Focusing on the people filing in and out of the box size Pizza Hut is all I can do to keep the tears at bay.It isn’t working though. Defeated, I hang my head to hide the tears that sneak their way past my defenses. I immediately erase the evidence from my cheeks, but behind the shield of my glasses, my eyes remain wet with pain. I know no one will notice; I’m in an airport. Like a train station, there’s no acknowledging here, only coming and going. I’m grateful for the lack of attention. All I want to do is get my personal pan pizza and leave. I wish I could forget this feeling behind in the pizza shop where it can reside completely unnoticed. But as I make my way to the next flight, the aching solitude remains. I try to outsmart it by taking in deep and slow breaths, but that isn’t working either. The emotions return, overwhelming my ability to control them. I suck in a mouth full of oxygen, holding it until my cheeks begin to burn and the need to breathe becomes uncomfortable. Finally, I swallow the air. It rushes down my throat carrying the threat of a breakdown with it.
There. It’s gone. For now.
The suffocating dread of loneliness overtakes me at the oddest times. One minute, I’m fine, the next I’m falling apart. Lately, this feeling has been hounding me more than usual. Like a lion stalking its prey, loneliness lies beneath the surface of everything I do on some days. It hides in the corner of my smile or just beyond the soft sparkle people see in my eyes.
Loneliness is an opportunist. It launches its attack when we think we’re safest: amidst people.
As I walked out of that Pizza Hut in the Denver Airport, I thought back to what had triggered the sudden loneliness.
My flying partner and I were talking about relationships. Typical girl stuff. I told her that I’d never had a boyfriend, and she had the same shocked reaction as everyone else. “What?!” She exclaimed turning to look at me as if I was some sort of enigma. “I’m just surprised. You’re cute and you have a great personality.” I shrugged and smiled, tickled by her confusion. I told her that I thought one reason why I’ve never dated is because I’m too deep and it pushes people away. The conversation then transitioned to the topic of marriage and divorce. I told her that I wanted to be married one day but revealed my concern about the number of marriages resulting in divorce in our culture.
“The scariest part is the uncertainty. If so many people have failed at marriage, how will I succeed?”
“Wow Celestial, you are deep! I’ve never heard a young person talk like that or acknowledge those types of things!”
“See, I told you!” I laughed. “I don’t mean to be that way, I just am, and I don’t know how to turn it off.”
“Well, as long as you’re comfortable with yourself, that’s all that matters.”
“I am.” I assured her.
And I am, but my mindset often makes me feel disconnected from others. I don’t think my ideas are novel. I know they’re different, but I don’t believe they’re difficult to grasp. When I talk to people, it’s like they’re studying me, instead of trying to understand me.
I love connecting, understanding, and seeing life through the eyes of others. However, I don’t feel connected to. There are times when I’m having conversations with people and I realize (after it’s too late) that I’ve gone off on some tangent into the depths of my thoughts. I’m always having to reel myself back in. And while people are generally intrigued by my perspective, they’re not necessarily creating a bond with me.
I’ve always been told that I’m wise for my age. It’s a compliment, yes, but I certainly don’t view myself that way. I know my mindset is different from most, but I hadn’t realized the burden that came with it.
Sometimes, I daydream about my brain having an off button. How wonderful it’d be to think of nothing. Or to have a thought without picking it apart and over analyzing its meaning.
Then, there are days when I just want to be on the same brain wave as everyone else, just so I can feel at home in the world.
But, that’s just it- I’m not made for this world.
God instructs His people to focus on the things of Heaven, not of Earth. Romans 12:2 says
“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.”
Even in my bouts of loneliness and disconnect, I am ultimately thankful for the way God has molded my perception and protected me from the deceit of this world.
We all know what it’s like to feel alone and misunderstood, but the worst disservice we can do ourselves is abandoning what makes us unique, for conformity and false acceptance. We need to use our individuality to promote God’s love in a world that’s rapidly closing in on itself.
Sometimes, we don’t know how to accept the aspects of ourselves that set us apart. That’s okay. We don’t have to know it all right away, we just have to be willing to embark on the journey to discover the unique gifts God has embedded in each of us.
The reason we often feel alienated by society is because many times, we are. Our thoughts, beliefs, and spirits are not made to connect to the carnal, but when we try to force it, we are met with rejection. Truthfully, none of us are meant for this world. God wants us all to depend on Him regarding every aspect of our lives. But, it’s a free world and God has not made us slaves. Therefore, many of us have created our own ideas and beliefs, and have decided to live our lives in ways we deem appropiate.
When we accept ourselves for who God created us to be and embrace our differences from the world, feeling out of place won’t be such a bad thing. As long as we’re in place in the eyes of God, that’s all that matters. We have to choose who we want to please and who we want to allow control over our lives.
We aren’t doing the world any favors by denying it the beauty of our authentic selves. It’s okay to cry a few tears and feel a little out of place sometimes, because truly, we are.