Monthly Archives: May 2011

The L-Word

Even The Lonely Island has 3 people...

You know what word I never hear spoken?
Lonely.

I’m sure I could not possibly overstate the importance we all put on the l-word of love, but I was thinking the other day about the other l-word that I never hear anyone speak of.

Is it bad to be lonely? Is it worse to admit it?

In the town where I live, I have no family. I have a few friends, but we’re all busy, working, independent people, so we see each other rarely. Some of my friends have moved down here from other hometowns, so they have no family either.

Howcome we never talk about being lonely?

Is it just me?

Is it wrong? Is it somehow weak to be lonely?

I read this blog called Black Girls are Easy (written by a man, of course) and I think it’s awesome, but I noticed in it a tendency to use loneliness as part of a negative characterization of a woman (something along the lines of “now you’re at home sending lonely ass tweets about how your son is all the man you need”).

I feel like loneliness is considered a sort of weakness in our society, even unconsciously. And I say unconsciously because I really never hear loneliness come up as a part of the dialogue of people and things and events that occurs daily and constantly in my networks.

Loneliness seems, to me, to imply a sort of failure on the part of the lonely person. A failure to assimilate, a failure to form lasting and emotionally fulfilling relationships. A failure to make enough friends to constantly have someone to call and hang out with. A failure to be the person who people want to be around.

And no one wants to admit defeat. Or failure.

I wonder about women sometimes. I wonder about the women who want to be with someone so bad. I’m not saying that wanting to be with a man or wanting to have a special relationship with someone isn’t valid, but I wonder how much of that isn’t lonely. They say no man is an island, and yet here we all are, tiny peaks jutting out of an ocean of movement, business, career, focus, schedules and not wanting to be needy.

I guess in that sense, our friendships would be the bridges that connect our islands. But not everyone knows how to build bridges, not everyone has the tools, not everyone knows the math, not everyone’s island has the natural raw materials–not everyone can be reached.

To me, this life can get lonely. They tell me I need to leave the nest to fly, but what about this concept of the solo flight? Am I mistaken in not expecting my friends to fulfill for me the same emotional needs as my family? Or is my loneliness self-imposed?