Ever since I can remember, I feared being alone. I hated the way the kids in class would point their fingers and laugh. I hated to see the look of pity on adults faces, as though my inability to make friends was all my fault. But most of all I despised how being alone made me feel… worthless, unwanted and alienated. When I was left until last to be paired with someone during P.E I wanted to disappear and when they asked us to get into pairs I could feel my heart in my mouth. I didn’t want anyone to know that I was a ‘loser’, that the only reason that people didn’t want to get to know me was because of how different I was to the rest. I was buck toothed, wore no make up and had frizzy hair and next to the groomed ‘popular girls’ I looked a ‘raggedy mess’, at least that is what they used to say to me. My aunty would tell me to pay them no mind, telling me that they were just ‘jealous’ but what would they have to be jealous of? I was crippled with anxiety, was suffering from depression and had confidence issues, I could see no viable reason as to why this would be a ’cause for jealousy’. But then I realized something, when the bullies told me they ‘picked on me’ because I was a ‘pushover’ and ‘weird’ it was because they were insecure about themselves. They were hurting inside and wanted to make me feel as bad as they did on a daily basis.
But I was hurting inside too, coming to secondary school I thought the days were I was being abused were over but I was wrong. I was manipulated, called names, ignored, had work destroyed and was made to feel alone on a daily basis. I cringed when I was surrounded by the people who were meant to be my friends, who thought it was okay to spread rumors about me and knew I would let them ‘talk me down’ because I had noone else to turn to. There were times when my so ‘called friendship’ group would leave me out in the cold and decide they didn’t want to talk to me because I made one simple mistake. I forgave them for their transgressions but whenever I slipped up they would ignore me and leave me to eat lunch on my own and I was forced to see my peers look at me with pity and disgust. Of course I am not entirely blameless, I lied about a lot of things to get their attention but that was only because I knew it was the only way that would ‘ensure I wasn’t alone’, even if I was alone inside. Having someone be friends with you just because they pity you is a horrible feeling but I was willing to sacrifice my dignity if it meant that I could keep up the pretense of having a ‘friendship’.
I longed for lessons where the teachers would put us into groups or pairs but when it came to P.E I was almost always picked last. H + C would make a pact to take turns in going with me but of course that never happened and I would feel humiliated when it looked like I had noone to ‘go with’. So I began skipping classes, shoplifting and rebelling against my foster mum, all because I was hurting inside and I didn’t want to show the world how alone I really was. I was embarrassed that me, a 14 year old girl couldn’t make real friends and did everything in my power to pretend the bullying wasn’t happening. It is quite telling when I look back; out of everyone who was meant to be my friend, there are only three from secondary school that I actually talk to and that’s because they were the only ones who actually genuinely cared. But I digress, it took me so long to admit that those people were not my real friends that being alone scared the crap out of me. I had fake friends who were willing to hurt me to hide their own insecurities and made me question who I was for such a long time. Was I a girl who had few real friends and had no idea how to spot a fake friend or was I a girl who had been hurt but was stronger than people made me out to be?
It took me a long time to be okay with the notion of being alone and I believe the turning point was when I started blogging. Blogging is a solitary occupation but you are connected to your blogging brothers and sisters in more ways than you can imagine. Just through a quick click of a mouse you can make a difference and share your story with thousands of others who understand what it was like to have been alone. When I first started going to blogging events on my own I felt anxious, worried that people would point and laugh at me like they did at school. That very rarely happened and when it did I held my head up high and embraced my ‘alone state’ because I knew that it was finally okay to be alone if I was the one to call the shots. When I sat in cafes on my own or went shopping on my own I was paranoid that the bullies were back, whispering in the shadows like they had done so many times before. I used to think that people who looked at me a ‘little funny’ were talking about me but I realize now that was my own paranoia talking. The day that I felt comfortable sitting down for food or even something as small as a coffee by myself felt liberating and I have done it many times since.
I used to think that people who were sitting on their own were lonely and not doing it out of choice but I was wrong. Being able to take some time away from your friends and family is meditative and nurturing. While I crave daily social interaction I also now ‘enjoy’ my own company because I have learned to be okay with who I am. I am never going to be the most popular girl and nor do I want to be. I have been inside the ‘secret circle’ before and let me tell you it’s all a sham. The sheep mindlessly flock to their leader but by tomorrow that popular girl will be dethroned and she will go back to being seen as a nobody. That is not true friendship and while I might have less friends than I used to the ones I do have are kind, loyal and always there for me. We have shared each others pain and nursed each other to health. Through thick and thin we have been a beacon of hope and made sure that our friends knew that we would be there until the very end. So regardless of what society might think, regardless of how your past has conditioned you to feel, being alone is not degrading, ‘loserish’ or an ‘indication of being lonely’. Instead being alone- but striking a balance between the two- can help you feel liberated, independent and stronger than ever. It took me 23 years to be confident enough to go to places on my own but better late than never…
Why Do You Think It Is Okay To Be Alone
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