Here’s a stream of consciousness post I wrote on two different days. Sorry for the parts that are incomprehensible.
As I’m riding away from campus with my two best friends, I think I’ve realized for the first time, how lonely I was at Princeton and how much I tried to remedy that loneliness with so many different people. I don’t think I was always lonely, but I know I definitely was a lot of the time. I realized this when my friends were talking about another friend of ours. It’s her birthday today but apparently she didn’t have high hopes for the day. I guess she wasn’t really expecting much from her friends.
I’ve actually talked to the girl about this before. I was telling her about my dead week plans and she said she wished she had friends who were so close that she could visit their house for a week. But she didn’t. That made me sad and the messiah complex part of me thought, well I can just be her best friend. But in real life, I knew that wasn’t an option.
I don’t know how to cure loneliness. I don’t know how to fight off disillusionment. I don’t know. I do know, that as I’m sitting here on this train typing this stuff up, surrounded by my best friends on both sides, I’m lonely. And I’ve been lonely for a long time.
Now hold up, you may be thinking, well God cures loneliness. I want to commend you for you valiant effort. It’s true, God is there for us when no one else is and one of the things I want to do is learn to be more content in that. But even God said it wasn’t good for man to be alone. Even he knew we needed companionship. Of course he knew.
I guess that’s why I retreat. To be known, to feel heard. Because who wants to feel lonely all the time?
Talking to Ravonne today about loneliness. It was a kind of random conversation. I was feeling a little downtrodden when I went down in the room we’re sharing in Jessica’s house and Ravonne was sitting on the bed. I asked her if she had ever felt lonely. She said yes, often. We got to talking and I told her I feel lonely a lot too, probably more than I have been willing to admit. But for me, the problem has always been feeling known.
One of the things that’s repeated to me often by friends or acquaintances is that they don’t feel like they really know me. One friend once called me mysterious even (but that was silly). When I was in high school, that’s exactly what I wanted to be, unknowable, but now I feel like that’s all I am. I guess it came to a head today. It feels like much of my life, much of my time at Princeton, I’ve tried so hard to be known. And I guess I’ve failed. Ravonne was the first person I ever told that to. It sometimes feels weird to talk to a close friend about how you feel lonely.
Anyway, she told me about how she was feeling lonely a lot too, especially after breaking up with her boyfriend, except in a different way. It wasn’t the same feeling of being unknowable it was a little different. I wonder sometimes though, when I’m really feeling sad about my loneliness, is it just that I’m not worth knowing? Because it seems like I’ve tried to be known by people at Princeton. I’ve tried to be open and visible and honest. It just seems like every time I try, I fail. I know that’s probably not true, that I’m not worth knowing, but I can’t help but feeling that way sometimes. It’s just an emotional thing for me, more so than I thought.
More than ever, I can’t wait to be home and talk to my brother about this stuff. I love my brother. I can’t wait to be away from Princeton in all its forms so I don’t have to be reminded of that loneliness. I can’t wait to do something new or go someplace new so I can meet someone, anyone, new. I loved my time at Princeton, it’s just odd to look back with hindsight and realize that it wasn’t always as ideal as I wanted it to be. There were moments when it was ideal though and I don’t want to take away from them. There were moments when I wasn’t lonely and those were really great. But that’s a post for June 4/5.