A friend and I grabbed lunch downtown today; she ordered a grilled cheese sandwich with a side of pasta salad and I asked for a house salad with some fried tofu.
We were meeting up with an old coworker of ours — a spirited and adventurous gal who made a bold career move after spending nearly two decades in the same office — and after catching up on each other’s adventures, we all said goodbye.
My friend and I walked to her car quickly, needing to report back to corporate by 2 PM for a shared meeting. I remember the sun warming my skin and the wind shaking the trees.
“How was the grilled cheese?” I asked her.
“Nice… I’ll have to try one next time.”
“You’re navigating, right?” she asked, closing the door.
“Yep! I know my downtown,” I boasted, warming both of my hands with a to-go latte. I could feel her grinning.
We turned left here and then I directed her to go right there. She inched forward, trying to see around a truck, while I thanked the universe for the flavor caramel.
“Can’t really seeeeeeeeeeeeeeee… don’t know if we’re gonna make ittttttttt,” she sang out, continuing to edge forward.
“Eh, it’s alright… I’m ready to go,” I replied, taking another (final?) sip.
She completed the turn (without incident) and then laughed sadly. “Wow, Jace…”
“Yeah. I really am, though!” I laughed, much more lightheartedly. Because being ready to die basically exempts you from the fear of dying, you know? So go ME!
Ohhhhhhhhhh depression; we’ve been riding a tandem bike for years now, haven’t we? Always dissecting you — peeling back layer after layer via meditation and writing and music and free therapy sessions with my friend from the car ride, but you just NEVER go away — not all of the way, anyways. You’re adhesive, like a sticker, and thick as a shadow.
You’re like this endless ride — with exhilarating highs and soul-crushing lows and then some deceptively even patches here and there that make me feel like the world and this existence are finally going to level out on me… and the very worst part is that I never know when the great descent is going to start back up again, OR when it’s going to let up, because there’s not an exact pattern or science to this thing (high –> low –> normal); it’s all scattered and stupidly unpredictable, as well as viscerally corrosive.
But this I know: One of the biggest (and most loyal) contributors to my depression — dating back to a few years ago now — is my deep and sustained sense of loneliness. So here goes psychoanalyzing that:
Why are you lonely? Because I don’t have a companion.
But you have friends, right? Yeah, but not a companion. It’s way different.
What is a companion? A life partner — that ultimate, sole somebody who’s 100% got your back. They’re your greatest confidant — basically, an extension of yourself; somebody you can invest in, count on, fall backwards into, and adventure through life with. They are a nearly-perfect complement; a sweet comfort; a warm home.
Why can’t you be your own best confidant — your own warm home? Ohhhhhh shut up. You’re obviously CLUELESS.
So that’s how that goes. But what do you do when you’re companion-less? Really? I’m actually asking you, reader. I think that many of us end up settling (at least short-term) for lesser companions… and by lesser companions, I don’t mean less valuable or talented or lovely humans than ourselves, because those don’t exist; I mean, not-really-the-right-fit-for-us humans…
I believe that we become so lonely that the first hint of a spark renders us branded to an individual who just doesn’t really mesh with who we are. You know what I mean?
The guy I dated back in February was like that — really sweet, really smart, and well-mannered (now I’m thinking about German Shepherds)… but there was no real spark there. No soul kindling. No profound shift in my alignment when I saw him or spoke with him or held his hand.
And then, when I met a guy who did ignite a spark/nudge at my soul/rattle my alignment a little (more than a month later), I told him – via text (DUMB) – that I liked-him-liked-him after performing a Backstreet Boys song and drinking one-too-many hard ciders at a gig (aka ONE hard cider) and was then left wondering whether or not he felt the same way (as it stands, I still don’t know, so I’m assuming no). Bummer, right? Really puts a dent in one’s self-worth; like: Why am I not interesting or pretty or cool enough for you? What am I fundamentally MISSING that makes me so “other” from everyone else… so bleh and ehhhhh and take-it-or-leave-it-but-better-just-leave-it?
So back to my (revised) original question: If you refuse to settle, what should you do when you’re companion-less and don’t wanna be?
My car friend recommends god, and while I’m warming up to the idea of some kinda entity (or entities) being out there because of amazing shit like love and music and rabbits and the wind, I’m not ready to subscribe to a god.
Several friends suggest antidepressants. I (personally) refuse to alter my biological makeup, fucked up as it is. I want to be authentically me, even if that means super authentically depressed.
And then OTHER friends of mine cope w/their loneliness with drugs, alcohol, and meaningless hookups… but I just can’t. The recent tour a friend gave me of Tinder (how it works, and how to market yourself) brooooooke my heart — I can’t possibly be a part of that. So I’ll just continue cuddling my stuffed rabbit, Governess, and popping melatonin-infused chocolate candies on restless nights.
So what, then? What the frickin’ WHAT? What other options are there? Because as of right now, I imagine the rest of my life playing out like this:
- Fighting for the humane treatment of animals (and mending a broken heart every time I pass a dead rabbit in the road)
- Campaigning for social justice (while staving off contempt slash hatred for racist and sexist assholes)
- Learning Spanish (so I can get even more worked up over how much I can’t stand racists)
- Drinking lattes in cafes (alone… people-watching old and new couples and the young people with such promise)
- Writing inspiringly sad but redemptive books and entirely sad songs (about old loves, lost loves, and never-gonna-be loves)
- Going on solo adventures to other states and countries (and wishing I had someone to share that wonderful meal or magical view with)
- Lessening the suffering of and empowering the people around me (while doing my very cherry best to maintain my own sense of sanity and to hold together this hopeful, breaking heart)
And it just sounds exhausting. Doesn’t it? This earth world is so harsh and heartless… and so bleak! Without a solid shoulder to lean on, or a bonded soul to rely on, it’s just a real fucking lot to bear.
So… your thoughts?