Much has been said about how the lockdown must be a dream for introverts, and I have written about my sheer happiness about not having to leave my house, and not needing an excuse for not having any plans. That has all come to a bittersweet end.
While the world rejoices at the reopening of the great outdoors, I feel the familiar stirring of loneliness and it saddens me. I feel as though I have been enjoying a deep restful sleep and now the alarm has gone off. Already I have been asked by a thousand people what my plans for the bank holiday weekend was, and then asked by a million people what I did over the bank holiday weekend. I have forced to listen to my flatmates as they regaled me with tales of camping, hiking and general merriment. I have had to turn down an invitation to eat out with some of them-my small talk is reserved for the kitchen-and in a panic struggle to come up with a suitable excuse. I have seen my friends post about the fun things they got up to outside. Everyone is banging on about how lovely the weather is, and wanting to know how I will be enjoying it. I have had to revert to my lonely girl phase-smile and say oh I didn’t get up to much, I just chilled. It is depressing.
The one thing about having a national lockdown imposed upon us is that it took away the pressure of socialising and the fear of missing out, Everyone was at home, so I was not abnormal in that sense. It was no longer weird that I didn’t leave my house the whole weekend, and I no longer had to be ashamed at how empty my life was.
Still, in spite of myself I am pleased that outside is open. I know some people must have suffered greatly with having to be cooped indoors all the time, and oh how happy they must be. I wish I shared the sentiment, personally.
I foresee a resurgence of all the loneliness posts, now that outside is open again. I already bought myself a copy of Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine, and I plan on rereading that. Watch out for the sad girl posts.
You might roll your eyes and ask: why don’t you just go out and make friends? For this I have to refer to one of my favourite quotes from Olivia Laing’s The Lonely City:
“The lonelier a person gets, the less adept they become at navigating social currents. Loneliness grows around them, like mould or fur, a prophylactic that inhibits contact, no matter how badly contact is desired.”
C’est la vie, unfortunately.