Loneliness is one of the hardest things. I have friends I talk to everyday, but it’s not like someone being here with you. I knew when I moved to Vermont I would be lonely this far from home, but I thought I could handle it. I know I will deal with it, but it still brings on a major sadness.

When I first moved to Mississippi in 2000 for graduate school, I was lonely then too, but that loneliness lasted only from the time I moved until classes started. I quickly found friends and had people to hang out with on a regular basis.  Yes, there were still lonely times, but I handled it because I knew my friends were close by.

Here, it is different. I have friends at work. But beyond work, they have families and I understand that. They have their own lives and their own things to do. While l enjoy living close to the museum, I’ve considered moving to a more active town. I could live in Burlington and have an hour drive to work, or I could live in Montpelier which is only 15 minutes away.

I don’t think those moves would actually relieve my loneliness though. Plus, it would mean driving more each day, something I don’t want to do. You see, when I first moved to Mississippi, driving alleviated some of my loneliness. It took my mind off of being lonely. Driving doesn’t have the same relief it used to have.

When my friend died in a car wreck, driving long distances especially in Vermont where nearly all roads are through mountainous terrain, my anxiety rises considerably. I’ve tried driving around on Saturdays or Sundays, but at some point the anxiety usually strikes. Its severity is lessening over time, though, as I try to face my fears.

I know people are going to suggest I join some organization or another and meet new people. That however, is easier said than done. I am a shy person. It takes me time to warm up to people. That makes people think I am standoffish. I get nervous and I try, but I’m just not very good with people I don’t know.

When you are single, I guess loneliness is part of life. It will get better as I get used to being alone again. Honestly, I just wish I could go home more than once a year. It might also help if I had my cats with me. At least my cats would provide me with some companionship.

In the immortal words of Britney Spears:

My loneliness is killing me (and I)
I must confess, I still believe (still believe)
When I’m not with you I lose my mind
Give me a sign
Hit me, baby, one more time

About Joe

I began my life in the South and for five years lived as a closeted teacher, but am now making a new life for myself as an oral historian in New England. I think my life will work out the way it was always meant to be. That doesn't mean there won't be ups and downs; that's all part of life. It means I just have to be patient. I feel like October 7, 2015 is my new birthday. It's a beginning filled with great hope. It's a second chance to live my life…not anyone else's. My profile picture is "David and Me," 2001 painting by artist Steve Walker. It happens to be one of my favorite modern gay art pieces. View all posts by Joe

One response to “Loneliness

  • jchenthecolumnist

    Britney was a favourite of mine when I was a child, Joe. Although I’ll have to admit I’ve fallen away from her fanbase (and replaced it with artists like Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande and the likes), that lyrics still resonates with me as a 23-year-old who now attends UC Berkeley.

    Oh, and don’t worry: I am very familiar with feelings of loneliness too. I am also very much single and chaste, and yes, I’m a fellow queer Christian, and I also have cerebral palsy. Glad to meet you sir. 🙂

    Feel free to e-mail me back, or Facebook message me. http://facebook.com/josh.chen25

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