A Deep Loneliness

There is a deep loneliness that is always with me.

It wants to be talked about, and then scolds me for indulging its desire.

It assures me that I am a fraud, even as it provokes me to prove myself. The loneliness is always there, always hurting me. Its loyalty a perverse reminder of what the loneliness insists I lack.

And I don’t think this is the same kind of “Bowling Alone“, we’re all isolated because of technology, what’s the world coming to sort of loneliness. This is much more aggressive, more violent.

This deep loneliness has a fierceness to it that modern discussions of isolation lack in my experience. Frankly, I’m not even sure I buy that we’re in a remarkably disconnected age. But that’s for another time.

I am writing about this loneliness because of its mundane, yet looming presence. It’s the loneliness that convinces me that even should all my dreams come true, even if I attain all my goals and win the respect of those from whom I desire it, I will still have this sadness.

It is as certain as my atoms.

And yet, I am not overcome by it. It just is.

Loneliness and I are co-habitants of the same tiny place in the universe. We are joined at the hip and to destroy one is to destroy the other.

It seems like to ask why I am sad or why I am lonely, is at this point, to waste time on an unanswerable question. Or at least a question with no certain answers and few palatable conclusions.

I don’t actually fear the loneliness anymore. It does not control me or define me, it only lives with me.

What I do fear is the reaction of others to the disclosure of my sadness and loneliness. Even to my wife, Elise, whose love of me and patient compassion for my wrestling is unending, it is difficult to trust the knowledge of the depth of this thing. To know me is to know the depths of this pain AND that I am ok.

The fear that you will not accept both of these things about me, or will insist on the rejection of one or the other is much deeper than any fear of sadness or loneliness. In a way, that is the sadness and the loneliness asserting their presence in my life. But in another way, it is me asserting my life in the presence of sadness and loneliness.

This isn’t just about paradox. I’m not trying to make a larger philosophical point about the world, although this all certainly animates my worldview. I am only saying this is who I am. All my writing does that, whether about academics, or politics, or philosophy, or social justice.

And sometimes, I must pause to say, too, that I am sad and I am lonely. And there is not much to add.

5 thoughts on “A Deep Loneliness

  1. Loved this entry. Cf. Nietzsche’s thoughts on loneliness in Beyond Good and Evil and in The Gay Science. You’ve learned to acknowledge fear without giving into it, which few learn to do (no matter what the fear is about). We all struggle with this, but few are honest enough to write about it. Thank you.

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