Loneliness 

I know loneliness.
I know the smell of absence and the sound of laughter from the other side of the wall. The way you speak to yourself just to fill the lack of someone else. Anyone else. Anything else.
I know loneliness.
I sit at this coffee shop this morning watching the world. I actually like sitting at coffee shops by myself. The things you notice when you’re on your own, without anyone distracting you from the simple pleasure of noticing things. Like how the old man sitting across from me has been trying to scratch something that shouldn’t really be scratched in public – okay, that I file under things I wish I could un-notice. Like how the lady on the other side of the room just rather nervously re-touched her lipstick for what must have been the fifth time. She’s wearing what I’d consider a way too expensive piece of clothing. I scan the room and realize she’s alone, just like me, and it hits me that we’re not so different, that woman and I. I wonder what had happened that made noticing much less exciting to her, and now she’s seeking comfort in crimson lipstick and expensive dresses. I sit calmly in the corner with my coffee, cluttering my notebook with sketches and words while watching these people, before I make my way back to my hotel room to sleep and lose myself in another world, another dream, with no one beside me to draw me back to reality. 
I like the way I notice things and how I wouldn’t notice them if someone kept filling my mind with familiar conversations because I seek the unfamiliar. How small, ordinary routines can turn into beautiful memories. Like the way I spend every morning writing undistracted for an hour, just like how I’ve done in the last couple of years, but how a simple habit becomes something new and exciting just because you’re in a new place with unfamiliar people to watch and observe. In a coffee shop with strange cups and a new smell of their brew, and how I can simply sit in one place for hours and just be astonished, all my senses awake and sharp, and I smile even though I don’t realize, and some young man smiles back at me probably thinking the smile is for him but it’s really just because I’m simply content with my own state of excitement. Excitement for all these seemingly familiar routines, but for me, it’s all new. And how the simple habit of writing every night until I fall asleep becomes my safety, because that’s what I know, that’s what I do. But it’s still unfamiliar as entering a new land every single night because these poems, these letters, these memories transport me to different worlds where all things are possible.
And you ask why I enjoy my loneliness? Because loneliness doesn’t have to be empty if you learn to see the possibilities it brings. I have learned to look at loneliness as not an empty space but more like a blank canvass. A blank page free for you to fill. With stories, possibilities, excitement. Or the simple stillness of watching the sun rise over the horizon in silence each new morning. No one is telling me about familiar things. The world is, after all, only our perception of it.
So I’m not afraid of loneliness. It is my friend and faithful companion. And because it is teaching me. 
(Picture by unknown )

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28 thoughts on “Loneliness 

  1. Lovely! 💖💖. I love being alone too. I do just what you do, sit in coffee shops and observe, only I always write down everything I see and hear. Listening in on other people’s conversations gives so much inspiration! 😳😳😄😄. I think when you are a creative person alone-time is absolutely necessary because of exactly what you say here, your senses are sharpened and you observe from inside-out, instead of outside-in. 😊.

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  2. This piece you wrote just touched my heart and soul. loneliness is a complicated thing there is so many different kinds of loneliness even though I have my family and friends I can still feel lonely with my disability there is a’lot I do not do. or should say go to so there are many more quiet days at home but I do feel at peace with it knowing I can write and and explore with my thoughts it’s not so bad. thanks for the post love your writing.

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  3. Before all the airport security, I used to assign students to sit in the waiting areas, observe the people coming and going, imagine who they were and write about them. You have found a great place for observation and writing in this coffee shop. I imagine you may find other rich places to write.

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  4. I like your sentiments. However, if I may, it struck me that the word “solitude” might work well as opposed to loneliness. It has more of a zen, meditative feel than loneliness. On Friday night, I enjoy the solitude after a busy week. On Sunday night, I enjoy the solitude as I gather energy for the week to come. On Saturday night, I am just plain lonely.

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  5. Today I went to watch a movie alone, for the first time in my life! And then I came across your blog.. coincidence? I don’t think so..
    I wrote a couple of lines that go well with what you’ve written-
    ‘Sweet serene solitude,
    swaying to the tune of silence.
    A date with my thoughts.’

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  6. So very relatable. I often feel lonely. I sit at home all day with nothing to do. So alone. I sometimes step outside and look into the parking lot full of cars — just to remind myself that all these people are at home, too. With a possibility they are alone, too. You made a good point when you said each day is a blank page and alls we have to do is fill it in.
    Touching post.

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  7. Beautifully written and love the picture, you can really feel your words and believe it’s what the woman in the picture is thinking

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  8. I really enjoyed this post. The line ‘loneliness doesn’t have to be empty….’

    I just feel like I want to be on my own, in a coffee shop right now! Watching the world go by, wondering and writing. Thanks for sharing.

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  9. Loved reading this post having studied psychology, sometimes being on our own can make us such great learners, about ourselves and also others. I love how you made the feeling of loneliness no longer exist by being surrounded by others or just by your happiness of going into the coffee shops in your free time 🙂 Look forward to reading more of your posts

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