The Art of Loneliness
There were many layers of grief that we collectively experienced during the pandemic. Together we understood the feeling of loneliness. Some of us were in complete isolation, others experienced another form of isolation, unable to mentally and emotionally connect with the ones they shared a living space with. We looked to social media for connection, during this time we were authentically vulnerable. Some of us took this time of solitude to expand a deeper connection to ourselves. For others this state of loneliness felt normal, the pandemic did not greatly impact this feeling. Loneliness is a universal feeling, just like fear and all the other junk that weighs on the spirit. Loneliness is also a paradox, we need solitude to recharge and we need connection to survive.
The pandemic is one example of loneliness, there are countless examples of loneliness. Some that I have the privilege of not experiencing. This is my experience of loneliness:
I’ve worked independently throughout my career. Before I exclusively focused on my work I contracted as a social media manager. My interaction with the company always fluctuated, some weeks I had in person meetings back to back. Or we would host writers and have to accompany them during their visit. At times I would only touch base with my boss three or so times a month. At the beginning of my career I hadn't faced the woes of loneliness. Once my contract work came to an ending I threw myself into my work. I could feel loneliness tapping my shoulder, I ignored and kept going.
Over the years I collected a giant bowl of loneliness, I didn't realize how lonely I was until I started sorting through trauma. I spent years overlooking this feeling and came to the conclusion that I have felt this way since I was a young girl. While sorting through trauma I was able to cultivate a troupe of guides that helped to navigate through these feelings. With time I found the right therapist. For a period I was bouncing in between therapists, it felt like I was swimming in circles. Eventually I found my therapist and I’ve been seeing her for 2 ½ years. In addition to therapy I also see an acupuncturist. I believe that in order to cultivate a better well being it's important to acknowledge the spirit. Acupuncture has helped bring peace to my soul. After years of deliberation I finally sought out a psychiatrist, I needed more help. Through everything except voicing my trauma, seeking help from a psychiatrist was the hardest thing I had to do. Last fall I was diagnosed as bipolar. I spent so many years seeking help from all over trying to mend myself back together and no matter how much I helped myself I still felt like shit. Seven months later I can honestly say I feel so much relief. Do I still feel lonely? Yup. Except this time it’s different.
Previously my loneliness was a result of my trauma. Sorting through grief is isolating, so many feelings surface and it's hard to imagine anyone understanding your pain. Many would assume loneliness ends there. That's not the case. As I step further into my career feelings of loneliness grow. Working independently for so long feels like it's finally catching up. I enjoy what I do and the freedom I have, but it comes with a cost. Loneliness. With most of my work being online my perception of things gets blurry. As I look into the lives of others it's easy to assume that they live a life without loneliness. I don't doubt I've given that impression before. I'm not entirely sure how to combat loneliness. It seems that whatever stage of life you're in, feelings of isolation arise. When I’m asked how I work through these feelings it’s hard to say that I just do, because that feels insensitive. I think the only way to remedy this feeling is to actually talk about it. We've entered into this new era that has created space for vulnerability. I believe that this new space is shocking for older generations because they weren’t given the space to properly express their mental and emotional needs. As a result the new generation is often looked at as “too sensitive”. It is important to talk about these feelings because once you acknowledge it, you have the capability to improve or change it.
Like I said: Loneliness is a paradox. Let me tell you what I’ve gained through isolation. Instead of loneliness we’re going to address it as solitude. While I voyaged through the chaotic waters of my trauma I was graced with periods of solitude. I found what fed my hunger. I found my voice. I found myself. If I hadn't spent so much time alone I wouldn't have had the capacity to run with my fire. While in my state of solitude I lived without distractions. Without the influence of others I found it much easier to create boundaries that honored my well being. Things became much clearer and I was able to identify what I didn't want to bring into my career. In solitude my confidence grew and I learned to voice what I needed as an artist and as Tyana. Without influences I had the freedom to dive into my expression. The only thing that stood in my way was myself.
So what is The Art of Loneliness? The Art of Loneliness is that it is a paradox. Loneliness feels completely narrow while at the same time feeling so vast. I’m honestly not sure if there are remedies to loneliness. My remedies are unrealistic to some and that's the privilege I hold. The point of this is to share that no matter how much you mend your life together these feelings will always exist, we’re human. I want you to know that it is possible to create beauty within the chaos. I encourage you to seek professional help if that is what you need, there is no shame. You’re important and so is your well being.