Thursday, May 2, 2013

9 years ago today... Loneliness

Today I came across a piece of writing I did 9 years ago while living in Lübben (Spreewald) - a small town 1 hour southeast of Berlin, Germany. Tears came to my eyes as I read what I wrote during a very lonely time of my life. How much things have changed! Sometimes it takes looking back to appreciate just how far you've come. Needless to say, I'm not lonely anymore.

02 May 04 - Lübben (Spreewald), Germany

I wake up, find myself alone—as usual—in the stale room, my neck aching on the two squished pillows beneath my head that only in their first fluffed moments manage to give any sort of resting support. The verdant view from my window glows in its spring freshness, a brightness without the sun. At 7 AM my day begins, in spring you don’t have to drag yourself out of bed—it drags you. And in the solitude my days drag on—a bowl of oatmeal; boil water, as I wash dishes, make the oat mixture of oats, flax seeds, a dash of salt, cinnamon, brown sugar, pour water, a drop of real maple syrup and a splash of vanilla soy milk. Then I make my vitamin drink, a cup of tea, a cup of yogurt—all while listening to the radio, time passing by in 30 minute increments of news updates, sandwiched together by moderation, music, and ads. Then comes the point of decision-making—what do I do after breakfast? Choices depend on the day. Sometimes it’s a clear choice to get showered and ready for school, if I have to be there early, on weekends and days off it can vary—go translate for a couple hours, check e-mail again—which you just did after waking up, bathroom and taking out retainers, or like today, go for a walk. Since time is about the only thing I can afford to spend, seeing as money is even more scarce, I burnt off two hours walking around the area, discovering new parts of town I’d never been to before—simply by crossing the railroad tracks—all while listening to various music to keep me paced. I learn to appreciate nature as it can hardly disappoint me; usually it simply amazes me. Like the closed positions of the dandelions, their centers curled up so a bee won’t come, the slime trail of a snail along the dirt path, the aromatic petals along the way. But it doesn’t change the fact that I’m alone, that I can go through the whole day without saying a word, unless someone calls me or I have mild interaction in a store, but Sundays are the worst. On Sundays you begin to believe that the silence and loneliness are unbearable, and you begin to want to change your mind about a lot of things, look for new answers to the questions swimming in silence, begin to wonder how you can sit in bed for hours with no obligations, no friends to call to stop over, no one to talk to, how you can manage this life that you’ve chosen for the time being, and if maybe you’re not even right. This is the pain of my pathetic existence right now. And even worse, I can’t change it at the moment, and while I’m generally “content” and can manage to make do with things as they are—it’s Sunday’s like this that really make me think about just how lonely I am.

1 comment:

  1. Sarah - I know exactly how that feels! When I was in Russia for three months in 2001 for an internship at the opera house there, it was very difficult for me to get "into the group", too, partly because of the language barrier (although I got pretty good at Russian towards the end and made many friends, it just took a while), and partly because everybody else was so busy. I kept a diary then, too, and many of the entries read very similar to what you wrote. I particularly recall an instance where one of the people working at the opera house put his hand on my back guiding me to a special seat - I felt that touch for hours afterwards, and it made me realize that nobody had touched me in weeks other than maybe shake hands?!

    Like you, I now marvel at what all has happened in my life since then! And in a way, I think it was almost necessary to feel that loneliness, because it forces you to take a closer look at yourself than you would otherwise dare to do, and that can potentially make you stronger and more sympathetic, dont't you think?

    Anyway, look at us now! All is well that ends well! ;) Keep up the good work and let's try and get together sometime again!
    xox Anke :)