Isolation whether self-imposed or out of necessity is lonely.
I’m a lonely person, but not a loner, and sometimes the loneliness is hard. I know that doesn’t make sense except to say that I don’t mind being alone. I’m usually rather introverted and reserved, so being alone is not a problem. Rather, it’s the loneliness that slowly creeps in as you realize that there is no one else.
See, living in a foreign country is lonely. There are “them” and then there is “you.” Always slightly on the outside although you are attempting to live on the inside. You are a foreigner, an alien – and when I factor in my darker skin I often feel like an impostor of a human.
I walk down the street with my head down. Isolated. I pretend to understand foreign sounds and written characters with a universal head nod or shake. Isolated. I exist in my head. Isolated.
This was a choice, or as much of a choice as life gives you in things. But, sometimes I crave some more inclusion. My current position as a stay at home mom in a new city has made the feeling double. Most expats tend to travel as single individuals and most expat parents are not in their early twenties. I’m not complaining…. just… trying to make sense if it all I guess.
I think I blame foreignness for the loneliness. Yet, with further contemplation realize that perhaps I’d feel the same anywhere. It’s a sudden heightened understanding that everyone is alive in their own heads with their own thoughts and their own normalcy. I can’t know what you’re thinking and you can’t know what I’m thinking. Even if we share, the divide is still there because something is always lost in translation. That’s what gets to me. The isolation is always there, alone in a crowded room because at the end of the day there is just you. Just me.
Perhaps life is inherently lonely.
I mean God created Adam, then because it was “not good for man to be alone” he created Eve. But was it to keep him from being lonely, or rather to give him someone to be lonely with?
I watched Passengers the other day (in order not to spoil it I’ll be vague), and the balance between loneliness and selfishness struck me. They were alone. Together out of selfishness and perhaps a necessity, but still alone together.
And so all this to say I don’t know. Isolation is one thing. Loneliness another. But they coexist, and still manage to persist despite the potential for inclusion.
If I am surrounded by people, and I still feel isolated, what is it that I really want?