You’re not alone, you’re just lonely.

Modern turkeys are too fat to have sex naturally and this post has nothing to do with turkeys or sex. Also, all art belongs to Zoe Si. Check out her Instagram @zoesees because her drawings are delightful.

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I have a question for you. Have you ever been surrounded by people but found yourself feeling so painfully lonely even though you weren’t technically alone?

I have and I’ve been feeling this way for awhile now.

A few weeks ago, while texting one of my friends who was actually my first boyfriend (we still keep in touch which is interesting), I was asked how I’m doing. Instead of lying and saying fine I said that I was stressed, sad, and feeling depressed. Naturally he asked why and I said, “I’m feeling very isolated and lonely.”

“Sarah,” he texted back, “you’re not alone. You have so many friends around you.” I think he thought that I meant I felt alone which I don’t. I feel lonely and the two are very different.

Naturally, I’ve been trying to analyze why I feel the way I do and in the process I came to understand a few things about loneliness that I want to break down.

  1. Loneliness can happen when you’re not alone, but surrounded by friends or family.
  2. Loneliness usually hits hardest when you’re not expecting it like when you’re brushing your teeth, making your morning coffee, or while you’re driving to work.
  3. Loneliness hurts both emotionally and physically. I’ll touch on this later.
  4. People deal with loneliness in their own way and there are different degrees of loneliness.

I want to break down each point from above so go grab a nice cocktail or a hot white mocha from Starbucks and get comfy.

Number 1. You can be surrounded by people and feel lonely and you can be by yourself (you know, alone) and feel content and normal. Just because you’re shoved into a crowd of people and not technically alone doesn’t mean that you can’t feel lonely. Maybe you’re surrounded by people who don’t know or understand you well like people in your past which makes you feel isolated and leaves you wanting something which leads to loneliness.

Number 2. Maybe you felt normal all day but suddenly while brushing your teeth you feel like you’ve been punched in the heart and you feel overwhelmingly…sad. It’s a feeling that you weren’t expecting and that you don’t know how to handle because you don’t know why you’re feeling alone. I’ve learned that loneliness creeps up when my brain is least prepared. It’s like it can sense that my emotional guard went on a coffee run and that it can hop over the fence and get into my head. Maybe this is the worst thing about loneliness; the fact that it can happen at any moment when you’re least expecting it even when you’ve had a normal day.

Number 3. Loneliness is a bitch and it can leave a gaping, throbbing (in a non-sexual way you creep), hole of isolation in its place. I’m talking a crippling pain that makes you cry or makes you want to scream. I’ve had many “episodes” of this type of loneliness (in private because I’m a stone-cold bitch in person). Some were brief little crocodile tears in my car at lunch. Others were full meltdowns that left me bent over in the shower just trying to keep myself from hyperventilating because I felt so alone in a world with 7 billion people.

Loneliness hurts because it’s an emotion and we’re human; I’m human. The emotional pain leaves me exhausted and makes my body hurt without really any reason. Our bodies are all one connected system and it would be stupid to say that emotions can’t cause physical pain.

Number 4. Everyone handles loneliness in their own way because everyone experiences loneliness differently. If you believe in the Myer-Briggs personality test, I’m an INFJ-T. That’s introverted, intuitive, feeling, judging, and the real pain in the ass trait which is turbulent. In summary, I feel emotions in a different way than others and I always have. I’ve always felt emotions in a more magnified field than the people around me and it can create a very big problem for me because sometimes I don’t know how to process what I’m feeling.

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Some people might feel loneliness as a small little nudge at the back of their mind. Others, like me might process it as an elephant sitting on our hearts. Everyone is different. For some, a day of isolation and self care might do the trick and for others they might need to surround themselves with close friends. Some might be able to just ignore it and live their lives (lucky bastards; wish I could do that). 

And others might be able to cure their loneliness by using other people. I think that’s what I’ve been trying to do these last few months and the only thing I’ve received is more loneliness because sometimes the best way to get over someone is not with someone else—at least for this girl.

My point is that loneliness is probably one of the hardest emotions to deal with because it can last for a long time and it can be hard to cure. Sometimes we’re so stuck in our own heads that we can’t break free and feel happy. I’ve gone to bed feeling completely and utterly isolated and defeated, woken up the next morning feeling connected and like I could breathe again, and then felt overwhelmingly lonely again by noon.

I think loneliness takes time and for some it can’t be cured by using someone else. If you thrive on having deep connections with a close number of people, how can you expect to cure your loneliness by creating multiple shallow connections with people who will never know you?

At the end of the day, I truly believe that we only have ourselves. If you’re feeling lonely I want you to really study your reflection in a mirror and realize that you are not alone because you have yourself as a friend. Take solace in that. Take a deep breath and tell yourself that this isn’t a permanent feeling.

With love,

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I’m interested to know how others deal with loneliness. Leave a comment below with your cure-all 🙂

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Going dark and disconnecting.

Traditionally I would start out this post with some weird, quirky, statement that has nothing to do with the actual post. So…in my personal opinion it’s almost a complete waste of time to listen to the audio book version of “A Clockwork Orange” because the slang is so heavy that unless you understand what Anthony Burgess means by calling someone a “eunuch jelly” or referring to a character’s junk as “yarbles” and their teeth as “zoobies” you’ll spend a good majority of your time completely confused as to what the fucking hell is happening in the story line.

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Anyways. On to the actual post.

Urban Dictionary defines “Going Dark” as a slang term used for going silent—the act of not communicating to anyone for a given amount of time. It also defines it as a verb meaning “To disappear; to become suddenly unavailable or digitally out of reach for an undefined period of time.” And, as “To remove ones self from all social media outlets and otherwise make oneself unavailable for contacting. Typically done in order to be more productive.”

I find that my enthusiasm to be digitally connected to the rest of the human population comes in waves. Every now and then I deactivate my Facebook and Instagram accounts and just take some time away. Twice I have permanently deleted my Snapchat and once I have permanently deleted my Instagram.

On my phone right now I have Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Tinder, and Bumble thus connecting me in almost every way possible besides Twitter and Tumblr. For me, that’s just bordering on too much.

About two months ago I was very into being connected. Maybe because I was single again and had no one to call up really to talk to. After two months I can fully say that I am over being constantly connected in every way imaginable to the rest of the human population.

Maybe it’s because of the election results. Maybe it’s because a guy I matched with on Tinder recently said I lack social tactfulness and that I am exceedingly crass (what I didn’t tell him was that he comes off as exceedingly braggadocious and as a pathological liar). Or, maybe it’s because I’m developing the habit of waking up and immediately scrolling through every single social app on my phone before I get out of bed.

Whatever the reason I’ve decided that maybe instead of being alone and trying to force connecting with people, I need to be alone making connections with myself.

The last time I deactivated my Facebook one of my aunts failed to update me on my Grandma’s health condition with her cancer and my mom panicked because she couldn’t get a hold of me through messenger. It made me realize that we rely on being able to instantaneously connect with someone through a social media app instead of actually calling someone. We’ve adopted the mentality that if we can’t send them a message on Facebook then well, we don’t talk at all.

So what does going dark mean for me?

It means no Facebook. No Instagram. No Snapchat. No Tinder. No Bumble. No dates set up through an online platform of any kind. Basically, I’m cutting myself off from the internet and from forced connections for the time being. Anyone who is important to me at this particular moment in time should have my phone number or at least my email address. In this day and age that should still be adequate.

I see pins on Pinterest describing steps for a “Social Media Detox” or a “Technology Detox”. My one question with that is how have we allowed technology and social media to become such a HUGE (like Donald Trump HYYUUUGE) part of our lives to the point that it’s necessary? For so many people our cell phones are basically an extra limb. I can tell that I am exhausting myself socially.

I’m not going dark because I’m depressed or because of politics. I’m going dark because I can feel that I need to step away for the time being and just be with myself. I might still post on here but I won’t be sharing it on Facebook or Instagram. I do have a few posts that I want to publish before I step away from social media. If I meet someone in person and they ask to go on a date or ask for my number I’ll decide to give it to them but I won’t be wasting my time swiping left just so I can find two people to swipe right on and hope I match. I won’t be waking up and scrolling through Instagram before I get out of bed.

Instead I’ll be taking myself out for drinks. I’ll be focusing on developing my goals, connecting with who I am now at 24 (well, I’ll be 24 in a month so I can’t quite say I’m 23), and maybe even a new hobby (weirdly enough I’ve really wanted to try learning how to cross stitch so I can gift people embroidered dinosaurs and swear words for Christmas). I will still stay connected to the politics and social events that are happening in America but for now, I feel that I can sit back and rest before shit really hits the fan in January.

For once in my life I am stepping away and shutting my mouth. Which is big for me. 

Over the last few months I’ve developed the bad habit of caring too much about what is happening in the world and trying to battle everyone. I’ve started to base my self-worth off of the number of Tinder dates I had that week. And three times this week I made it out to my car before I realized I left my phone in my apartment and went to go get it because “What if someone messages me and I need to reply?”

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It’s getting out of hand. 

So this is my dare to you and to myself.

I dare you to leave your phone at home for a day. I dare you to completely shut it off on a Sunday, or if you’re brave, on a Saturday for the entire 24 hours. If you’re really ready, I dare you to deactivate your Facebook and your Instagram and your Tumblr or Twitter and step away even for just a week.

I promise that the world will still be here and when you log back in it will be like you never left anyways.

Only you will notice the change.

I dare you to step back from the internet and from your phone and have a conversation with yourself over drinks or over brunch. I dare you to turn off your notifications and when you feel the itch in your fingers to tap open Facebook or Insta, ignore it. I dare you to say hello to a stranger while you’re getting a coffee or while you’re in a bookstore or at a bar. Basically, I’m daring you—and myself—to try and make in-person connections and to just be silent for a few minutes.

If someone needs to get a hold of you, they can call. It’s not hard and it wasn’t that long ago when we had to call each other because texting didn’t exist and Facebook Messenger didn’t have a separate app.

And the irony of this post is that I’ll be sharing it on Facebook and on Instagram before I go dark. So there’s a little humor in that.

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