I’ve been spending a lot of alone time lately, partly by choice and partly involuntarily. I suppose I can blame it on the recent chaos that’s occurred in my life, or maybe to the summertime sadness I’ve developed, a la Lana Del Rey (also, damn you Lana). But as I slowly try to get myself out of this slump, I’ve been trying different things to remedy the onset of loneliness — in healthy ways, of course.
It’s been true lately for me, that misery loves company. It’s not fair, I know, but I admittedly felt better knowing that three people in my life were experiencing heartbreak right around the same time that I was. But now that they’ve been motivated to be in better spirits, I’m left to figure out the methods in which I need to be happy. I’m definitely not trying to speed up the process, but it’s summer, the weather is gorgeous here in Portland during this time of the year, and I really need to eventually get my ass off the couch and join the rest of happy-go-lucky society. So, here are some of the ways in which I’ve been attempting to do that.
1. Binge watch on television
Ok, I know it’s not exactly getting me out of the apartment, but I really do get into a lighter mood after I’ve watched a couple of episodes of my guilty pleasure show, Love and Hip Hop. I’ve probably killed off a few brain cells from indulging in the love lives of hip hop entrepreneurs and musicians, but it’s not like I needed those brain cells anyway. They grow back, right?
2. Start a new book series
I have the first books of the Divergent and Game of Thrones series, both of which I have not touched until now. I went with Game of Thrones first because everyone cannot stop talking about how much they think I’d love the television series, and like the elitist I am (I’m not) I told myself I’d only watch the show after reading the books. But now that I’m half through the first book, I’m itching to start the first season of Game of Thrones. I haven’t told a lot of my friends whom are die-hard fans, out of fear that they’ll let a detail slip about something that happens later, in which case I would then kill them, but I believe that by getting into these books, I might slowly be able to rejoin the rest of society. Then I would unashamedly hold the title of bandwagoner. No shame whatsoever.
At the beginning of last year, I bought a moleskin journal and told myself I’d have it filled by the end of the year. Now it’s halfway through 2014 and I’m only halfway through the journal — barely. During the midst of my relationship falling apart, I didn’t feel like writing anything for public consumption. What I was going through felt way too personal, even for me who loves to write about everything personal. That’s when I became reunited with the neglected journal. It’s been therapeutic to write candidly about my feelings, events, and people. I write things in there that I can’t even tell my therapist about.
Never did I ever think I’d be capable of writing poetry. I remember when I was younger, maybe about 10 or 11, I tried to pen what I thought looked like poetry but what I ultimately considered garbage. Pretty garbage, at least. Discouraged, I never picked up the practice until now. When I found myself unable to write these past few weeks, I went to our local bookstore to pick up a poetry collection by Sylvia Plath. I love her writing and feel that her thoughts resonate way too much with what I’m feeling at times — minus the suicidal thoughts. But her way of describing her depression, anxiety, love, relationships, and life in general spoke to me. Something in me clicked afterwards and before I knew it, I had collections from Sharon Olds, Li Young Lee, Adrienne Rich, Audre Lorde, and a newer poet by the name of Jenny Zhang sitting beside my bed. Their words comforted me in ways that essays and stories weren’t able to. The nonsensical thoughts, rhythmic flows, and beautiful imagery captivated me so much that I started penning some poems again. Some poems I’ve written have been blunt, depressing, sexual, and of course, painful, to both write and read. But I knew if I didn’t get the words out of me, I’d feel forever restricted in those thoughts. I feel better now that I’ve let those words escape and fall into pages of writing and my Evernote app.
I only did this once this past month but I’m eager to do it again soon. I can do without the cover fee and expensive drinks, but the feeling of being on a dance floor with people letting loose feels amazing. I do also like the getting dressed up part since I hardly ever do that on a regular basis.
6. Hanging out with friends
Finally, when I’ve exhausted all the other options on this list, and am still feeling that pang of loneliness, I know it’s time to call up a friend and get out of the apartment. One of my fears when I was going through the entire situation (and still am) was feeling like I’d have no one physically to turn to for a shoulder to lean on. A majority of my close friends are back in California and now spread throughout the U.S., so I feared that my small social circle here in Portland would leave me feeling isolated and even more depressed. But what instead happened took me by surprise: a community came together for me. Friends from different areas of my life picked me up, took me out, fed me, listened, let me cry on their shoulders, and danced the night away with me. I felt loved, but most of all, I felt validated.
So, when you’re feeling lonely you can do options 1 through 5 for only so long, even with other added ideas like baking or gardening or playing video games, etc., but at the end of the day, nothing will cure loneliness like being around positive, warm, and good people to lift you out of that sad state. And it’ll be hard, I know from experience, but once you allow yourself to be vulnerable around your friends, and because they’re your friends and they love and want the best for you, then I swear to you, you won’t want to go back to being lonely.
One reply on “Remedies for Loneliness”
I was having one of those bum around days yesterday, and this list really resonated with me. I do a lot of those too, particularly journaling. Sylvia Plath is a good choice, and if you’re ever looking for another poet to read, lately I’ve been into Tom Hennen. He writes a lot about nature and relationships.
May happier days be ahead :)