Thoughts on Loneliness by a very lonely man, Richard Bleil
The furniture I’ve purchased for my new house has been arriving recently. It’s a slow process; many pieces were delivered last week, today I received a few more, and several major pieces have been delayed. Tomorrow, my main bed is scheduled to arrive (I’m sleeping on what will eventually be my guest bed), but the bedroom furniture I purchased with it has already arrived. Among the pieces is a six-drawer dresser which I have already been using, but I only use the right three drawers leaving the left three empty.
This is my habit. I often feel like the loneliest man in the world. All I’ve ever really wanted is to be with a woman that I love, and who loves me, but aside from two years spent with a narcissistic wife, I’ve been alone my entire life, and I’ve felt it. My fifty-seventh holiday season is neigh upon us, and again, I’m feeling it. Unfortunately, although I’ve spent so long alone, I’ve also groomed habits for if I should find that special woman, small things that I have done my entire life such as leaving half of the dresser drawers empty for a woman who does not exist, and likely never will.
I do stupid things like putting down the toilet seat. Yes, it’s a habit developed by a lonely man doing it for nobody. I developed skills like cooking, cleaning, and even sewing along with the usual manly man yard work and home repairs, but let’s be honest about this; without these skills, I would have been dead a long time ago. All of these skills and habits housed in a little man living alone in a cold, dark house large enough for an entire family, but it’s a family that will never exist.
No doubt, I’ve already lost readers in these few paragraphs who have dismissed this post as a pity party. Maybe I can save it, though, because I recently had an awakening to the fact that there are far more of us than I even thought. My friend who sells insurance told me recently about how sad, and common, it is for her to be helping a client fill out paperwork stumble on naming a beneficiary. Frequently, she tells me, they’ll cast their eyes downwards, think for a minute and simply respond, “can I do that later?”
That’s me. I have no wife to take care of on my death, no children for an inheritance even if one existed. For me, “can I name my beneficiaries later” is code for “I have nobody in my life.” An army of lonely men and women, surviving life without really living it, all of us wishing for somebody who we’ve written off as non-existent. And, more good news, we’re all about to go into the holiday season.
I have several friends who don’t, and cannot, understand why I really don’t like Christmas. Even growing up, Christmas for me was sitting alone in a dark living room crying as I looked at the lit-up tree as the rest of the family were in the family room visiting with neighbors and friends. Nothing is as lonely as loneliness around people. In the few years that I had a loved one, and children, with whom to celebrate, I adored the Christmas season, but those years have been too few and far too far between.
And please don’t misunderstand. I don’t want to ruin Christmas for anybody. Hell is a very private place that nobody would want to inflict on others. This is why I don’t go anywhere for the holidays. I do get invitations, periodically, for Thanksgiving, Christmas eve or Christmas, New Years or what have you, but I can’t go. Being lonely alone is bad enough, but to see others with their families, spouses, and loved ones makes me feel all the more isolated and alone.
This is why so many of us don’t like the holiday season, a season that starts ever earlier each year extending the pain. It’s not the holiday, but rather it’s the reminder of my situation that hurts so very much. When I try to politely decline invitations with lame excuses of being busy, my hopes are that my friends will understand the subtext of not wanting to ruin their holidays, and not wanting to be alone in their presence and allow me the simple dignity of bowing out gracefully. When I’m pressed, it just makes it so much worse. I know their hearts are in the right place, and I truly love them all for their concern and attempts to reach out to me, but frankly, I’m just going to curl up and cry. Starting right now.