Loneliness Walks With Me. ~ Tui Anderson

Via Tui Anderson
on Feb 15, 2014
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Note—I am sure I do not hold a monopoly on understanding loneliness, all I am an expert on is my version.

I understand the loneliness of losing my father as a child and wanting him to be there, to mitigate the arguments between me and my mother, to be calm and strong and safe. I understand the loneliness of having a mother who was emotionally unavailable, so close I could touch her, but not really there for anyone outside of herself. I also feel the loneliness of losing my mother and loving her completely, despite her not-so-motherliness.

I understand the loneliness of being an introvert, of not quite understanding what the other kids seemed to instinctively know—how to connect, how to just be with their peers. I understand the loneliness of spending every lunch break in the school library. I remember the loneliness of somehow, luckily, making a friend, only to have them taken away by another girl, to be their best friend instead of mine. I understand the loneliness of nervously saying completely the wrong thing, brashly, rudely, gratingly. I understand the loneliness of sitting by myself, of not having a lab partner, a project group, a sports team.

I understand the loneliness of being loved and being left. I know the exquisite pain of being told, “I love you, but it is not enough.”

I am intimately acquainted with the loneliness of loving someone so much you have to let them go, because that is what they want, and you want them to be happy.

I understand the loneliness that is heartbreak and I understand the loneliness that is the aftermath of heartbreak—the yearning to return to the warmth and love that you once knew, but is now not available.

I understand the loneliness of lying beside someone when you love them far more than they love you. I understand the loneliness of lying beside someone when they love you far more than you love them. I recognize the loneliness after telling someone you don’t want to be with them, even when you really don’t want to be with them. The torturous loneliness of still being at least a tiny bit in love with one ex or more probably two.

I also know the loneliness of watching other families. Of seeing wives and husbands greet each other at the end of the day, of seeing children rush to show their parents a new discovery. I live with the loneliness of being a favorite sister and aunt but still not really belonging to anyone. I soak in the loneliness of not being anyone’s someone.

And there is more—I live the loneliness of solo travel, of living by myself, of dining for one. Oh yes, I understand all my forms of loneliness. The loneliness that greets me in the morning, that which shines with the sun or falls with the rain. The loneliness that goes in my grocery bag, the loneliness that buys my ticket for one. The loneliness that hops into bed with me at night.

This is the counterpoint to living in Love. Because it is actually my loneliness, among other things, that pushes me to live in love and it is the love that allows me to feel, appreciate and rise above the loneliness.

Kahlil Gibran said, “The greater that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.” It is because I honor loneliness, and sorrow, and grief, and rage and all those other so-called negative emotions that I have such a capacity for love, and joy, and gratitude and forgiveness.

And so I live with my lonelinesses, allowing them to flavor my moments, allowing them to push me to live with the most intensity as possible. For better of for worse.


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Assistant Editor: Holly Horne / Editor: Bryonie Wise

Photos: martinak15, Flickr


About Tui Anderson

Tui Anderson is a traveling homebody with a busy brain and a calm soul. She accidentally became a writer after the Universe answered a frustrated question with a profound thought. In the words of one Buddhist teacher, she is a “fluffy spiritualist” who believes there are no wrong roads to happiness. You can find her on her public Facebook page. Follow in the Twittersphere @TuiFromtheHeart.


15 Responses to “Loneliness Walks With Me. ~ Tui Anderson”

  1. neroli says:

    Stunningly written and exquisitely raw lovely Tui 🙂 I just had to copy your fabulous use of the word exquisite, I forgot such a magnificent word existed! I thought i was the only one who buried myself in books to avoid the loneliness and rejection form other kids…I spent about 4 years doing that…it was a magical time even though it was painful too, much love xxxx

  2. bholdsworth7 says:

    Thank you for sharing and speaking from your heart. You put into words so many feelings I have felt but couldn't put into words. Your writing has helped along my own path of healing. Thank you again

  3. judy says:

    Thank-you! Beautiful piece of writing. Touched me greatly!!

  4. John H says:

    Thank you Tui for showing the value of loneliness. Yes, the pain is balanced by an equal capacity for joy and connection. The Gibran quote says it all. You are brave and wise to embrace the full spectrum of human existence. Maybe we are less alone after reading your words.

  5. Reneejah says:

    Beautiful honoring of what is. I connected with every single word. Thank you.

  6. Steve says:

    The cure for lonliness is solitude. We are all walking through life on our solo journeys even when we are surrounded by others.

  7. Tui Anderson says:

    Thank you everyone. I am trekking in remote Nepal, so can’t reply to all today, but know that I truly appreciate your words. For me, this was a selective focus on one aspect of my emotional experience- these are the feelings of some moments, not all moments!

  8. Melanie Waters says:

    Ah Tui, that is so beautiful and vulnerable to the core. I understand that bone aching loneliness and I totally agree with the quote “The greater that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.” Which is why I find it so easy to see and feel joy and love everywhere. When you have been so wounded, there is little you take for granted.
    I am blessed to know you personally and am honoured to call you my soul sister xox
    Love and blessing to you and keep up the writing beautiful <3

  9. Trish says:

    Tui, you could have been writing about my own journey… Why I signed up for a life of solitude is currently unknown, but looking back I guess somehow I ensured it didn't change… that I remain a single individual whom I could rely on and find my strength in that solitude. The journey isn't lonely anymore – I have learnt to love myself for who I am. I may not be with the one who mirrors and connects with my individualism in this lifetime, but that no longer worries me. Connecting to all who come into my life with love IS important to me. Namaste Tui xo

  10. Loz says:

    Tui, I never knew. Namaste

  11. I love what you guys are usually up too. This type

    of clever work and coverage! Keep up the very good

    works guys I’ve added you guys to blogroll.

  12. Jenn says:

    love love love this. Thank you for your naked thoughts. xoxoxo

  13. Tui Anderson says:

    Thank you Jenn!

  14. Linda says:

    You've described my experience to a T and (last line) given me a new perception to pay to.Thanks

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