The Difference Between Alone and Lonely (And How To Avoid the Latter)
January 17, 2013 § 19 Comments
Let’s take a little stroll, shall we? (No, no… you don’t need to do any stretches. This is just an Internet stroll. So just keep sitting right there in your chair and crack open another Diet Coke. You’re good.) Here we go:
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We’re going to start at Loop Letters, where a few writers (including me) have pieces running this week. Mine’s the one called “What I Was Doing In There,” and it’s about a job I had as a student – an internship where I spent most of the summer sitting in a closet. (Don’t miss the intro by Whitney Collins and the other essays by Monique Alice and Tarja Parssinen, by the way. They are an absolute hoot, and you will snort your coffee. Click over and see.) An excerpt:
That story is about being alone — literally alone in a room by myself for long stretches at a time — but it’s not about being lonely. (I didn’t really feel lonely sitting in a closet all summer. I actually enjoy being alone a good bit.) Being alone is different from feeling alone.
And sometimes, I admit, I feel a little alone in my weirdness. I mean, let’s be real: I make up conversations between myself and famous people. A lot. I also sit around drawing birds and making up stories about how they buy uncomfortable underwear and get drunk at parties and embarrass themselves. That’s pretty weird.
So that brings me to our next stop:
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I can’t believe I’m about to quote Lena Dunham, but I am. (She inspires mixed feelings in me. On one hand, I love that she’s so honest and balls-to-the-wall in her work. On the other, her characters on Girls are a bit whiny for my taste. Also, I sort of want to tell her to stand up straight and cool it with the coy pigeon-toed awkwardness, because she’s 26 for God’s sake.) Anyway, here’s what she said after accepting one of her Golden Globe Awards the other night:
“Making this show – and the response to it – is the most validating thing that I have ever felt. It’s made me feel so much less alone in this world. I can’t define it. Thank you.”
I wanted to high-five her. Then maybe fire her stylist.
Anyway, moving along on our tour…
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Allow me to introduce you to Sebastien Millon:
Have I ever told you that when I was 13, I co-wrote/illustrated a comic strip called “Ralph & Coco” about an unrequited, one-sided love affair between an alien and a palm tree? No? Well, I did. (I know. You can see how I just sailed into my teen years, an 80-pound badass high on the drug of my own coolness.) So you can imagine how delighted I was recently to discover a guy who draws asshole bunnies, gangster baby bears who deal cocaine, and the panda who invented ninjas.
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Of course, I also love The Oatmeal.
Read the whole great comic about being a writer / content creator, and you will understand how I spend much of my time.
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And finally, one more stop. This…
This was made by a Twitter-friend I’ve never met, an adorably strange Irish lass named Hazel Hayes. I can’t explain why it makes me laugh so. I just love that someone had the thought, “What if I were to film a pretend talk-show about a craft project with profane peanut-gallery commentary from a stuffed dead otter?” and then actually DID IT. It’s totally fucking weird, and I love it.
I see these people out there, and I think, nope – I’m not alone at all.
You just gotta find your fellow weirdos.