It would be a lie to say I don’t know what it’s like to not be alone. I’ve been blessed to have many experiences to the contrary. But the truth is I don’t know what it’s like to not want to not be alone.
It’s complicated. Which is the simplest and probably only way to describe it. And I could go on into all the aspects that I’ve felt and still feel it. Familial, friendship, romantic. But mostly the thing I keep struggling with is the fact that I keep struggling with it.
I always thought adulthood or maturity or whatever was being able to handle things better. Looking back, it makes sense why I would think that. Because there are a lot of things I’ve never known how to handle well. So, naturally, I’d assume that growth meant getting better at those things.
And getting better means not being bothered when you don’t get the things you want, right?
And maybe that’s the biggest thing about it all: not getting what I want. Of course, it sounds so immature saying it out loud. The complaint of a child. But there is something about wanting and not getting. Really, really wanting, continually wanting, again and again, and not getting.
I don’t know if relationships are about finding the people who want you the same way you want them or about learning that no one will ever want you the same way you want them and just learning to live with that. The latter feels depressing, but there are days the former feels impossible.
I don’t know.
I don’t know if that feeling, the empty kind of gnawing where you know you’re missing something, ever goes away. I don’t know if I’m meant to carry it better or to put it down entirely. If there’s always some part of us that wants to not be what we sometimes are. I don’t know if life is about making peace with it. I don’t know if constantly dreaming and hoping and praying to have what you want more than anything in the world is right or not.
I just know it’s real.
And maybe it’s no coincidence I’m writing this today, of all days. A day about waiting for things when hope seems lost. It feels trite, but I’ll take it.
Because I’ve learning the waiting is part of it.
What I haven’t learned is whether the waiting earns you the thing itself or if waiting just teaches you what you really want because the waiting is all there is.
What I haven’t learned is how not to envy everyone else, to look at all the people who got it and wonder “how?” and “what am I doing wrong?”
What I have learned is that you have to keep going. It’s not always clear, but any progress is better than no progress. And hope, even the far-fetched kind, is far better than despair.
I do know we can stop treating the whole thing as terribly easy. It’s people. They were never meant to be.
I do know none of this will ever be an excuse to disrespect another person and their choices. We are all trying to find our best. If I’m not theirs, then who would I be if I held that against them?
I do know we can wake up tomorrow and try again. I do know that things find us as much as we go looking for other things, and there’s no harm in being tired. And before we judge someone for spending another Saturday by themselves, we can remind each other that community has never been a thing you can just dial up. It’s a slow burn no matter what.
It’s all a slow burn. All of it. That’s the frustrating and hopeful thing. We won’t always be able to see it. Times like that make it easy to listen to the voices in our head. But something is being made. If we just show up for it.
Because I do know, whatever the outcome, I have to show up.