On Loneliness and Being Alone

a·lone
adjective
1.separate, apart, or isolated from others: I want to be alone.
2.to the exclusion of all others or all else: One cannot live by bread alone.
3.unique; unequaled; unexcelled: He is alone among his peers in devotion to duty.
adverb
4.solitarily; solely: She prefers to live alone.
5.only; exclusively.
6. without aid or help: The baby let go of the side of the crib and stood alone.

Alone offers choice. She prefers to live alone. Without aid or help. Stood alone. Alone is powerful, independent. Alone is a choice, a desire. Even unique, unequaled.

I am used to being alone. It’s something I learned - hard, but fast and well. It’s something I excel at - being happy with my own choice in my own time. Without aid or help. Standing alone. There’s no note of fear or regret in my alone. It is cherished, it is desired. Sought.

lone·ly
adjective
1. affected with, characterized by, or causing a depressing feeling of being alone; lonesome.
2.destitute of sympathetic or friendly companionship, intercourse, support, etc.: a lonely exile.
3.lone; solitary; without company; companionless.

There’s a tipping point on the fine line between alone and lonely, and I don’t know how it gets crossed. One minute I “prefer to be alone.” But then, on slow weekends like the one that just marched past, I find it tipped: destitute of sympathetic or friendly companionship, intercourse, support. A lonely exile. And I am lost in the affected, trying to climb back out on fingernails, and with too much to drink.

This space between alone and loneliness will swallow me up for days. But the definition is more than apt: it’s a lonely exile. Alone is my choice. Loneliness is a choice that others make for me.

1 Comment

  • By Fae, March 10, 2013 @ 10:06 pm

    “i am a lover without a lover
    i am lovely and lonely and
    i belong deeply to myself.”

    (a poem by warsan shire, that made me think of you and this post you wrote.)

    Alone can be owned. Lonely can be powerful. <3

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