I received this anonymous post on tumblr, and since I wrote a long answer I thought I may want to reference it later. To make it easier to find, or in case it helps anyone else to see this who would miss it on tumblr, I’m posting it here.
I feel that way a lot too, anon. I can understand that feeling well. Since I’ve always felt like some sort of weird outlier to life at large, I’ve struggled a lot of my life with refusing to be anyone other than myself, while constantly having to recognize how being “myself” meant that a lot of who I am will not be understood. It’s been getting better over time but that feeling still remains, even though I’m lucky with having some great friends and family.
Actually I wrote an article along these lines for Queer Romance Month if it helps at all: The Equality of Differences.
Anyway, because of all that, and compounding the issue with me being asexual and a lesbian, I have always felt like no one I could ever come to love will ever love me, and I’ll end up dying alone. I still feel that way now. I’ve kind of resigned myself to that inevitability, in all honesty. I just don’t feel like there’s a reason anyone should bother with me, and even if they did then the trouble is with me being an asexual lesbian I have a VERY small subsection of people who I may even be attracted to in the first place who also would be okay with who I am, without one or both of us having to seriously compromise on what is important for us just so we can be together.
But the thing is, I’ve spent many years watching other people cycle through all these relationship hurdles and roller coasters and becoming co-dependent or being too afraid to exist on their own and always jumping into relationships because they can’t love themselves individually. I’ve watched people in relationships spanning years, decades, split up later because they grew apart or maybe they never should have actually been together in the first place but they thought they had to be because that was what they thought love was. (I wrote about this in January 2015 on my blog as well which maybe you would find interesting if you want to see that thought process in more detail: An Asexual’s View of Love)
The conclusion I’ve reached over time is that it isn’t bad to be alone. Honestly, it isn’t. There is a lot of freedom in being alone; you can dictate your time much more efficiently, you can explore ideas or hobbies or adventures at your leisure, and you can take all the time you need to recognize, really realize, how important you are as yourself. I’ve always been really big on people being themselves, whether or not that happens to fit mainstream.
For me, in any group of people I’m in, there’s almost always some pretty big part of me that is pretty fucking weird to the people in that group. So there’s a part of me that always feels like it doesn’t belong, like I stand out, and that has created dual reactions over time for me.
Part of me is completely unapologetic about being different. I was in a room of decidedly-not-into-anime/manga-type-of guys the other day, wearing my skull clothing as usual, and one of them asked if I had a skull tattoo yet, I said nope I have no tattoos, he was shocked and said he imagined I’d get one at some point, and knowing that they were not nerdy people and would have no idea wtf I was talking about I still said, “Oh no, I already know what tattoos I would get if I ever got some and they would be insanely geeky.” And when they asked, I described them (the snake tattoo from the Sci-Fi show I-Man that only aired for 2 years, and Nami’s blue pinwheel tattoo from One Piece). I think a lot of people are afraid to just speak up and be unapologetic about who they are, or polite but unyielding. They cave to things like peer pressure or mass expectation or what they assume mainstream wants of them, but the trouble is that society at large is very fickle, and what is in vogue one season or one decade could turn completely the opposite next season, or next decade.
That’s why it’s so important to be yourself. You will never go out of style. You will always be perfect. You will always be unique.
But the other side of the coin is sometimes I just get so goddamned tired of being different that I don’t want to deal with confrontation or explanations or announcements, so I don’t bother saying anything until I have to, or I find it easier to fade into the background so as not to cause waves. For that reason, for family I’m only out as a lesbian to my very immediate family members because the extended group seems like a hassle, and I’m only out as an asexual to my parents for family. I have gotten to where I don’t care about mentioning to acquaintances that I’m a lesbian but I rarely tell people I’m ace because people (even in the LGBTQIA world) think asexuals don’t exist and that we’re brain-damaged (someone said this once which I was like, thanks dude) or inherently wrong and etc etc. I already deal with a lot of bullshit with people looking at me just as a womb because I”m a woman, I don’t want to deal with them expressing disgust, outrage, disbelief, or straight up dismissal about me also having the gall to not be sexual.
It’s just too much of a pain to deal with having to be different on 40,000 fucking levels all the time so sometimes I just let it lie at them thinking I’m only 40% different than normal people instead of 90% or whatever the fuck I really am.
This may seem totally unrelated to what you were saying but I guess my point is that for a lot of these reasons I’ve felt a LOT in my life exactly how you said — nobody will ever love me, like love-love me, and I’ll die alone.
I do have to say adopting my dog has helped a lot — I’m not suggesting using a dog as an emotional crutch at all, but rather I’m just saying that if you are someone who has always wanted a dog or cat or some other pet, and if you can be a responsible owner, and if you would be getting the pet because you love them and not because you are dependent on them to fill an emotional void, then that does help balance some of that feeling of loneliness.
I also do think therapy can help people a lot–having someone to really air all the dark thoughts in your mind, and since they’re a professional they can really help you unwind all those tangles and help you come to see you as you. Sometimes we need that objective view to really see ourselves for who we are.
Because let’s say it comes to pass that you and I, we both never have a significant other. Let’s say we do die alone. Does that mean that the lives we led up to that point was meaningless? Does that mean that all the dreams we dreamed, all the moments in time where we laughed or even cried, where we really got into a story we loved or couldn’t stop binge-watching a new TV show, all those nights when we stepped outside and saw the magnitude of the night sky opened above us, or sat near a rustling tree while the sun warmed the shadows protecting us, didn’t exist? Does it mean we never lived? Does it mean we never left a footprint in this world, we never were meaningful to someone else’s life, we never had a friend or an acquaintance or a family member or a pet or someone who really needed us in their life, even if we didn’t realize it at the time? Does it mean we never did anything?
I don’t think it does.
I think the emotional urge to be around someone else who really gets us, who can love us and we can love in return, is something powerful and very understandable, and I think a lot of people never give up on hoping for that. I do know many people who have found the love of their lives in their 30′s, 40′s, 50′s, later… I don’t think there is a deadline by which you can no longer find love or love can no longer find you. But I also think that there are many kinds of love, and we shouldn’t put such emphasis on the idea of love from a significant other to the exclusion of all the other loves out there–love of a friend, a family member, a pet, a coworker, or more.
If you feel that you have no friends who truly understand and care for you, then it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. It means you haven’t found the right people who get you. They’re out there, same as your significant other may very well be out there at this moment too, and even if you haven’t found them based on a timeline you thought you should expect to find them by it doesn’t mean they don’t exist.
The love you crave in this world will find you in some way, shape, or form, but it may first need you to open yourself to its existence, and you may first need to be able and willing to love yourself. Because, anon, I guarantee you there is a lot to love about you. You may not think there is, but there is. You may find it difficult to list them when you’re alone in a dark room and the world feels oppressive around you, but that’s only the shadows making it hard to see the light. It isn’t a fault of yours that you can’t see them, that’s a very human thing to do. Ideally you should take the time to really search inside yourself and try to identify everything that there is to love about you, and remind yourself of this daily. And if you can’t, if you’ve tried and it just doesn’t seem to work and you want to give up, that’s where it’s so important to find a friend, family member, therapist, someone, who is able and willing to see the beauty of that love in you, and be able to reflect it to you so that you can realize you’re important and beautiful in and of yourself.
Because you aren’t alone, no matter what you feel. (I wrote more about how we may feel alone but we aren’t alone, if it helps, here: You are wonderful, you are not alone, and I want you to know that.)
And ultimately, even if it did turn out we died alone, it doesn’t make us less of who we are. It doesn’t invalidate us as people, it doesn’t render our every waking moment meaningless.
We could change the world and still die alone.
We could be an incredible positive influence on people around us, and still never find an SO.
That’s why I think it’s important to re-frame the amount of weight one puts on that idea of dying alone or never finding an SO and being loved the way we imagine we should be, based on everything society tells us. The journey is what’s important, not the destination. If you live your life loving yourself to the best of your ability, and trying to love the world in whatever way you feel comfortable from your perspective, then you can find how much richer life feels, and how unimportant it really is to jump on something just because it checks a box on a list of Life Events we feel we’re supposed to reach. If you can find close friends who really love you as a person, if you can find even one family member (or if you have a bad family, find someone else who fulfills the feeling of family you didn’t get from your blood relations), then you never ARE unloved. And you never will truly be alone when you die. There will be someone, maybe many someones, who will be there until your dying breath, and they will never forget how important you were to them.
And if you don’t have those people yet, if you feel you really need them for your personality and it isn’t enough for you to exist on your own being comfortable with yourself and loving yourself, then keep an open mind as you continue through life. You will find those people. You will gravitate to them and they will gravitate to you. It may happen somewhere unexpected–in a fandom of someone/thing you like, or standing in line in the grocery store, or taking the bus across the city, or stopping by the beach to feel the sand beneath your your feet… Somewhere, unexpectedly, you will find them, and you just have to be willing to hold onto them once you do.
That same thing could happen for a significant other. There are plenty of people who meet rather incidentally, and others who meet through much more concerted effort like blind dates or being set up by friends or online dating. There are options in this world that hopefully can meet your needs. And if you don’t feel comfortable with doing too much at once, that’s okay too. There isn’t some manual on How To Succeed At Life. There isn’t some list of boxes to check for How To Get Love or How To Exist As A Human.
Who you are is who you are, and you should never, ever belittle that. No one else out there is you. The world needs you, because you’re the only one who can be you.
And out there somewhere is a friend or family member or SO or someone, whose personality is a puzzle piece that will fit perfectly with all the edges and curves of who you are, and maybe there will be a lot of you to create a complete picture, or maybe it will just be you and that single other puzzle piece, or maybe you will always stay as the sole puzzle piece on the side, but no matter what happens it’s still very, very important that your piece is not lost in the greater scheme. Because you still matter very much in and of yourself, and if you can really remember that on a daily basis, then the idea of growing old alone, of never finding a person who really truly gets you and loves you– well, that can still suck to think about sometimes, it can still have its moments of sadness, but it doesn’t have to become the be all and end all of your existence. It doesn’t, ultimately, have to matter. Because you still have a whole life to live up until the point of possibly dying alone, and the life you live, no matter how sedentary or adventurous, no matter how quiet or chaotic, no matter how predictable or unexpected, is a unique and important and meaningful life that no one else can ever replace or truly experience.
And you know what? If you do find that no one ever truly loves you, if it does happen that you die alone, then all that means is someone else out there in this world seriously fucking missed out in their own lives for not having known you. It isn’t a negative about you; it’s a sadness in the lives of others, who should have had the honor of loving and knowing you and being with you all along the way. If they missed out on you, it’s a regret they should have in their lives.
But never regret your own life. Never regret being you.
Never regret that you didn’t compromise out of fear that you wouldn’t get a better chance than something that is truthfully unhealthy for you. If something or someone isn’t healthy for you, they may just not be for you. And trying to cling to them because of a fear of being unloved or alone, may mean you don’t notice the person who really could have complemented you in a way that wasn’t unhealthy or difficult or maddening.
If you’re afraid of not being loved, of being alone, then love this world with all the fierceness you want to be loved. Show the world how amazing you are. Live your life as strongly and authentically as you know how. And when you look back, you won’t have regrets no matter what your love life was, no matter how many people are standing around holding your hand.
You will have carved meaning into this world for yourself, and no one can take that away from you.