Age of loneliness
According to the recent census the UK was a nation of single homes. At the time of the last census, I wasn’t one of those numbers, but I am now.
You hear news reports about how loneliness in the elderly causes health problems. I totally get that.
Society is governed by the Pareto Principle, whether intentional or not. The law of majority shows that most people are not alone. For those of us who are however, we are, more often than no, broken in the eyes of others.
Pressure, whether explicit or implicit, to conform can be overwhelming. It’s the implicit pressure I find the hardest to cope with. Seeing what others have, and what I don’t becomes a barometer for comparison that is unfair and ultimately not what I want anyway. So I feel broken.
The reality is that, far from being broken, I know I can get through just about everything. It might be with my shoulders dropped a bit more than usual, and with a lot more tears behind closed doors. I know that I can cope.
The problem with all of this is that it is too negative. ‘coping’, ‘surviving’, ‘getting by’ none of them scream ‘I’m living life to the fullest’. It’s just practically impossible to just snap out of it.
There are a couple of TED talks that really stick in my mind at times like this. The first, from Ash Beckham, a gay comedienne (it’s relevant to her talk) who talked about us all having our closets to climb out of and that we really need to stop competing with others for the award of ‘how worse we’ve got it’.
I’m going to be blunt, I’m a very empathic person, but right now I don’t have the capacity to empathise with what anyone else is going through. It’s too much for me to cope with what I’m going through. I don’t want to be in my own skin, let alone try to console myself by thinking that others have it worse. I mean how exactly is that supposed to help?
The expression ‘between a rock and a hard place’ comes to mind. To think of it worse makes me think of something that makes me feel equally depressed. To think of those who’ve got it better just upsets me because it’s one of those people who has contributed to how I’m feeling (and I hate how he’s made me feel).
The second talk was by a woman who earned the title as the ugliest woman in the world. Harsh, but hear me out, I didn’t give her that label and watching her talk will change your view of it. In her talk she said ‘how do you define yourself?’ and challenges you to find that out in yourself. I saw this talk about 18 months ago and I’ve battled with that question on an almost daily basis.
I mean really, what does define you? What you do for a living can’t define you, that you can reproduce can’t define you (because that’s just genetics), so what does? I finally cracked it a couple of weeks ago, in the early hours of another sleepless night. I think my resilience defines me. One of my best friends said that I have a habit of getting knocked down and I always get back up again.
Don’t ask me when I’ll start feeling better. I really don’t know. I feel a little bit like a newborn foal, my legs are really wobbly and the slightest knock and I fall over. My resilience will get me through to the other side eventually. I’ll be battle scarred and nothing will be quite the same again. Don’t ask me to conform, because I can’t. Don’t ask me to change, because I won’t. Just believe in me.