The Art of Being Lonely

Hello, everyone! Told ya I’d be more frequent! Although, to be fair, once a month is still pretty slow going these days.

It’s been several weeks without a job now. Thankfully, and humbly, I have been able to make ends meet just by playing music alone. Really goes to show ya how taking a leap of faith is sometimes all you need to start living into your potential. However, it is far from easy. There is a lot of self-doubt I have to fight every day. I have quite a lot of battles ahead of me yet in finding out how to exist in this life and to do it well. One of these battles is loneliness, which has plagued me for a long time. I figured I would share a little bit of that with you, if that’s all right. If not, feel free to get back to your Facebook inspirational posts, your Snapchat comedy feeds, and your Instagram “perfect vacation/life” photos.

A lot of my loneliness comes from my introverted nature. Any crowd bigger than six, and I feel lost…maybe that’s an exaggeration. I feel like in that large of a group (a group of friends, mind you. I do pretty well at shows and with crowds), everyone’s voice & opinion should be heard and represented, and so I keep my mouth shut and listen. The only one whose voice isn’t represented then is mine. I also am a huge empath. When I am with people, I feel their emotions and what they are going through, whether or not they vocally acknowledge these things. In a lot of ways, it is a great gift; It helps me understand their situation, gives me insight on how to effectively be with them during that time…it’s actually one of the main inspirations for my music and how I write, by feeling the emotions and energy around me and creating music from it. It’s also why it’s so hard for me to write on my own, as all I have to go on are my own emotions (and it’s hard to decipher those). I also end up taking on others’ emotions as my own, and differentiating them from what I am feeling is extremely difficult at times.

On a more physical level, it’s been 6 years since I moved from Illinois to Minnesota. I’m away from my family, which is a constant hardship for me (which is why I call my mom every couple days or so. Sorry Mom! Love you, though). It’s also really hard when you are doing life on your own. This last year, I chose to move into a place by myself. It’s been really wonderful in a lot of ways; going home to a house filled with introvert energy, feeling a little more adult. However, it also makes it so much easier to be by myself and to feel like “no one wants to hang out with me, so I’ll just be by myself until someone calls”. Add in that physical touch and quality time are tied as my top love language (if you are curious about what yours is, take the test here!), and the fact that most of my friends are all married…you get a constant feeling of being alone.

Now, rationally, I know I’m not alone; I know I can go visit my family, which I do every summer and winter I know my friends care about me a whole bunch. I know that people enjoy my company, and that my opinion matters. However, that’s the thing with loneliness…or maybe, that’s the thing with being depressed: the rational makes sense, yet you choose the senseless because it FEELS more real. Feelings are our best strength as humans, yet, are our biggest weakness as well. Feelings are beautiful and wonderful (love, happiness, joy) but are also terrible and cruel (sadness, loneliness, anger, frustration, jealousy, etc). Notice how I listed more terrible feelings than sad. I know I can be happy, and I know that with all the wonderful friends in my life, my family, pursuing music as my passion and career, I SHOULD be happy. But I’m not, because I let those other feelings control my thoughts. Sometimes, you have to be lonely or angry. That’s just a part of being human, and it’s important to embrace these feelings. It’s when they control you that it becomes ugly and twisted. And truly, all of those ugly emotions stem from one evil: fear. “I’m afraid of being alone”. Loneliness. “I’m afraid of not being good enough”. Frustration. “I’m afraid I’m not happy with where I’m at.” Jealousy. See the pattern?

This feeling of loneliness isn’t an overnight fix. It’s going to take me awhile, much like my recent career choice to become purely freelance with music. I know that at the end of it though, if I just stick to it every day, I’ll be able to control this feeling. Hopefully, I can find a way to write music about it even (do you ever wonder what loneliness sounds like? I feel like it’s an emotion music hasn’t been able to tell well…yet). For now, I sit here writing this a little lonely…and maybe for now that’s a good thing…because tomorrow, I’m going to call my mom. I’m going to play music and work my butt off on an old classical etude, maybe start writing something without another’s emotions.  I’m going to call my friends and see how they are doing, maybe see if they’d want to come over. It’s not an ideal state of being, but maybe it’s my state of being…and maybe it can be a good thing.

Anyway, those are my thoughts at the moment. I hope you enjoyed reading about them. If you want, you can listen to the new album I put out a couple months ago and feel some of what I’m talking about through that by clicking this link. It’s amazing how I started recording this album two years ago, and it feels like I’m still living in it’s story. If you want another’s perspective on anxiety/depression/loneliness, Patrick Donnelly at the StarTribune wrote a wonderful piece about his struggles just the other day, and you can read it here.

I’ll try to be a little more musical in the next post (hopefully going to start posting some more videos on Instagram). Until then, friends, take care of yourselves…and that really is the least of it.



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