I genuinely feel like, at the end of the day, you come into and out of this world by yourself. It's not a stupid thing to carry that thought into caring for yourself and live with the understanding that you have only yourself to rely on when it comes down to it. It doesn't mean I don't get lonely.
I remember this strange conversation during school about loneliness. We were chatting about "husbands" (her word, not mine!) and the feeling of comfort some have that they are married. I questioned that line of thinking with, "At the end of the day, if he decides to take off and leave you with 5 kids, a jungle gym payment and nothing but a box of mac and cheese, then where do you get your comfort?" Looking back, it sounded very lioness: like I had stalked being lonely and slayed it for dinner. I was too tough to be lonely. I didn't care enough to feel loneliness. Only peasants felt loneliness and obvi! I couldn't admit it existed.
I hate feeling that way and hate feeling like I'm not tough enough to figure it out. Having anxiety usually means you miss out on a lot and spend a pretty substantial amount of time by yourself. Sometimes this feels like applying aloe to a sunburn and other times it's pretty awful. In those moments (which are pretty infrequent in my old age of 26), I just wish that I could walk into the bank without driving right past it, without having to go home and tell myself: "We'll try again tomorrow." But, SPOILER ALERT! Marriage didn't cure my social anxiety. Marriage doesn't guarantee a perfect life. Everyone assumes that my life is "easier" now that I'm married, but as my other half/best friend points out, "Now you have to worry about not screwing it up!" Either way, loneliness to me is not having people around you that "get" it. I'm not sure if the general population agrees with this or not, but apparently the best place to figure it out is at Arnie's.
If you are not familiar, Arnie's is a bar and grille dangerously close to the university. Arnie's, on a Saturday night, is so packed that it's amazing anyone ever moves to do anything, as I'm not sure I've ever witnessed anyone blink, breathe or talk during the duration of their visit. Now, one would think that Arnie's had something to offer. Well? No. The architecture is more impressive in a K-Mart bathroom, their drink selection rides heavily on domestic beers (only), they almost always run out of something, there's never enough bartenders and the lines to the bathroom easily take you 30 minutes to navigate. Have I mentioned that I've never seen a chair? The patronage is strangely homogenized as it seems as though 300 people all magically planned to wear the same thing, without being a legitimate flash mob. And they aren't necessarily friendly, as you must subscribe to their culture's idea of recreation, fashion and social customs; otherwise, you are immediately tagged as a suspicious outsider and stink-eyed.
I once read that Facebook is becoming what neighborhoods were in the 50's: all about keeping up with your neighbors, except now, Facebook makes it easier to paint a beautiful picture of your life for your contemporaries. I could infer Arnie's mimics this notion of see and be seen. Testing my theory of loneliness here was disappointing. No one was talking, just wearing sunglasses inside and strangely dancing as much as they could without hitting the person next to them (think frozen, half-torso-waddling penguins). No one seemed to be interacting at all. I think they would've talked more if they were all on Facebook at the same time (maybe they were....). But could this be their way to connect? To go to a place with so many people that look like them, talk like them, move like them, wear the same graphic tee and pretend to/actually have a fantastic time? Is that what cures the masses loneliness: finding and penguin-dancing with your doppelganger? There has to be a legitimate reason why so many people will drink horrible beer and wait in line for it for hours, unless I'm not aware of a free car wash they are all bribed with. Maybe they were all drunk.
That just doesn't work for me. Arnie's made me feel more alone than I did before. I blame the fedora, but I even think walking in there in a cocktail dress, stilettos and a spray tan wouldn't really make a difference. Marriage didn't solve all my problems (weird!), I didn't slaughter loneliness in grad school with my feminist ethos and I don't really think that's the point. I can either figure out a way to morph into another life form, or find other people that understand that life is complicated, that you can still be happy if you're unhappy sometimes, that life isn't a perfectly manicured set of toes, lawns or sideburns, and being around people that pretend there isn't anything wrong will make you feel pretty lonely all the time because then you have to question if you're the only one that can't go into public places sometimes without a Xanax or friend. Then you question if there's something wrong with you and if you're the only weirdo on earth.
I am, frankly, thankful that I've met other weirdos. They make patronizing Arnie's humorous, have no problem walking into a restaurant first and, somehow, make being married pretty fantastic.