As most of you know, I have been roped into a new early morning schedule ever since my grandfather accidentally broke our second car. It's not that I'm complaining about having to wake up early in the morning, that's really not a big deal at all. But, over the past week or so of having this new schedule, I have discovered just how extroverted I have become. After waking up at five-something in the morning for a week, spending half an hour driving my partner to work, and then coming home by myself to find that no one else is awake yet, I have realized just how lonely the world can get.
Day after day I have come home and hopped online to find my usually busy Discord channels completely deserted and silent. All of my closest friends are still asleep, some of them having just gone to bed, and for some reason I just get this sad, lonely feeling in my chest. It's like I've suddenly found myself stranded on a digital island, longing just to see text once again scrolling by. Does this happen to anyone else?
It's really dumb, to be honest, because I know that people are out there and would (probably) talk to me if I reached out to them. But, ironically, I'm too intimidated to do so. I think most of the lonely feelings come from the fact that all of the people I am truly comfortable with aren't knocking on my digital door.
So, recently, I have decided to try and fill that gap by browsing social media. Now that I've done this for a week straight, I can honestly say that it doesn't help at all. Maybe it's because I'm sad, but the early morning hours on Twitter seem more toxic than any other environment I find myself in. I really don't like seeing all of the political posts and drama over whatever is happening in Washington. I'm just not a political person. Rather than just whine about all of this though, I'm gonna explore it. Bear with me while I break it all down.
I feel lonely but in reality what I actually am is "lonesome." See below:
Even though I write almost constantly, it still amazes me when I find a word that exactly describes what I am feeling or going through. There is something so strangely satisfying about having a single word for what I am dealing with. It's like: "Boom, yes, that's it! I'm lonesome! Wait..." Needless to say, this joy is often short lived; but hey, it's the little things.
The first point I want to make is being lonesome is totally normal, and this goes for both introverted and extroverted people. We, as both animals and a species with higher cognitive function, are social by nature. I'm sure that most everyone will agree that feeling like you're suddenly cut off from everyone else, or that no one wants to be around you, makes you feel sad in some way. We are emotional creatures, we feel, and yes that means you too, Captain Masculine. It's okay to feel lonesome and not really know what to do about it. This article is a perfect example. I am sad and I don't know how to fix it, so I write. Coping 101.
I guess that is the best advice I could give in a situation like this. Find something healthy to do with your time and just push through. I know that makes it sound like dealing with being lonesome is simple, but it's really not. Being lonely affects all of us, no matter your age, shape, gender, size, or race. It's something that has been surveyed, studied, and dissected by professionals in several fields, the world over.
If you google "dealing with loneliness" I'm sure you will find a ton of articles about how to cope, but don't just follow internet advice blindly. Even mine may not be the best choice for you as an individual. With that being said though, I'm gonna lay down a few points that I feel might be useful to our community. Here are my personal recommendations for coping when you're feeling lonesome; and maybe writing all of this out will help me too:
Disconnect from the online world when you need to. We are all so dialled in these days thanks to social media and even more: the pandemic. Those who know me will already be aware that I take entire days away from my phone and devices because, even as someone who is extroverted by nature, I still need to recharge. I never imagined that I would consider myself an extrovert or so sharply desire the company of others. The pandemic has had an effect on all of us though, and this is just my individual result.
Take some time for self-care. Maybe it's time to finally take a peek out the window and look at the world for how beautiful it really is. You can still go outside as long as you practice social distancing and wear your mask. Fresh air might really feel good, you never know. Or, maybe it's finally time to pick up that exercise routine you've been thinking about. I know New Years was weeks ago, but it's never too late to start.
Join a new group and meet new people. I know this might not be the best option, or possibly the most terrifying, for my introverted readers. But I want to assure you that there are a ton of small, very nice communities out there that would welcome even the quietest of people with open arms. The Anthro community alone is full of Discord servers just for people who want a place to belong. The next time you see a server advertised by someone you know, or a complete stranger for the adventurous type, just jump in and say hello! If it's too much, you can always wander back out again. Never hurts to try and you might make some amazing new friends.
Pick up a new hobby or dive into an old one. Just like writing is my coping mechanism most of the time, I'm sure there is something healthy you can also do to cope. Use that alone time to practice your creative habits or dive into a new game. Maybe pick up model building or even try your hand at a new breakfast recipe (if you're stuck like I am in the early hours of the morning). The world may be quieter than usual, but it's still out there. Building your skills and expanding your knowledge is never a bad idea.
I know this isn't a ton of information, but I hope it helps. I guess the best news is that in the time it took me to write this article, several of my friends have now woken up and my Discord is humming with chat again. So hey, using the time to practice my writing and put all of my feelings out there for the world to read and judge really worked! Despite a sudden sense of renewed vulnerability and fear, I'm happy that I wrote this article. Please be nice to me I'm trying my best. XD
Anyway, I hope everyone feels better soon. The pandemic has caused so much upset in everyone's lives but I know it won't last forever. Being lonesome is never fun, but I promise there are ways to feel better. If nothing else, smile for me, because I'll smile right back. Aim high and don't be afraid to get out there.
In short: Your feelings are valid and so are you. We're gonna make it.
Thanks for reading!