Saturday, October 10, 2015
There is a massive difference between being alone and feeling lonely. Sure, they conjure up images of the same sort of thing, but sitting here at my desk in one of the largest cities in the world, surrounded by people, voices, music and sirens, I can't help but feel lonely.
During a recent conversation the other day, I realised that I have always felt lonely, maybe even alone, for the greater part of my life. I guess this could easily be one of those moments of self pity for the "poor little gay boy". It's not. Reality is though, unlike religion, race, culture or even national identity, being gay is something that you need to hide until you gain the courage to "come out" to everyone, and then the guilt sets in. Not about you, but about all those you have somehow "hurt" with this revelation. And so that lonely journey continues in the hope to find your "people", your place of acceptance. If only it were that easy, if only.
My loneliness seemed to become more heightened when I so called, "discovered" my people. I found myself in the middle of drugs, partying, sex and a need to supposedly show the world who I REALLY am. I didn't like it at all. There were the labels, labels for clothes that needed to be worn, labels for certain friends and of course the label for YOU. Think, Bear, Active, Passive, Muscle, Twink, it seemed to never end and to say I was confused, well, if I thought my sexuality had confused me, this was like being thrown into the spinning cycle of all confusion. How did a good (and somewhat religious) boy from a small Australian city with strong morals, overcome this life of debauchery? I did. We all did.
But the loneliness remained.
Many years later and on another continent, I came to learn of a word in Portuguese that means both alone and lonely, Sozinho. This word seems to roll so effortlessly off my lips and for some reason makes me think of taking nap, a Sozinho if you like. It is also a word that I learnt early on in my time in Brazil, a word that would come to embody exactly how I was and am feeling on more than the odd occasion. A word that sadly, seems to be all to common these days in the age of communication and all things social media. A word that is all to often glossed over by fake smiles, poses and über important status updates reminding the world on how "truly" happy, blessed and grateful you are. Connected, and yet disconnected beyond belief.
Like all things in life, we learn to adjust and adapt to situations, people and relationships. I guess that loneliness can also be one of these things that needs adaption, maybe it's just a state of mind. Maybe there is so much emphasis placed on finding "the one", or being apart of a group that in reality, a bit of alone time is just what everyone needs? Either way, as time goes on and I learn, I am slowly starting to see that my "loneliness" may in fact be my destiny and that turning it into being alone and content with myself, could possibly be the greatest lesson I have learnt. In fact I know it is.
Sozinho, não solitário.