Loneliness is an epidemic of the millennials. And more so for gay men – the small circle of men, who like men (compared to the rest of the world). In my case, I have been a loner all my life. I enjoy my own company. I have interesting conversations inside my head, I am authentic and true to myself, when I am by myself. When you are so used to being by yourself, and enjoy it, it takes something substantial to be okay with anything else. Watching TV by yourself, reading a book at your pace, your own playlist to listen, and even treating yourself at home or in a hotel, it is interesting (when you can dialogue with yourself and bask in self reflection).
Mind you, I am not anti-social or an introvert. When I go to a party, I would be its life. When I am with a group of friends, I connect with them all. I would even have a lot of acquaintances, about whom I would know about well. But, I would prefer to call myself a loner because all those people end up being “Out of sight, out of mind” for me. But, when I see them, it would be like they never left.
I had this feeling that I am missing out on something when I was at college, when people bonded romantically, and friendship was solid. There was a clique and gang, while I would waltz around them all, I never grounded or settled down well enough with one group. May be because I was bored easily, or I didn’t find them interesting enough. Some, I did find interesting, but I did not connect with them, or take the necessary initiative.
But then after college, I made an effort. I wanted to ground myself in one team, or hang around with my own gang, have a close buddy with whom I can share it all. I wanted a relationship with deep connection. As it turns out, the closer you get to a person, their outward masks come out. Being casual with anyone is a very practical thing to do. It is more of a coexistence. The real deal is to peal off the mask and accept the person for who they are. It takes weeks, months and even years. But when the casual becomes serious, and you have the need to see the real person, some people have monstrous faces behind a sheep’s skin.
May be then, I realized how plastic these so called “Cliques” are, the relationships are just for coexistence, a way to ward off their loneliness. An illusion to make sense of their presence in each other’s lives. Plastic promises, fake words, masked personalities. You tend to go back into the shell of your existence, because there you see true intimacy. You flaunt your flaws and you embrace being imperfect. There are no disappointments, there are no need for clarifications and closures. It would take a lot of guts, a lot of courage and power to be authentic.
I don’t blame those who wear a mask, their inner selves not accepted by themselves, they put up a facade. Out of loneliness, they are afraid of the “what ifs” if they show themselves. But only when you move close you see the sides skewed beyond a point. A Pandora’s box. On the other hand, when you enjoy your own company, you look for something meaningful. You look for real intimacy. Talks about TV shows and Buzzfeed bores you. You look to talk about “your day”, how you felt, your dreams, your aspirations, you dive deeper into the person. You want to know about the person more than anyone else, every nook and corner of their mind, and then the internal dialogues go external. The connections get deeper, the hollow co-existence, becomes deep rooted bonding.
But in today’s world, people run away from emotions, because some feel that they don’t deserve it. Some feel that they may loose it all, may be we all will one day. But it is still worth to wait by yourself until you find someone like that, than to sell yourself less, to settle for something temporary.