Thursday, December 15, 2011

Mask of Loneliness


Of all the ways to express loneliness, why have I chosen a picture of the empty park bench above? The world around it is bright and sunny, the trees and grass a luscious green, people and life moving about in the background. Precisely because it's the kind of loneliness I'm experiencing . . . and have been all along.

That bench is like my Mask of Loneliness. It sits there, alone, in a vibrant world waiting for someone to occupy it and linger for a while. To a passerby it doesn't appear "sad" or "happy," it simply is. Only when one takes pause to notice and contemplate the situation can one appreciate the loneliness. And so too it is with me. My Mask of Loneliness often appears invisible, even when worn directly in front of you. I'm surrounded by friends and peers. I have few enemies and I get along with most anyone. I wear my Mask of Smiles even when I don't feel like it. I can now interact and blend in so flawlessly that you'll probably never notice that I'm alone.

But I notice. I feel the Mask of Loneliness on my face. I'm painfully aware that several of my friends are now married, at least one of whom now have kids. Though I don't show it, I'm actually rather awkward when I'm one of maybe 3 people in a group who're single. And though you don't notice it, I don't really care to hear about your relationship problems with your girl/boyfriend/spouse.

And no matter how much I tell myself that we all go at our own pace, how I still have time, how my busy-ness is only "for now," I can feel this Mask begin to harden on my face. It is, after all, partly my fault. I don't make a particularly concerted effort to "get out there." And the longer I wait, the more excuses I make and the easier it becomes to make them.

Lately I've begun to feel that I'm "undatable." I hung out with Drew on Sunday (he's seeing someone else now, figures) and it was . . . rather awkward. Neither of us had any particularly good conversation topics. We were just on two completely different pages the whole time. I felt like I had become so one-dimensional as the conversation topics I brought back either drew from a subset of things I knew well or otherwise drifted towards the medical. Even I wouldn't date me.

Lol, I suppose I've become more like that park bench than I thought. At first glance, I'm just made of wood - one-dimensional. But if you happen to come closer, you'll see the words etched into that wood and read the stories of my past, present, and future. And it's not like I'm intentionally hiding, I'm right here in front of you! I hope you linger a bit and keep me company, and take from me my Mask of Loneliness.

Until then, may this quote ring true:
"Pray that your loneliness may spur you into finding something to live for, great enough to die for." ~ Dag Hammarskjold
Yes, I've used that quote before in this post (if you recall).

8 comments:

B said...

Sorry to hear about this mask of yours. I definitely relate to it, especially the part about trying to reassure yourself that "everyone goes at their own pace." I think the best thing to do would be to start making small steps to get yourself out there more. Staring too long at the big picture gets overwhelming (and I'm sure you know that I know what I'm talking about there, haha). That includes comparing yourself to others, as hard as it is to avoid doing that.

fan of casey said...

Aek: You got the first steps out of the way: Identifying and acknowledging you have an issue and that you want to change it. Now comes the harder part, breaking free from inertia and taking steps to make changes, and they can be small steps at first.

It's sort of difficult because of your busy schedule and the fact that you are not really out. If you were out, you could ask your friends for leads and recommendations, which I think is better than trolling hookup and dating sites. You may want to restrict your search at first to people in the medical community since you have that as a common link.

You probably can tolerate being alone for awhile, but then it kind of gnaws at your self worth but you have to take some active steps to put yourself out there and make yourself vulnerable.

J said...

I honestly think the strain of professional schooling makes matters considerably worse than they are. You're not established in life and you have to work all the time. There's only one remedy for this, and that is to keep on your course until you're licensed. You know whom you have to see if things are becoming unbearable.

Anonymous said...

How about hitting the gym and lifting weights? Unfortunately, in the gay world, appearances matter much more than they should.

samaira said...

hy aek...in a few lines up there many mid twenties can find there emotions expressed at its best....it isnt that one is nt happy for d frnds who r settled and happy in their lives but its just that it leaves a weird monotonous silence deep inside.......n i hav a lil diffrnt view for such situatn...instead of takng little steps one can take some dramatic once....im also hunting fr one...

. said...

Hey Ark good advice from other readers above...hope things get better for you!!

Aek said...

Hmm, these are some depressing-ish comments . . . o_O

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