When I was seven, I was tired of my dad holding my hand through Wal-Mart. So, I decided I was going to hide.
After ten minutes of being terrified by the people of Wal-Mart, I realized I wasn’t hiding or independent. I was alone. And lost, walking down the fishing gear aisle.
But now, loneliness isn’t something terrifying for me next to bait and hooks. As pop culture may suggest, loneliness could be art, and I intend to be an award-winning artist.
A few weeks ago, I was rifling through the $1 books at Read All Over (I’m trying to only buy things I can buy with quarters, like cheap champagne and cheaper books). I found a gem of a book called “Paths of Loneliness,” and immediately took it home to map out my path.
Instead of enlightening me that loneliness is the best road-less-travelled to take, ultimately it just made me really sad. It reminded me that I hadn’t gotten a text in over five hours and the only emails I had were from Canvas.
But then–revelation struck! Mary Margaret Wood, the author of my prized purple paperback, wrote that, “the basic factor [of loneliness] was an extreme egoism, the failure to realize that in society the opinions of no one person can be absolute.”
Who wants to live in a society where they can’t be right all the time? Not Henry David Thoreau. Not Quasimodo. And certainly not me. Loneliness is not an infliction as “Eleanor Rigby” suggests; loneliness is a tool when used correctly.
This is why I was shocked to discover there is such a website like The Popular Club, which says, I kid you not, “Being yourself is not the solution. It’s the problem. Just be yourself? I don’t think so.”
I guess that’s what I get for Googling “lonely people.” But seeing tools for social skills was a bit too reminiscent of fourth grade, when my mom signed me up for “friendship lessons” with the guidance counselor. Cool, it got me out of math class. But it was me and the guidance counselor surrounded by terrifying stuffed dinosaurs, being told to ask our friends if we could be friends with their friends too.
Personally, I’d rather be alone.
The point of Wood’s book is not to bring loneliness to full glory as I hoped it would. In all actuality, it is a psychological evaluation of isolation from society and how to combat these feelings, and why they persist. Unemployment, concealing true motives, and general self-dislike are some of the examples. What if I like myself too much to want to share myself with the world?
And I like sitting in the dark listening to my “sad & lonely” playlist on Spotify (even if the dark is just because we had a $500 electrical bill). Or watching Netflix on a Friday night with a bottle of wine.
I might be alone, but at least it makes me happy. I hate people, anyways.