What Loneliness Feels Like

Thought Catalog

Loneliness is a dark place. It’s like sitting in a room at night by yourself and feeling like this is eternity. It’s like being in a place with a thousand people but feeling invisible to every one of them. It’s like walking on a path without any directions, without any idea when it will end. Loneliness is feeling like you are meant to suffer alone; loneliness is suffering alone.

Loneliness is unnatural; human beings are to be in relationship. Loneliness is fear; there is no freedom in it. Loneliness is anxiety; worry its sister, uncertainty, its friend. Loneliness is endless wonder about endless wondering. Loneliness is cold with no hope for warmth but it is also unbearable heat. Loneliness is an awful paradox.

Loneliness is drowning in a sea or in a crowd of people. It is believing that your existence is insignificant; it is believing that you are meaningless…

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A path to acceptance

When the topic LGBT is being addressed, there’s usually a lot of focus on accepting LGBT people and a lot of time is being spent on talking about the negative aspects/stories. For instance, tv shows talk about the bad experiences people have had, interview people who’ve been victimized, in which countries gay marriage is illegal, where being gay is illegal and so on. What they’re trying to achieve by that is acceptance, of course. And it’s good that there’s attention for this all because those are all terrible things and need to go. Only, I don’t think that’s the right way to achieve acceptance. I’m not saying that we should stop focusing attention on all the negative aspects. You can’t ignore the negative things and it would be stupid to do so. However, I do think that talking about it in such a manner adds to the exclusion. It’s being portrayed as something special and it partly adds to the fact that it’s ‘abnormal’. And unfortunately, in the eyes of many people it still is abnormal, which is what should be changed.

In my eyes it would be more effective to make people, to make ‘the world’, more familiar with LGBTs, but not by talking about it. Showing more LGBT couples in for example tv commercials is something that could possibly work. But not only advertisements, also in films, series and music videos. One vital thing is that it has to be very subtle. The advertisement, film, music video or series shouldn’t only revolve around the LGBT couple. When it’s a romantic comedy about a gay couple, then yes of course it revolves around them, but that’s how it is in every romantic comedy about a straight couple too. I’ve actually noticed a growth of LGBT people in series and mainly in music videos so that’s not where I want to go with this. I want to get back to tv advertisements. My reason for that is because everybody watches them. Most people don’t watch music videos anymore and not everyone watches a particular series or film.

I was watching a film on tv this weekend and of course you can’t escape the all those tv timeouts. After a while I started noticing something. I can’t tell if it’s the case in more countries but there a quite a few of those food commercials portraying a happy family having dinner. What caught my attention though, is that there is always a mum and a dad. There are never two dads or two mums. If commercials would occasionally show two men or two women, I feel like it would have a huge influence. Why? Because it would partly make being LGBT normal. I think it would especially have effect on how younger generations perceive LGBT people. Those ads are being shown all over the country and basically no one can escape them. There’s this effect called the mere exposure effect: when being exposed to someone or something (meaning: seeing it often), you automatically like them or it more. I guess this probably doesn’t work when people are resented by something or someone though. Anyway, at first children don’t have schemes, attitudes or mental models of what is normal. It’s something they create throughout the years. If those mental modals include LGBT couples raising children, two men, two women being together and loving each other, then being LGBT might a positive mental model: it hopefully is perceived as being just as normal as being straight. If the younger generations start seeing it as something completely normal and equal to being straight, it might also become easier for LGBT people to accept themselves and experience less negative emotions. From my own experience, being something that’s not considered normal, the thought of possibly not being accepted and people being disgusted by me are among the things that cause negative emotions.

There is so much more to this all though, and this is probably an extremely far-fetched theory. In the end, LGBT people will always form a minority, which in a way will always make them a so-called ‘outgroup’. Furthermore, I don’t know everything about the influence of media but from what I’ve learned and experienced so far, it seems to play a big role in society and on how we perceive things. But let’s not forget about how much parents and relatives influence children (A LOT!). That would partly outnumber the influence of media seeing as norms and attitudes are hard to change if people lack motivation to change them. That’s why I wonder if minorities will ever be treated and seen as equals. I’m going to stop and leave this for what it is now. There are too many things to hold into account and I don’t have enough time to pay attention to all the little things, nor am I aware of all those things. It’s just my perspective and I’m 18, you know, I don’t know everything about everything.

Lost and found

There she is
Where is she?
Gone, she’s gone
There she is
She was just around the corner
Hidden in a nook
My legs walked towards her
I didn’t even have to look
Because I knew
She would be
Hidden in the nook
The nook of my brain

Thought Catalog

Mila Kunis is beautiful, smart, funny, a gamer, and she gives hilarious, strong interviews with the press, generally. She’s shut someone down in Russian on behalf of co-star Justin Timberlake, showed true knowledge of World of Warcraft, and agreed to go to the Marine Corp ball with a military man fan. But no one gets awesomeness out of Mila Kunis like this recent reporter.

A nervous Hugh Grant-a-like admits his nerves to Mila during the press tour for her new film, “Oz the Great and Powerful.” As soon as he does, Kunis derails the interview and gets him talking about his quirky mates down at the pub, his favorite alcoholic beverage and his local football club.

Chris Stark of Radio 1 starts off asking Kunis about her role as Theodora in “Oz” but Kunis is more interested in having a normal conversation. Even when directed by a publicist off-camera to…

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Video

Palma Violets – Best of Friends

I discovered this band today through someone else’s blog and this song, oh this song, it’s so accurate. It couldn’t be more fitting.

“I wanna be your best friend
I don’t want you to be my girl
I wanna be your best friend
I don’t want you to be my…
I don’t want you to be my…”

The refrain describes what’s happening in my life right now. My best friend is in love with me but the feelings aren’t mutual. I want to be her best friend and I don’t want her to be my “girl”. And this may not be under which circumstances they wrote this song, but everybody gives their own interpretation to the songs and lyrics they listen to. Besides that I can relate to it, this simply is a fantastic song and I’d definitely recommend listening to it, as well as to their other songs, for example: Last of the Summer Wine and Step Up for the Cool Cats.

Discoveries

I was wondering. Wondering why, a while ago, it bothered me so much that not one person on this planet knew that I’m not straight. Of course, probably because I hadn’t accepted it and I was hating myself constantly because of it and had no one to talk to about it. Now that a few of my closest friends know that I’m not straight, something else about close friends not knowing it bothers me. At first my main reason was because I was tired of hating myself and I just needed to start accepting it, so I decided to push, throw, shove, whatever you want to call it, myself out of the closet. I needed peace, I needed acceptance not from others, but from myself. There are still a few close friends, who I’ve known for over 10 years and who don’t know I’m not straight yet. However, this time it’s not the fact that they don’t know my ‘true’ sexuality (whatever that may be) that bothers me. What mainly bothers me, is that I can’t share my life with them. I can’t be honest with them. They all trust me, tell me about the people they like, their (non-existent) love lives. I have to keep lying: “nah, I don’t like anybody”, “there’s nothing really happening in my life right now”. Whilst there were things happening. I’m aiming at my tutor on which I had (still sort of have) a huge crush, the whole situation with my best friend, the fights with my mum over all that, the fact that she doesn’t accept my sexuality. Those things are happening right now and I’d like to share them, but I can’t. If isolate myself and ignore them for example, they don’t know the reasons. I can’t share anything personal with them. I feel like there’s too little honesty left. They tell me I’ll find a boyfriend some time soon, but I’d probably rather have a girlfriend. You would think that sexuality isn’t such a big deal, but I’m starting to realise that it is important in situations like I mentioned before. For people my age, deeper personal connections are important in friendships. Those friendships seem shallow to me. 

You’re probably wondering: why not just tell them? If you’ve told your other friends, you might as well tell the others too. You’ve known them for over 10 years, surely you trust them! To the last sentence my reply is: “no”. No I do not, or rather, cannot trust them. They’re religious, they despise gay people, they think it’s disgusting. I feel like if I tell them, there are two possible reactions. 1. They’re disgusted by me and don’t want to be friends with me anymore or they at least treat me differently. 2. They accept me because they’ve known me for quite a while (two of them 10+ years) and it’s just something that they’ll have to get used to. Also, I don’t like telling people since I still find it a bit frightening so that’s what’s keeping me from telling them too. I still haven’t accepted it. There’s a big part of me that wished I was straight. If I could choose, hell, I would be 100% straight. 

Right now I don’t feel a huge pressure to tell those friends. There hasn’t even really been an opportunity to tell them anyway. And after what happened between my mum and I I’m not up for another similar adventure.

Things I’m going to do different from my mum

My mum definitely isn’t a bad mum, no way. There are a lot worse people to deal with, but she has hurt me a great deal, and she still does. Personally, I think raising children is one of the hardest things in life. There’s still not one explicit good manner of raising or set of rules you can to follow which result in good parenthood. However, it’s known that some things, whether mentally or physically, are harmful. For example talking down on your child, beating (punishment) your child when you want them to stop showing certain kinds of behaviour and so on. Even according to Skinner punishment isn’t the way to change behaviour, it doesn’t have long term effects and possibly has harmful side effects as well. From what I’ve picked up during my lectures and books, it seems that the best way to correct your children is by explaining them what they did wrong, why it was wrong and to let them sit on a chair for a few minutes since it’ll help them develop a theory of mind and doesn’t harm them. You know, the Supernanny method. Anyway, that’s not where I want to go with this. There are some things I’d like to to differently when I’m, no if I ever become, a mother. I disagree with how my mum’s treated me throughout the years, and that’s why I’m writing this down. Because one day, when I am a mum, I don’t want to make the same mistakes my mum made (in my eyes). I want to be able to read this back one day and think: yes; I did things differently and I’ve done them well. I don’t want to end up realising that I’ve never applied the things I’m about to write down. Here we go:

1. Be supportive. I know this is a very general statement, so let me explain further. When my child comes up with an idea, I’m not going to burn it down to the ground. Of course, if the idea is dangerous or anything, I would tell them, but I don’t ever want to get mad and yell at my child for having an idea or a dream. I want my child to believe in themselves, be confident, to feel like they’re capable of achieving the things they want and not to be ashamed of themselves. Lots of things are in the genes but you can shape your children as well.

2. Don’t swear at my children. I can totally imagine that children can be such a pain and I bet it’s hard to control yourself sometimes, but no. Swearing at my children is one of the things I want to prevent as much as possible. Especially when you’re older, you start to become aware of yourself and hurtful words start to have more and more influence on you. The hurtful things my mum says get stuck in my brain like chewing gum on the streets.

3. Don’t hurt them psychologically/mentally. It’s actually the same as swearing at your children, but I feel like what I mean is slightly different? What I’m talking about is when my mum continually, every single day, told me I would fail. I’m not exaggerating, we had fights every day when I was thirteen/fourteen. She told me I would fail high school, that I was lazy and not smart enough. My drive to prove her wrong became huge and I was never so motivated, and I passed. In the end I felt like I wasn’t good enough anyway, but my mum didn’t cause that. It’s something that’s always been in me and to be honest I’ve ever never in my life felt completely confident. I believe the combination of my mum and not making/having any friends in high school I have to reflect on my years in high school for a minute because my lack of confidence right now is probably simply because I had made zero friends in my six years of high school. You know, the psychological effects of not belong to a group, all that jazz.

4. Never call my kids fat. Don’t even get me started about this. Children learn that being fat is a bad thing, and when your mum calls you fat? No bueno. It’s one of the things you shouldn’t ever say. If you’re worried your child is getting too “fat”, which absolutely wasn’t the case for me by the way, just stop buying so much sweets. Tell them you want them to be healthy, just bring it positively.

5. Don’t shove my own beliefs down my children’s throat and don’t ridicule their own beliefs. I think children already base most their beliefs on what parents tell them at home, but what if your child has some beliefs you don’t agree with? Because that’s bound to happen one day. So what if your child wants to become a vegetarian, don’t make fun of them for that. If it’s what they believe in, support them. And if you really can’t wrap your mind around it, just don’t say anything bad about it.

6. Admit my mistakes. I’ve noticed that my mum has a difficult time admitting her mistakes to me. For if I might forget this, I’m going to give this as an example: I just walked downstairs and was standing in the kitchen grabbing some food. My mum was watching television and I have no idea what it was, but there were two women kissing. While I was in the room, she yelled in disgust: “Eww, GROSS, those two girls kissing each other, ugh! I’m going to take a shower, you go and watch it if you want.” I’m not straight, my mum knows I like girls, yet she didn’t even think about what she said. I laughed it off and ignored it, but later that night I did ask her why she was acting so weird and her response: “Yeaaaah well, I’m sorry but I just don’t like seeing it and I can’t change myself.” I even tried explaining her why it bothered me, by telling her it’s a useless, offensive thing to say when I’m around and by asking her if she could keep the fact that I’m not straight into account, or could just not say those type of things when I’m in the room, but alas, her attitude didn’t change and she kept defending herself with the exact same sentence. I let it rest. Anyway, the moral here is that she either just didn’t want to admit that she was wrong here, or actually didn’t get it, which I can’t imagine by the way. I feel like my mum thinks she’s being attacked by me every time she says a hurtful thing and I defend myself, but in my point of view I’m just trying to make her realise that she hurts me with certain things she says. Whenever my child tries to correct me or tells me I’m doing the wrong thing, I don’t want to be blind for that, but I want to learn from it. I think everyone can learn new things from everyone, despite their age because honestly, age doesn’t measure knowledge about the world and life-experience correctly. I know a whole lot of old, ignorant humans.

7. Don’t see my children as ignorant. I don’t want to underestimate my child’s knowledge. Of course, as you’re older as a parent you do know more but by the time your child’s 18 years old, you’re not that superior anymore as a parent. In my experience, a lot of parents still see their 18+ children as ignorant and stupid, but they know a lot more than you think. Of course, they probably haven’t been through some of the stuff you’ve been through, but that doesn’t mean they don’t know anything about this world. We all know different things because we categorize everything from our own experience and no one knows the same things or perceives them in exactly the same way.

I’m not sure if this list is complete. And I’ve realized that I’ve only written down things having to do with my mum. That’s of course because I’m a woman too and I’ll be a mother and not a father. The thing is, I guess, that my father basically hasn’t been involved much. He is there, my parents aren’t divorced and he’s great, but my dad didn’t actively participated in raising us. So basically, it’s pretty hard to make any remarks. Besides the fact that he should’ve participated more. Also, the chances or me having a man as my husband aren’t that big anyway, so ha.

Open up, my friend

I believe we might all meet one of those people. I’m talking about people who never, ever, open up to others. They keep everything to themselves and you just wonder what you can do to make them open up. To be honest, I used to be one of those people. And in a way, I’m still like that. But only towards my family and people I don’t trust or don’t feel comfortable around.

I’m going to use the example of my best friend here. We’ve been best friends for 14 years now, and that’s a long time, I’d say. Seeing as I believe that I can’t leave this part out of my “story” of trying to make a point here (I’m not even sure if I want to make a point, though): my best friend told me that she’s in love with me, but the feelings aren’t mutual. If there was one thing that I wish existed, it would be the capability of making people fall in love with you because that would be quite perfect, my best friend could make me fall in love with her and we would both have our first relationship, hooray! Alas, that’s just fantasy and let’s not get carried away.

I’ve always known that she’s one of those people who doesn’t open up, and if she does tell me how she feels, she presents it like a joke, which makes it very hard to determine whether she’s being serious or not. The day after I had found out my best friend liked me, I wanted to talk to her and ask her what she wanted me to do: talk to her like nothing ever happened, stop talking for a while, anything. The way I spoke, or rather, typed, because it wasn’t in person, was apparently very serious and formal. The way my best friend and I usually talk to each other is in capitals and in a non-serious way. When we do talk about problems, it’s usually her telling me about things that bother her, like university and stuff with her dad. I’m the listener here. The way she tells me those things though, she makes it sounds like it doesn’t matter AT ALL. And it does, I’m sure it bothers her a lot. When I talked to her in with that serious tone, she said: “lol what is this, why are you talking in such a formal and serious way, this isn’t normal!?”. To me, it didn’t seem formal or serious at all. And even if it was, I believe that sometimes serious talks are necessary. When I asked her how she was doing and what she wanted from me, she completely avoided those questions. It’s so hard for me to get through her. Now of course I can definitely imagine that me knowing she’s in love with me makes it harder to open up to me, I’m guessing she feels incredibly uncomfortable. But even before all that she’s always acted like she doesn’t need anyone to talk to, but the truth is that I think she definitely does. Humans are “group-animals”  and we need love, care and support. That’s just the way we are and of course every human is different, but those are things every human needs a certain amount of. If my best friend would open up to me, we’d have a much deeper emotional connection. I do try opening up to her, but if I don’t get any feedback, it’s very hard to keep doing so. What I’ve learned from all those years of not opening up to anyone is that it turns against you. You bottle everything up, all your negative feelings build up and up and up and there’s no end to it. Once you start opening up, little by little, you start noticing that it isn’t that bad. I still have those small panic pangs where I “relapse” (hyperbole, sorry guys) and think to myself: “oh my god why did I tell all those things, I’m never going to open up again.” But they don’t weigh up to the support and understanding I receive from my friends. I know exactly what it’s like to be one of those people and changing that is actually possible. You just have to want it, and more importantly: do it and work for it, because it’s not a restaurant and there’s no waiter who’ll bring you this. I’ve changed a lot during my six years of high school and I can say that I’ve changed the most during these 6 months of university. It’s brought me so much positive things (and of course negative things too, since I’m failing right now). Opening up to people is one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. It got easier the more I did it though, like it is with a lot of things. If you’re struggling with opening up but you desperately want to, please do it. Please. It’s scary, so scary, but you’ll have so many benefits from it. The benefits I had from it: closer friendships, more confidence and trust in those friendships, mutual trust, support from others, more emotional bonding, decrease in loneliness, a less burdened feeling, more confidence (possibly), being yourself more and finding out who you are a bit more. Those are a few of the things. Now for me this definitely hasn’t solved the conflicts I fight with myself, but talking about those things helps. And I’d say that every little bit helps, doesn’t it?