I was a kid who grew up with a yaya (babysitter)—not because we were rich but because my mom figured that our lives would be more comfortable had she worked. I never wronged my parents for working too much because they provided us with a life they wish they had. We went to good schools and wore nice clothes; surely, I never complained. Read more…
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But of course, there had always been an enormous trade-off—they spent less time with us, unlike other kids whose moms would go to school every noon to bring them lunch. Admittedly, my young self was a little envious because other kids would get a variety of lunches, whereas I had to be stuck with a choice between fried chicken and barbecue from the canteen every single day. Plus, growing up, I had to do and learn a lot of things on my own, like riding a bike, opening my first bank account, doing the groceries, and falling in love.
Although they’ve made themselves readily available, having hardworking parents empowered me to be independent, strong, and able to fend for myself, and in hindsight, I’ve become this much of a street smart because of the experiences I’d done alone.
I’d likewise like to think that being independent fueled the drive to do journeys by myself, conquer places on my own. And I did—a lot of times even. It is by traveling alone that I knew and appreciated myself more than others, and I was also able to draw my perspective of the world without supervision—an image vivid and jaded at the same time.
However, while I believe it makes one a mightier person, being independent has its downsides, and the foremost I can perceive is the feeling of loneliness in its figurative sense. To me, it’s a profound consciousness that while I acknowledge entirely that I have people in my life, I’d still have a sense of incompleteness. I’ve found myself tearing up in hotel rooms lying on a bed alone, pondering if that was as best as my life could get.
The loneliness often lingers, and the sad fact is, the people I love whom I expect to supply comfort don’t seem to be of help, and worse, I expect them to return what is commensurate to what I give to them. After some time though, I’ve come to learn that the best workaround to a bout of loneliness is presence, not words. True comfort is in letting someone lonely feel that you’re there and that there’s nothing wrong with feeling lonely or unhappy.
Unfortunately, I’ve been a lot of times been denied of that feeling of comfort—by friends and even those closest to my heart. They often read that I need a solution when I just want them to be there, without even saying anything. The good thing, however, is that taking matters in my life independently has provided me some sort of ability to self-soothe and the faculty to conceal the hurt and sadness under a smile.
Some days are still a struggle with being lonely, and I could offer as much as an explanation why. But the idealist in me suggests a more long-lasting solution bigger than comfort—love. After all, it is the encompassing feeling that gives an emotional and physiological kick of happiness and comfort rolled into one, like a cure-all for loneliness and all its forms.
Therefore, loneliness, despite how negative our connotations are, can be accepted as a human cry for love. In instances I’ve felt lonely, I might just be wanting to feel loved.