being alone is weird.
a year ago, I knew what it was like to be alone. I had been alone for a long time. I could go days without getting a text from anyone other than my momager. I would wake up alone, I would fall asleep alone, and there would be hours in between there where I would be alone. granted, there were hours that I wasn’t alone, and days when I would hear from multiple people. no one could actually understand everything that I was going through each day because no one actually knew everything I was going through every day. it was really hard around this time last year. I spent a lot of time doing things for other people (which isn’t a bad thing, it kept me busy and gave me something to keep me going, even if it was exhausting at times), and I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what the fuck I was doing with my life.
I had returned from a week and a half in Ecuador, where I spent most hours of all of those days with at least one, but usually two and many times more than that, person. and then when I boarded that flight from Atlanta to Minneapolis, I was on my own again. there were people around, but no one I knew. my flight back to Appleton was delayed, delayed, delayed, and then cancelled. I was exhausted, I was frustrated, and I was sad. at this point, I hadn’t taken a shower or changed my clothes in over twenty-four hours, and I might have gotten three hours of sleep on a red-eye flight in the same amount of time. I just wanted to go home. it seemed impossible, but thanks to my father’s assistance, I ended up driving and getting home to brush my teeth and sleep and try to get back to normalcy in the morning.
and then things changed. there was a person who seemed interested in my life and I felt like I had a new lifeline. the thing is, I have a couple super close friends. we’re all busy and it’s hard for us to have the time to be committed to continually growing those relationships. but this new lifeline allowed me to spend time getting to know someone I hadn’t known as well before. it filled my heart with joy to be able to feel heard by someone different. but it shifted pretty quickly. it was rocky for a little bit there, but once everything fell back into place, it blossomed again and it was incredible to me to have someone there, any time. everything eventually shattered. it still stings, even six months later.
it’s different this winter. because I know what it was like to not be this alone. I cherished that, and there’s this fear inside me that I’ll never have that again.
let me tell you a secret. it’s hard for me to meet people and let strangers into my life. I don’t like being around crowds, or going to bars, and I don’t know how else people make friends these days. the people I do meet are all from the same group, and while I feel like I belong to a point, it’s also pretty clear that I am an outsider and I feel like I now have to keep a wall up so that I don’t get too close and have everything ripped away from me again.
it’s not cool for me to say that I don’t have friends because to me friends are people who show that they care and actually reach out, when I haven’t been reaching out either. but it gets to be that I feel like I’m being annoying because I feel that I am always the one who initiates the conversation, and that just leaves me hurting even more.
please, before you think that I’m over here calling all of the people in my life terrible friends, please, please realize that this is how it feels for someone whose anxiety level is just so high that they think they’re bothering someone when they reach out or that everyone is avoiding them for a reason that they know is non-existent, but the little voice in the back of their head is telling them otherwise. please know that as I write these feelings, I can’t sleep and only heard from one non-stranger today. it’s the twenty-ninth, which for years has dragged me down. please know that my heart is filled with so much love, but on nights like tonight, I feel like it’s one-sided. please know that I appreciate it more than you’ll ever understand when someone else makes the first move and that it’s so difficult for me to reach out because of the times I’ve been burned in the past.
it’s impossible for anyone to what my life is like without walking a day in my shoes, but here is the best way for me to try to help someone understand. if you see me and think that I’ve cut myself off from the world, it’s not because I don’t care.
please know that it’s because I care too much.
a photographer with the desire to hide behind the camera a little less and let the light shine through.