I tried to fall asleep at 4:15 am. Racing thoughts crowded my mind and clutched my heart. I sobbed. Pain. Loneliness. It hurts. I decided to get out of bed at 4:45 am. I boiled water in my tea kettle. Now a Lipton tea bag is steeping inside my favorite china cup— from the set my grandmother gave to me so many years ago. My husband is sleeping. I have no one to talk to or with. I am still alone. Always. Sometimes this journal seems to be my only true friend. A friend who is interested in me and my life. A friend who pays attention when I speak. A friend who lets me pour my heart out without becoming defensive, judgemental, or asking me to stop talking or simply ignoring me as I speak— as if I weren’t actually standing there saying something. A friend who allows me to feel like I matter, that what I think and feel is important and should be heard and cared about. I am so casually brushed aside by the busy people of the world. Even when they’re not busy, they’re still too busy to have time for me.
For most of my life, I have walked alone and to the beat of a different drummer. Most people do not even begin to understand this, nor do they take the time to ask what matters to me, what do I want to do in life. No, they don’t want to ask about me, they want to tell about themselves. I am expected to listen to them, understand them, and help them. Then, when it’s my turn to speak… the conversation is over. How long can this go on? How long can I bear having this knot in my chest that will not loosen?
The one time in my life that I can presently remember not feeling this way was from January through May of this year. That is when I was enrolled in college and taking two classes. I was truly happy for those four months. Even if none of my family or friends had time for me… other people did. Especially my teachers and classmates. They were interested in me and my abilities. They praised me and paid attention to me. It’s been downhill since May. Once again, I’m isolated. The things I accomplish are meaningless to me. They bring no joy into my life. Checklists. Endless checklists of tasks to complete that anyone could do. They’re not special or important. I don’t like them. This is my life and I don’t like it. I despise two activities in this world ~ cooking and cleaning ~ and these are my two main daily tasks. I hate them. I hate doing them. I would gladly pay someone to do them for me so I could do something I enjoy and am interested in doing. I feel cheated somehow. This was not my plan for life. How did I come to this? Where did I go wrong? I have no life to call my own. I live in the shadows of other people’s lives. I’m suffocating. It’s too dark where the sun doesn’t beam. Here and there I may catch a chance ray momentarily, but I cannot thrive on stray glimmers of glory. Dull. Boring. Senseless. Meaningless. Purposeless.
People assume they know me. They do not. They only know their version of me. They don’t seem to want to know my version of myself. I like my version because it is really me. So why then is it so supremely difficult for anyone to comprehend my version? Because they simply never ask what my version is. And if they have asked and they know, they choose not to accept it and continue to label me in the terms and roles they want to see me in. I’m just sick of it. I don’t want these roles. If they ever truly listened to me while I was speaking with them, they would know this. That’s how I know they don’t hear me. My words fall upon deaf ears.
I am alone. In a crowded room, I am alone. I am not the most important person in the world to anyone… and it hurts because I want to be, I try to be, and still I do not succeed. Maybe this makes me the least important person in the world to everyone. I wish I had someone to talk to. Someone who cared about me first, and not last.
©1994 JoAnn Brown