Loneliness

On Monday, my college advisor called me with information about a job, as well as to ask me if I wanted to see a show in New York that night for free with the current theatre kids. Um, YES. He’s actually invited me on a similar trip a few weeks ago, but I had to work that night. But Monday night, I was free, and so was the trip, so I was definitely going to be there. It felt so great to have him say, “Then come home and come with us.”

But home wasn’t exactly as I imagined it. I got there early and had a nice chat with my advisor, but when I got on the bus, there was only one person there (out of the admitted few, at that time) that I knew. I started panicking- what if I had no one to eat dinner with? Obviously my advisor would let me eat with the faculty, but I didn’t want to be included by default. Thankfully, it wasn’t long before my friends showed up.

Because of the hurricane, the Holland Tunnel was closed, meaning that EVERYONE had to go through the Lincoln Tunnel, causing us to be stuck in traffic for hours. We had left at four, figuring, as usually happened when we took these trips, that we’d be in the city by six thirty at the latest and have time for dinner. This meant that, sitting in traffic at 7:15, we were all very, very hungry and it was pretty much guaranteed that we wouldn’t have time to get food.

We didn’t, really. We arrived at the theatre at 7:45 for an eight o’clock show, and there was a bar in the lobby where I bought an apple for a dollar and wolfed it down before going into the auditorium. The show we saw was called Wild With Happy, at the Public Theatre. What I love about the shows the department takes us to see is that they’re not ones any of us would ever take ourselves to see, but they’re always good. It wasn’t a perfect show, but it was really, really good and the acting was phenomenal. We met the actors afterward because my advisor knew two of the four actors (some of us had met one of them two years ago when we saw her on Broadway), which was cool; they were really nice. And then we piled on the bus back home, stopping at a rest stop on the way and making all the Burger King employees hate us because we all rushed in right as they were about to close and were the only ones still open.

It was on the bus ride home that I started to feel out of sorts. I wanted to cry. Actually, I guess it started in the lobby waiting for the actors to come out. Again it hit me how many of the people around me I didn’t know, and how my friends were now friends with these people and saw them more often than they saw me and so were most definitely creating memories with them every day while they saw me maybe once a month. This feeling carried over onto the bus, where, even though I was chatting with my friends and my advisor, I was constantly reminded just by being there that I was not one of them anymore, and that made me feel unbelievably sad. My advisor noticed me looking very downcast and asked what was up. I told him I was thinking about post-graduate life. “Hard?” he asked. “Yes.” He assured me, in the least condescending way possible, that this was the way it was supposed to be, or rather, the way it normally is. “The struggle is part of it.” He also added, for the acting side of it, that he wouldn’t teach it if he didn’t think there was hope of a career in it for his students. “I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night.”

I appreciated this talk very much, but it didn’t really help me much. I appreciate that the struggle is part of it, but that doesn’t make it much easier. Especially since, to be honest, the whole acting thing isn’t really the big issue here. The big issue, as Jess helped me figure out on the ride up, is that I am lonely. I am intensely, desperately lonely. Now I know why Kara, who graduated a year earlier than I did, told me never to live alone as she did when she first left school. I live with three people and I still feel very alone most of the time. Part of it comes from the fact that I am not particularly close with any of my roommates. I like them all, no doubt about it, but I’m just getting to know two of them and the one that I do know well, I’m too shy to pursue a deeper relationship, and would have to be very cautious about doing so anyway because he has a girlfriend. I also have a very different schedule than they do, so I’m not much in the apartment will all of them, and again, I’m too shy to actually try to begin any sort of complex friendship with any of them (I fully believe that I have never made a friend in my entire life. They’ve always made me.)

I don’t know what to do about any of this, and I don’t know if anything can be done. I’m sure this is common and it will eventually run its course, but right now, when I am feeling lonely and angsty and emotional, it feels pretty permanent.

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