Alone, But No Longer Lonely: How I Found Power in Solitude

I am used to standing alone. What I mean is, I’m used to the state of being alone: in my thoughts, actions and relationships. By now, I have come to accept that state, and I even welcome it with open arms. But it took me a long time to embrace who I truly am.

A few years ago — heck, even a few months ago, I would have told you that being lonely was the worst feeling in the world. I pitied myself for how routine it felt to me.

I can’t pinpoint exactly when I started to feel lonely, but I know it was sometime in middle school. I struggled making good friends, and I still don’t know why. It just felt like I was neither here nor there to my peers. I had to fight to be included in conversations, and even then, people talked over me. 

Over time I got used to seeing people go off in groups without me, or being the only one at my lunch table left out of a social event. Even though it got less and less shocking, it still took its toll every now and then. 

I remember one memory in particular when my seventh grade English class was going to hold signs outside of school and cheer for the cars driving by to make someone smile and spread positivity. Everyone was excited, and my teacher told the class to buddy up with someone and pick a sign. I watched as people who I considered to be good friends opt for tripling up in favor of one person being my partner. They rushed out the doors with their signs, leaving me without so much as someone to walk with. As I stood in the empty classroom, I couldn’t help but burst into tears. 

By the time high school rolled around, it was clear I was not the same bubbly, carefree and confident little girl that I was years ago. I was now exhausted, defeated and much more reserved. I longed to find my fitting with a new group of friends and a new school.

There were good moments, and I was not always friendless. But it was hard for me to focus on the good during the bad. I didn’t want to be invited somewhere out of someone doing me a favor, I wanted a companionship at all times. I wanted to be wanted.

My senior year of high school was the lowest point of my journey thus far. I watched my peers live out the typical senior year bliss, attend all the “lasts” and make the most of their final moments in high school. For me, “lasts” weren’t even an option. Homecoming? I think you mean staying home, not coming. I wanted to get the hell away from high school and start fresh in college.

When the loneliness in the pit of my stomach grew so much that I thought it would engulf me, I decided to turn to a psychic for answers. 

Out of all the things I could’ve asked her, I just wanted to know if I would have a few best friends in college.

Her answer was … well, it was “no.”

She told me that I am a lighthouse, and lighthouses stand alone. My purpose in life is to guide other people in the right direction with my light.

So of course, I left feeling disappointed and defeated once more. I didn’t want to be a lighthouse — I wanted a friend. If I was to give people direction and receive nothing in return, how was that transaction fair to me?

I didn’t like the psychic’s answer, but I also didn’t realize how much it would change my life.

After that, I stopped seeking out companionship. I quit putting up a front of the person I thought my peers would like and include. I managed to find enjoyment in my last few months of high school. I focused on the people who have never let me down — my family. Instead of feeling bad for myself, I became the lighthouse. I helped people when they needed me, and didn’t expect anything in return. I spent quality time with loved ones doing all my favorite activities.

Instead of seeing myself as the sad, beaten-down girl that didn’t have anyone to walk with in the hallways, I became the empowered and strong woman who is here to help people.

Looking back on how I felt a year ago compared to now, I can’t believe how much I’ve changed. I DO have friends and people who care about me, but that wouldn’t have been possible if I didn’t stop the chase first. 

Sometimes, I am still alone in my actions, thoughts and relationships: but I am no longer lonely. I know now that being alone can come with beauty, independence and wisdom if you know how to embrace it.

Emily O'Neil
About Emily O'Neil 37 Articles
Emily O’Neil is a first-year student studying communications and public relations. This is her first semester on The Oracle. She is a sports copy editor on staff. Her favorite sport to watch is baseball and she supports the New York Yankees.