i’ve always been a loner. it’s not something i chose. it’s just been the trajectory of my chunky little life. i was always the oddchica out on the bus when it came to school trips. plugged into my army green walkman, watching trees and highway whizz by, trying not to hate everyone around me. or be sad. cuz sad was the worst. hopping off the bus and hoping to tag along with whatever group would maybe claim me in the moment. elementary, middle and high school. yes, i had friends and yes even best ones but somehow, always the oddchica out. someone or something being more immediate or interesting than me. eventually i just accepted this and did my own thing, ran with whoever was around and dealt with the dominos on my table.
i’ve had moments of inseparability with people, mostly women, mostly homegirls. like my girl christina, friends for life but she had other friends and so did i and sometimes we weren’t in the same place and one time we didn’t speak but but but life. right? others have come and gone: michelle, amy, emily, tara, nicole, leah, alicia, ashley, david, chris, manny and the list goes on and on. it’s ok. people don’t belong to me and right now isn’t a timeframe that everyone can exist in simultaneously. i get it. it’s gotten.
also people have flipped on me, seen me for who i was at the time and then poof. gone. i’ve been bad, ghost, inconsiderate, drunk, rude, afraid, human. reasons to be dismissed.
now none of this is for pity. this is a set up. this is all to talk about what happens when no one is waiting home for you, the phone doesn’t ring or beep or buzz and the things you’ve been invited to have more to do with bodies than seeing your particular face. this is all about being home, alone and not hanging yourself. or myself. or giving loneliness that much of a bad rap or that much power.
i don’t think i’m alone in being lonely. i read posts, comments, tweets and tumblr quotes about how almost every fucking queer i know is lonely in some way. except for maybe the shanes and the carmens and the real L word types and the djs and the party kids and the beautiful ones. i am everyone else and so are a lot of others. (also, i realize that queers can’t claim loneliness and that it’s this human thing and so there’s that but this is my community so why pretend to speak for anything but? maybe i’m just speaking for myself .)
so last nite, i was alone and it hurt so bad. all of the things i’ve done wrong to my body screamed for attention. knives, liquor bottles, bags, fists, blood, anxiety – all of it wanting attention. all of it wanting me.
but here’s the thing, after 8 years of coming home to someone, drama or not, abuse or not, it’s hard to come home to emptiness, to the sound of my thoughts being the loudest thing in the room. also, her exit created a stampede of people following in her wake. so goodbye to all of them too and even that’s ok. because for it not to be ok, would be me wanting life to change its course. life doesn’t do that. ever. i’m allowed to feel this.
what did i do? well all of my instincts told me to numb myself. numb it all. that’s what we do with pain we numb it. we use prescriptions, addictions, sleep, television and anything else that can get between us and immense amounts of pain. numb all of the things. i don’t want to be numb anymore. i lived numb for so long. living and doing and making movies and performing poems and going to strip clubs and drinking beer and inhaling and slicing and and and all to find where numb lives inside of me. for motherfucking what? to wake up and see that pain is an entity that waits outside of your door for as long as you keep it shut out.
instead, i took it on. turned off the lights, laid in my bed and thought of all the terrible things i wanted to do. maybe i slept for five minutes in between, maybe i was half daydreaming for some of it. the dark is a good place to deal with darkness. after almost two hours, after all of the thoughts had been thought and fantasized about, i just got out of bed. made a plan. gave myself commands. you will WASH YOUR DISHES. you will put away your dirty clothes. you will write that article. you will watch Chelsea Lately. you will not get wasted drunk or sharpen any knives. that is old you. you are sweating out demons. it’s ok.
i did smoke some cigarettes and drink two beers over the course of five hours. i count things sometimes. maybe lots of the time. anyway, this must be the process of getting over having someone around all of the time and remembering how to be a lone ranger. remembering that my life in general is actually pretty awesome. fucking fantastic new and challenging job. the people i do have in my life right now fucking love the shit out of me. i’m lucky to have some people who’ve been there for more than a decade and may just make it through all of the decades to come. i’m writing and biking and traveling and doing things i haven’t ever done. still small, still worthy, still in the bronx, still chunky, still always quick to laugh and mean it. loneliness can’t take away any of that shit. loneliness can’t make me want my old life or old people or any people.
this is my time to figure out how to successfully navigate situations where my thoughts are the loudest and only things in a room. i’m emotional to the point where my nickname once was the emo nemo (nemo because i have a lazy eye and emo cuz of todos las emotions). but feelings don’t have to be the reason to do detrimental shit. feelings are the reason i write. the reason i’m not a bully. the reason i blog and chill and cook my friends dinner. feelings are the reason i fall for chicks that make me laugh and can sometimes outsmart me. maybe one day i will find a chick again to come home to. maybe i motherfucking won’t and that will be fine too.
i remember being surrounded by people and feeling even more alone. so quantity of bodies isn’t an answer. the answer i think is taking time to recognize all of the bad shit, putting it into the appropriate mental space, dealing, balancing and then waking up, getting out of bed and choosing to do one thing after another. one thing i need or like to do and then doing another and then calling a friend and not expecting one person to figure out my life. maybe sometimes be sad with someone else, maybe sometimes hold in my sad to hear someone else’s sad, maybe sometimes saying hell yes, i’ll meet you at the club even though i haven’t gotten my shape up and my eyebrows are tore up. sometimes saying yes is the right thing to do.
loneliness isn’t the bad thing or the thing to be ashamed of. it’s the unplanned and unwanted moment of reflection that life throws at you just to see what you’re made of and test your willingness to keep going.
i am willing.
i am gone.
i am alone.
and it’s all good.
ps- i’m making someone i adore blueberry and banana pancakes tomorrow so no matter what:
loneliness is fleeting.
that is a choice.