“I was strong from lifting myself up constantly. And keep pushing, keep dreaming.” –Tenisha Webb
Fiction. Based on a True Feeling of Being Alone in a Crowd
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional
You lie awake in the middle of the night in the grips of existential dread. You were beginning to slip into sleep, but the fear and dread yanked you back to wakefulness, like plunging you into ice water as it caught you right in the chest. It kept you awake for hours, thinking about eternity and what lies beyond the veil.
You don’t know when you were able to breathe again and sleep.
You felt out of place the next few days as you went along with a group. They weren’t mean to you, but you felt out of place. They were people you knew and who you looked up to, people who you felt like are leagues ahead of you. You felt so young around them, almost like a child compared to them. Every place you tried to sit and move wasn’t good enough. You kept getting pushed to the edges, so the couples could sit together. You know there’s nothing wrong with couples wanting to sit together, but you became aware of your singleness—the odd woman out. And what seemed to be their unwillingness to break out of their social bubbles? You’ve no clue, but what could you say?
So, you kept to yourself, trying not to overstep your bounds but longing to be included all the same.
The anxiety seeped in again and the feeling of being alone in a group. You want someone to reach out and talk with you because you don’t want to be annoying by jumping into conversations. You feel like you’re intruding.
At dinner, you were stuck between people after being moved from the end of a table where you thought you wouldn’t be in anyone’s way. The middle is usually your safe place, but it just made you anxious.
You felt stuck. Conversations were happening around you, across from you, passing through you, and you sat in the middle of them without being involved in them. There was no way to jump in and you didn’t seem to be invited to them. So, you sat listening, trying not to drown under the loneliness creeping out through the corners of your eyes. You learn facts that make them more human, so you hoped they would recognize you’re silent yearning to be noticed, to be included, but that didn’t really happen. You thought about jumping across the table to escape. Tempting, but that would draw attention, which is worse than being ignored.
You sit, answer the few questions thrown your way, eager to be included. Tidbits that don’t satisfy your soul.
You go on, waiting for someone to break through your awkwardness because you can’t seem to do it yourself.