Cheri Lucas Rowlands/The Daily Post
Loneliness is an interesting feeling, particularly when it isn’t evident that you’re living a lonely existence.
One of my biggest blogging regrets is that I didn’t start one sooner. I have always kept journals from a young age and I have boxes that are filled with notebooks full of the ramblings of my younger self.
As an experiment I thought that it would be a fun idea to return to those notebooks for the first time in years and revisit my youth. I’ve seen quite a few inspiring posts based upon a similar concept and I invisaged that I would be able to glean some insightful content that would make me smile and remind me of happy memories of my life, experiences and of who I used to be.
I wish I hadn’t.
I have always believed myself to be content with my own company, proudly stating this on many occasions. However, what struck me about those diary entries was just how lonely I was. I have been known to rant on my little blog, but the rants that I discovered in those notebooks were of epic proportions. I hated everyone and everything. I was heavily in debt, I couldn’t afford to heat my house or eat properly and I was angry at the situation I had got myself into. Large amounts of the pages were taken up with financial charts that were designed to resolve my circumstances and pay everything off, but they never seemed to work. I was bored, I hated my job, my family, my friends. I wrote the same things again and again, and it never seemed to occur to me that I needed to change things if I wanted the situation to get better. I was man obsessed and desperate for affection – I had written about my ‘feelings’ for male acquaintances that I only have moderate recollections of now and I spent pages and pages quoting my favourite romantic movies and creating imaginary scenarios in my head where my knight in shining armour would rescue me. I wasn’t living, but merely existing, and despite being surrounded by lots of people, I felt completely and utterly alone.
There was one particular paragraph that made me stop and stare.
‘I procrastinate and talk utter sh*te to myself over and over again, making false promises to myself and those around me that I never follow through with, getting through life from day to day and not really achieving anything. At the end of each day I sit, alone, on my uncomfortable couch in a messy house watching inane programmes on the television until the early hours of the morning that only serve to make me want to believe that life is like the movies…’
Admittedly, my existing memories of that particular time weren’t great, even before I decided to read the diaries – things were tough – but to my recollection other times had been far tougher and my current recollections were nowhere near to the level that I had recorded on those pages. As I read more and more I started to become frustrated with myself at my words, my hatred, my anger. I saw those words from the point of an outsider – I wanted to jump into them, slap myself and point out all the good things that I had in my life. I had a job, a house, pets, friends and a family, however disfunctional. I had everything.
While I can look back at that period of my life through seemingly rose tinted spectacles as the person that I am now, my words told me that I was lost and unhappy and yet couldn’t give a reason as to why. I wasted so much time wanting things for my future, when I should have been living for the present. I rang my mother and told her what I had discovered, and her response put everything into perspective:
“You may not feel this way now, but you must have needed to write it down at the time, so in a way it was a positive thing for you…”
She was right, as she always is. I did need it. As my blog serves me with an outlet to vent, to talk, to discuss, so did those journals. I needed to put pen to paper and release everything into the open.
I took those pages and shredded them. Hundreds of them. And with each piece of paper that was destroyed, I told myself that I am not that person anymore.
Hopefully, I never will be again.
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