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Only The Lonely: A Moment With Bill Reflection
“Only the lonely
Only the lonely (dum-dum-dum-dumdy-doo-wah)
Know the way I feel tonight (ooh-yay-yay-yay-yeah)
Only the lonely (dum-dum-dum-dumdy-doo-wah)
Know this feelin' ain't right (dum-dum-dum-dumdy-doo-wah)
There goes my baby
There goes my heart
They're gone forever
So far apart
But only the lonely
Only the lonely”
A Clinical Description
The psychological definition of loneliness is:
Loneliness is a feeling of social disconnectedness in which a person wishs that he or she had better social relationships.
All well and good, but anyone who has ever experienced loneliness, and I’m guessing that includes a huge proportion of our population, knows there is nothing clinical about it. Loneliness, although a psychological and emotional disorder, can have an almost physical pain associated with it. It can, in fact, become crippling, and from my observations over these past sixty-five years, I believe loneliness is increasing in modern society.
Causes and Consequences of Loneliness
According to research done by the University of Chicago, loneliness has many causes. Some are connected to genetics. Other factors can be physical isolation, the death of a loved one, divorce, low self-esteem, lack of confidence and even fear based on the loss of friendships in the past.
The consequences of advanced loneliness might surprise you. Negative effects attributed to loneliness include depression, suicide, cardiovascular disease and stroke, increased stress levels, antisocial behavior, poor decision-making, alcoholism and drug abuse and even decreased memory and learning.
That is the black and white of it; mere words to describe something in a clinical manner. I have my own words to describe loneliness, so if you would like, follow along with me in a free-form description of this common ailment. This is, by the way, an excerpt from my not-yet-finished novel……
I love Ted Talks
The Beatles understood
Only the Lonely Will Understand
316 million people in the United States. Well actually, if we are splitting hairs, there are 316,927,064…oops, 065….oops, 066….one new birth every eight seconds; one new death every twelve seconds….new pilgrims joining on the march to randomness, confusion, happiness, misery, despair, elation and on and on we go, Schmo, and where it stops, nobody knows.
316 million plus, and how many of them….how many of you…are lonely? Can I see the hands? A couple of you? Well you’ll notice my hand is raised high, high, higher than Moe on 4th Avenue after a three-day long run with the white powder and I’m not talking flour, Jack, and that’s a fact there are so many of us out there, 316 million people and somehow, someway, some of us manage to feel isolated and hopelessly alone.
How can that happen? We squirt out of the womb, push, push, one big push, and from that moment on we are fed, diapered, cleaned up, snuggled and endowed with warm fuzzies through childhood. Then we step out into the big, dark, mean world, and the population density squeezes our cajones until we can barely breathe, unless of course we ride horses in Kansas or raise corn in Iowa and then we really are alone, right, with our John Deere and our walkman cranking out the tunes while we till another field and pray for just the right amount of rain….
And when the rain comes, they run and hide their heads, they might as well be dead, and that’s the whole point, right, when you’re lonely it feels like being dead one little part of your anatomy at a time. Oops, just lost a finger; there goes a toe, where the hell did my nose go to, damn that loneliness, it’s eating me alive. Alive you are but it’s bleak, man, it’s oh so bleak, and the problem…the sixty-thousand dollar bonus problem, is that we really have nobody to blame for it all but ourselves.
I’ve pushed and shoved good souls away. I’ve closed the door, strengthened the walls, pulled up the drawbridge and triple locked all the lockables, all to keep people away, away, got to keep them away, because nearness means pain my friends, and pain must be avoided, right, we all avoid pain and why not? What level-headed person in control of most of his faculties would not want to avoid gut-wrenching, rip-your-innards out pain that runs so deep it makes the Mariana Trench look like a sand trap at Pebble Beach? Show me the plus side of pain and I’ll sign on the dotted line my friends, but until then the moat is teeming with alligators and there is no way you can get inside my heart without an express invitation.
And therein lies the problem. Am I right? You know I am! To avoid the pain of rejection…to avoid the pain of heartbreak…we must embrace the pain of loneliness. What kind of duplicitous shit is that? Where is the win in that situation? Give up any chance of love because love hurts, right? Just ask Nazareth for the truth in that statement. Love hurts! Anybody paying attention knows that you get stung in love. Loved ones go away, man, they go away. They hit the highway and head east and never look back, or they hit the highway and head to heaven, head to hell, and leave you here slobbering like a kid holding a dead dog, so no way, no how, am I setting myself up for that sucker play.
And so I’m lonely, and only the lonely would understand the comfort one finds in being insulated from the worst pain of all, the pain of losing love and dammit all, man, been there, done that and wrote the bestseller and trust me when I say there will be no sequel.
So it all boils down to us and the choice….THE CHOICE….what are we going to do? Continue to live like sardines in a tin box, sitting in some smelly shit but safely protected from emotional agony, or are we going to open the doors, open the windows, open the doggie door, peek out, slink out, venture into the big, bad, scary world and what? And what?
Take a chance….on…..love!
Are you lonely?
And so We Do What?
We are such fragile creatures we human beings. Held together, physically, by muscle, bone, ligaments and tendons; emotionally we are a patchwork of flimsy, a veritable jumble of psychological discord that threatens daily to bring us to our knees. The economy is in the tank and prospects are few and far between. War comes and war goes. Deaths happen with regularity, some unknown to us and some so very dear. Pressures built internally and we need a release valve to keep us from exploding/imploding, and for many that release valve is the companionship of friends and loved ones.
But what of those who, for whatever reason, have no friends or loved ones, or who feel isolated from those who could provide support? Where is their release valve?
316 million Americans…..7.1 billion world inhabitants…..how many out there are lonely? Do they include you? Do they include your neighbor? Your casual friend? Your loved one?
Is there anything that can be done? Is there anything that you can do? Can you reach out for help, or reach out to be of assistance?
“Eleanor Rigby, died in the church and was buried along with her name; nobody came.”
During the time it took for you to read this, I guarantee you that people have died and nobody knew of their deaths. I, for one, find that totally unacceptable.
2013 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)
“Raising awareness one person at a time.”