Sometimes I feel so lonely that I feel frozen. Are we meant to feel this way sometimes? Is it just a part of living? Is it a part of learning that the only person we really have to depend on is ourselves?
I miss having people. I remember when I didn’t have a husband I felt terribly lonely. I remember thinking that having a husband would make everything better. My husband is my best friend. But that doesn’t take away the loneliness.
I’ve had friends in grade school and university who were like sisters to me. You know, the kinds of friends you barely part with? While in university, there was one friend I’d spend hours every day on the phone with after spending hours every day with her on campus. Her father, God rest his blessed soul, used to joke about how much we talked with each other. “When one of you goes to the toilet she calls the other to tell her about it!” he’d jest. It wasn’t far from the truth. I don’t even know where that friend is in the world today. I’m not even sure she’d want to know me now that I’ve taken off my hijab. But I miss her dearly. After university we all sort of went our different ways. A few girls in our group of friends travelled abroad. We all started families. Some of us managed to keep in touch with each other. But I haven’t heard from most of my university friends in years.
I’ve made lots of new friends throughout my working life. I’ve made lots of really really good friends throughout my working life. But then life does that thing where you don’t get to see them that often and there’s just this huge empty gap sometimes that only gets filled when you’re back into their vicinity again. I’ve made friends during all the activities I’ve involved myself in as well. My diving buddies are the ones who have stuck around the most.
But all my real friends, all my close friends are in Egypt or somewhere else in the world. And I’m in the UK.
I feel like the little child that has gone to his mommy, complaining that he can’t make friends in preschool. I feel like I need to go to my mommy to teach me how to make friends all over again.
I’m involved in several activities where I live in the UK. And I’m involving myself in more. But I haven’t managed to make a single real friendship through any of them. That fact really hit home for me today when I was at the gym. Many of the women there have been very nice to me, asking how things are with me from time to time. I do the same. One in particular has always chatted with me. I went into the changing room to find her face was red and tears were in her eyes. She was whispering with another friend who she’s known for years. When I saw her, I was naturally concerned and asked her if she was all right. She told me she wasn’t but that she really didn’t feel like talking about it. I understood. Of course I understood.
But I was suddenly reminded, for the second time this week, that I don’t have that kind of friend here in the UK. I don’t have the kind of friend who comes to me to tell me stuff. I don’t have the kind of friend who I go to to tell stuff. I have no one to call to invite out for a cup of tea or to go watch the movies with or to complain to about other friends.
I’m feeling incredibly sorry for myself. And to be frank, I’m tired of people giving me advice on what I need to do to make friends. And I really don’t want invites from people I don’t know suggesting we go out to get to know each other, although I do appreciate the sentiment.
I just really miss having people. I miss feeling like I mean something to people.
I’m trying to convince myself that this is just one of those lessons we need to learn in life. Sometimes we just don’t have people. And we need to be able to cope nevertheless. I know that I’m very fortunate. I have a loving husband. I have a loving family, although none of them lives anywhere near me. I do have lots and lots of loving friends, who also just happen not to live anywhere near me. There are people who have absolutely no one in their lives. And many of them have somehow found a way to cope. So I should be able to cope too.
I keep thinking that a day will come that I will be dying and no matter how many people might be surrounding me at the time, I will be doing it all alone. Whether I’m ready to deal with that when the time comes or not, it’s going to happen. So I might as well teach myself how to be able to do something like that with a kind of inner peace. So maybe life is teaching me a lesson. Maybe life is showing me that no matter how hard and lonely it gets, you can still keep going. Because I do. I’ll shed a few tears, of course. I might even snort, have snot running down my upper lip and turn red in the face. But then I’ll get up and go back to doing my work, cleaning the house, getting dinner made, going out for a run, training at the gym for my next challenge, or planning for my next adventure.
I’ve been working hard for many years on my physical strength. Maybe loneliness is just one of life’s lessons so we can work on our emotional strength.