Two months ago I watched this video by Will Darbyshire and since then I’ve thought a lot about what it means to be lonely. Since then I moved to an entirely different state, thousands of miles away from what was safe and comfortable. I can honestly say that I wouldn’t have it any other way and there are moments when I truly step back and marvel at the fact that this is my life. That I get to live in such a beautiful city and pursue all of my dreams. I am living the exact life that I planned out for myself in all of those dreams but that doesn’t mean everything in these past two months has been easy. In fact, it’s been hard and it’s hard right now. I’ve had to come to terms with being lonely. I knew I was moving to a place where I would not know a single soul, that going home often was entirely out of the question, but it’s the daily moments of life that make me the most nostalgic.
However, I think loneliness can be a very multifaceted thing, settling and unsettling all at once. In all honesty, it hurts to be lonely sometimes and it’s easy to feel like you’re missing out on something, not being surrounded by hoards of friends all the time, not going out to pursue new experiences, but it can be incredibly calming to just be alone, to take a step back and consider everything around you and everything within you. In all of this pondering, I think I’ve come to a few important realizations worth sharing.
Social Media Sucks
It’s so easy to turn to our phones when we feel lonely, feeling like we have nothing to do and no one to see, mindless scrolling becomes a way to pass the time until the next exciting opportunity comes along, however to an idle mind and a lonely soul it can be extremely destructive. People only post the best of their lives on social media, thus our feeds are bombarded with millions of night-out posts and exciting adventures, making us feel inadequate in comparison. I’ve learned to simply step away from social media in times of loneliness instead using my phone to call a friend and talk through whatever might be going on in my head.It’s astounding how often these conversations end up in laughter and the weight of the world we seemed to be carrying simply falls off.
Lonely vs. Alone
I think these two work in conjunction and are often seen as something synonymous. However, I’ve learned how to discern one from the other and react differently to each. I think we must accept loneliness, we must feel it, recognize it, talk about it, but we must never revel in it. On the contrary, we should revel in being alone, in being able to step away, in being able to find quiet and peace. Being alone can become a time to explore, explore what’s around you, but also explore what’s within you and your soul. So next time you’re alone, take a deep breath and take it all in, allow yourself that joy of exploration, revel in being alone. If loneliness creeps up, allow yourself to recognize it, where it comes from and how it makes you feel. This too becomes a part of that exploration.
Creativity in Loneliness
I think as artists we often turn to others for inspiration, rely on the words of others or sometimes the presence of others to strike something within us or to give us something to emulate. Being alone taught me to stop relying on others, to stop hoping that someone else would tell me who I was meant to be creatively I was forced to come to terms with my own feelings, relying on my own thoughts and words. For a long time, I had turned to the words and ideas of others to find a sense of what my own art was supposed to be and I can safely say that through being alone I have learned to find my own. So in your time alone, turn to your art, make that part of your exploration. Allow it to not only fill up your time but fill up your soul. Allow yourself to play around, to try new things, to be enfolded entirely in your own creation. Time alone can mean time to create, to play.