The Opposite of Loneliness

Hello Family and Friends,

 

A while back I heard about this book, The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan, that had been published after she had died in a car accident at age 22. I stumbled across her book while perusing the selection of literature at Politics and Prose (one of the many reasons why I love DC!). The book commences with an essay, The Opposite of Loneliness, that was written for the school newspaper to encourage fellow graduates that life only gets better from here.

 

We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life…. It’s not quite love and it’s not quite community; it’s just this feeling that there are people, an abundance of people, who are in this together. Who are on your team. When the check is paid and you stay at the table. When it’s four a.m. and no one goes to bed. That night with the guitar. That night we can’t remember. That time we did, we went, we saw, we laughed, we felt.

 

This summer I had the amazing opportunity to stop everything else in my life and move to Washington DC for 2 months for an internship.I’ve had an amazing experience so far; re-connecting with friends I haven’t seen in many years, finding beautiful spirits in strangers, and exploring new places. From trying to make sense of the Metro system to figuring out basic survival (where I’m going to live, how I’m going to eat and whose numbers I should memorize just in case I get into an emergency while I’m out here), I’ve come to realize that the most perplexing enigmas are the ones that are within myself.

I know this sounds weird, but I never had to deal with my own thoughts and sense of placement so intensely. At home, it is so easy to get caught up in the routines of life. My thoughts are tethered to: my ‘to-do’ list, making sense of the place I just left,  making sense of the thing that I just did, or my thoughts about how to save the world. But here, in this bursting metropolis, I’ve found an inner stillness as I go from museums to monuments.

I was just thinking about the time when I first moved to San Francisco. A person once asked me, “What are you running from?” I’ll be the 1st to admit that I’m pretty lame. I have nothing interesting to run from. (If I did have anything to run from I would probably prefer to stay in those shenanigans). I don’t even like running. And that person annoyed me because it was such a cliche thing to say when a person moves. WOW! Don’t you think you’re Mr. Insightful now that you asked a stupid cliche? Clearly, there was something in that question that touched some part of my spirit because I’m still thinking about it 5 years later.

So, I think I finally have the answer. The answer began forming a couple of years ago when I visited my father’s side of the family in Toledo. I see the answer when I look at my friends in San Francisco, and Washington DC, and when I get an email from a friend from Colombia.

I’m not running from anything, but I’m exploring all of the physical manifestation of “home” through all the people that I encounter and places that I go. I was blessed to be born into a family that loves hard… and fights hard. I was nurtured in such a way that I can recognize love and connection that feels as genuine as game night. And game night is real. Game night, movie night, and long arguments about absolutely nothing is home. I’m not running from home; I’m finding home in all the places that God has placed it.

I found that I am always emotionally and physically- literally and figuratively- moving towards a home base. A beacon. The Northstar. A Target store. Yes, there are times when I feel lonely or think that I just had an experience that would have been better had there been another person with me. You know the old saying ‘being lonely in a crowded room’ feeling. It is still fundamentally different from not being in the state of the opposite of loneliness. If that makes sense. Read it again a couple of times. It probably may make sense. It probably won’t.

My state of being in the opposite of loneliness is you.It’s knowing that you are out there. That you support me- even just by reading this- and I’m always cheering for you. I may not see you all the time (*cough* I would love to get an email from you every once in awhile *cough*). It’s that every month I stop to think about what I’m grateful for it’s always some variation on some experience that leads me back to you.

So, popular consensus has told me that my letters are too long. I’m going to wrap it up right…now.

 

Sincerely,

Brianna

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