Lately, I’ve been feeling very lonely.
But it’s a loneliness that lingers even in a crowded room, enveloped by the love of friends and family.
One whose thoughts you try to suppress to stay relatively sane, yet shouts so loud inside your mind that it can’t be ignored.
A loneliness which gives way to empty laughter to conform, but a distinct sadness when alone.
It’s this loneliness that stems from the feeling of being so fundamentally different that no one seems to truly understand.
I can’t pinpoint when it all started, or why. I remember crying after watching a World Vision commercial when I was maybe 10, 11 years old. I wrote my first song on the guitar that day, about children suffering from extreme hunger and malnutrition.
My parents used to scold me for being young and naive. Precious time which could have contributed to my academic achievement was being devoted to this frivolous idea that I could even make a shred of a difference through volunteerism and my engagement with extra-curriculars. No amount of fundraisers, awareness campaigns, or petitions could compensate for the selfish nature of the world – I just had to work with the system. They didn’t understand this nonsensical passion of mine, and to be honest, I didn’t either.
Sometimes I leave my classes feeling overwhelmed. During times where I was really emotionally fragile, I’ve had to step out mid-lecture or documentary to breathe, maybe shed a few tears. The extent of human suffering that exists can seem so treacherous, that our day to day complaints can seem so incredibly insignificant.
For better or worse, over the years I’ve largely become quite desensitized to the stark inequalities of today’s world; Oh thousands of garment workers died because of our exploitative supply chain perpetuating unsafe workplaces? Typical. But still terrible. And so, so wrong. And I’m committed and driven to change this still, now with the more rational, critical mindset instead of the weak emotional responses of my youth.
I began to become disenchanted with our modern, industrial world. The jewelry no longer seemed to sparkle, the clothes no longer flowed, every mall seemed to be this one homogenized entity with robo-consumers programmed to desire useless things, to motivate to work for pieces of paper worth shit in exchange for more useless crap. Why?
Sometimes, it just seems like a lost cause. With complexities and implications that are so far reaching that even I, a lover of learning with a passion for justice, become so frustrated at the maze of issues involved.
And when it feels like every turn is a dead end, you kind of want to escape back to the joyful crowd talking with glee about the gorgeous sundress she got for $10 last week. If only to feel a little less alone in this metal yard.