Are You Afraid of the Dark?

The cost of quiet is loneliness.
Part of the bed I made, so I can’t shy away from lying in it. The silence that usually feels like freedom occasionally threatens to suffocate me.
It shows up as a voice in my head screaming for something. I scroll my phone — click through streaming, podcast, and audiobook apps — searching for stimulus to shut out the nagging. Until I check my Digital Wellness app, see eight hours spent on my device, and realize that elusive thing I’ve sought all day is connection.

I used to run from that feeling. I’d throw on a decent-ish outfit, go sit in a restaurant, and take dimly lit photos of a sole wine glass or elegantly plated dinner. No caption, because even when I seek to deceive, I’m a bad liar. Just the subtle implication that my solitude is still as sexy as ever and not a trap I stormed out of my home to escape.
Lately, though, I sit with it.
Because I’m an adult who understands the cost of things. There is no brand of living that lets me off scot-free; no version where I’m never lost, sad, or alone. I remind myself that the discomfort with intimacy that drives me into myself is no better or worse than the fear of being alone that drives people toward others — just different. That every time I’m with anyone for an extended period of time, the pesky, never-satisfied voice in my head demands solitude and silence.
This is the monster under my bed. Sometimes, life requires me to crawl under there and stare it in its face.
Grab it by its neck scruff and drag it into the light so that everyone will know…
I am not afraid. At least, not of this.

4 thoughts on “Are You Afraid of the Dark?

  1. Another ace. Brava.

    Ok, my question for you is this: do you ever feel the desire, need, inclination ( don’t really know what fits here) to modify or change your decision…..or is the cyclical nature of the choice understood and therefore just charged to the game? Asking for a friend, who is me, who herself, has a habit of deciding to be ok with her choice by letting other people’s, let’s say complexities, reinforce her belief that alone is better than someone else’s ‘chaos’. It’s funny that you brought up treating oneself as a cure, because that’s the first thing I’m going to do, and then I breathe a sigh of relief into my glass of laurent-perrier, and say I would never be able to enjoy this with someone else. My cute seems a little rude compared to your. I’m always like, you wouldn’t have a moment’s peace with someone else….this coziness can not be shared.

    Depending on your answer I may blow up your comments, because this is my personal thing right here.


    • As always, thank you, dear!

      Honestly, I treat it like being married to myself. As if I’ve made a sacred vow/commitment and changing course would be as life-altering as a divorce. Not completely out of the question, but only in a “this has become unsustainable and has to end” case. The other part is that I’d have to be seduced by a flesh and blood person — not a fantasy of what it’d be like to have someone. That helps with the lonely moments because “yes, having my feet in someone’s lap would be nice right now” but changing my whole shit up for the *hope* of a needle in a haystack would be asinine.


      • I think I’m too fantastical to actually succeed the way I want to succeed in this, but what you’ve written is so succinct. The idea of being married to oneself is brilliant; I want to have that sort of commitment concerning relationships. I think I dramatize them; I’m game for the tension, for the seduction, knowing that it’s pure fantasy and no one will be able to uphold that.


    • This post resonates with me. My response to the bout of loneliness is to scroll social media. I’m supposed to be taking a break from them and deleted the apps but would you know, they work in the browser…so now I have to legitimately decide to take a pause and sit with the urge to scroll. I have other ways to pass the time and I will turn to them: reading a backlog of physical books, knitting, cooking, baking. All much more productive than mindless scrolling and shutting into the ether.
      A few months ago I got a bisalp and consider myself self partnered cuz it’s rough out there. I got a cat who I spoil rotten so he’s my companion for now and having another live being with me seems to be working.
      I will say that despite the loneliness, the prospect of having complete control over my future and not having to worry about the suitability of a potential partner as a father is freeing. I’m also letting go of the religious indoctrinations of my youth and finding purpose in my life as I want it and not in pursuit of some reward in the afterlife.

      Cheers to confronting the monsters in the shadows!!


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