’s too obvious; I can (or think I can) see it in their eyes, in their faces, hear it in their sighs – and I think I feel the pain of everyone suffering; I so do want to relieve them of their silent pain by sharing common ground, without pity but with sympathy. I sometimes think I feel and empathize too much and this weltschmerz becomes too heavy, too dramatic and deepfelt that I must catch my breath and seek away from the crowd. It is a curse lingering to my loneliness.

tbc

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