Loneliness: Mighty Foe. Powerful Ally.

Like many people who live alone, I wake up every moment thinking this must be all a bad dream.
That the Will Smith I am Legend feel of my entire existence, where I roam with a German Shepherd by my side in a ruined city that has been taken over by nature, desperate for a sign of life from others, is all a big mistake.

And in a sense, yes; It is different.

Because if I am willing to live by the Corona regulations, and lower my expectations of how much fun we’re going to have, and the amazing things we’re going to do, spontaneously;
And if I am not intimidated by the fact that if the person I see tests positive within the upcoming ten days; I am requested to stay home, get tested, turn my agenda upside down and report everybody I have been into contact with?
Well, then yes!
Then my current situation IS entirely different to living alone in a world that has been destroyed by a virus to which I am immune.

Aside from a few friends and my family, I don’t see anybody.
I haven’t done any group things, not even when it was allowed. And from the three times I went to the movies, when the theaters were still open, I felt completely apocalyptic the first time, being in an almost empty theater.
One movie I walked out of because it was too violent, even more so given all the things I had to conquer or risked by even being there.
And the movie I successfully watched consisted entirely of cat videos.

In the summer many people I knew went on holidays. But aside from the fact that I would never share a hotel room with someone now, the thought going on holiday would also mean I would then have to leave my address with every restaurant three meals a day, made my stomach turn.
After I got home, it would take ten days before I could no longer be called by health services, sentencing me to quarantine. 

The Netherlands are excited that the loosening of the measures seems inevitable. We will be able to sit at terraces, and go to the cinema and on holidays soon.
But I don’t think much will change for me. 
As long as the test and trace policy is in place, and it also applies to those who have been vaccinated (which I will), nothing will change for me personally.
I will still be freaked out by the threat of 10 days of isolation.
The price is just too high.

Yes I like going to the movies. Yes I like doing things in groups. Yes I like coming over for dinner or going out to dinner.
But if the price tag is having a pending threat of isolation, I m not going to do it.

I’d rather wake up every morning for the rest of my life feeling like Will Smith in I Am Legend, than to pick up my social life under the current circumstances.

“A loneliness so thick you could make slices of it.”
“Post-apocalyptic.”
“I am Legend.”
Still in bed I try to find words to describe it, to get a sense of control. 

And sometimes I feel the loneliness has taken over my body while I was asleep. Like a parasite. And it immobilizes me. I have no idea how to take it out, even though obviously it does disappear enough to get up.

I have not spend a day in bed because of mental health reasons.
Not counting the days I had migraines, which I have had six times since Covid began, and none prior to that.
Migraine is when the demon has won. Usually on day two or three after a normal, relaxed social activity.

A “normal relaxed” social activity that I could still end up in Covid test, trace and isolation hell house for that is.

To me social life has become like one of those American haunted attractions, from Steven King novels or the movie Us. 
I can already hear the eerie carnival tune.

Every moment I wake up I wonder how long I can keep this up. How long before I lose my sanity. How long before I break.
Am I even alive? 
Because I am clearly, obviously, for the past 12 months and counting, not living! 
When do you become undead, like the zombies also present in the movie I am Legend?
Or like the ring lords, the Nazgul, in Lord of The Rings.

When does the loneliness virus turn you into a creature neither living nor dead?

And then I saw that the city where I live, is documenting testimonies about what loneliness does to us, and I knew this was my call.
I had so much to say about loneliness. Like any lonely person I would be able to talk about it for hours.
And yet;
That was precisely why I didn’t want to talk about it.

The thought that the interaction I had with the outside world would contain any reference to the challenges of living alone, with my social phobias as I usually call them, was simply unacceptable.
I would never break.
I would never give this demon the honor of even being mentioned in conversations. He would not be written about, he would not be talked about.
He could infest my body and my mind, and take my life from the inside out;
But he would never be known to the outside world.

I know my purpose, my work, who I am and what my values are.
And Covid or no Covid; There is no scenario where I am ever going to give power to loneliness by talking about it in a way that doesn’t directly contribute to my work, is in line with my values and so on.
I don’t care how often I have to wake up in fetal position in the bathtub, holding on to my gun, the way Will Smith’s character does in I Am Legend

So I had already made my decision I wasn’t going to give this thing power over me, when I read this:

find the pain you can fall in love with for life and nothing can stop you

Katrina Ruth

And I knew I had found my answer.
Because I CAN fall in love with loneliness. 

It has been with me my whole life. I don’t just have an unnaturally high tolerance for it, I actually crave it. I need whole chunks of it, in order to function healthily. Even though I have made resolutions to never be home alone for even one more day for the rest of my life, after Covid;
I know I will still need more alone time than others.

In the 80s a similar situation existed when I developed what I can now see was a social phobia. AIDS was part of our sex lives and in my case also part of my sexual education because I was so young.
I ended up totally freaked out by the fear of contracting AIDS but ultimately (in hindsight) I can see it was fear of being expelled from society if I caught it.

It was fear of being rejected for my sexuality.

It cost me 20+ years to get rid of it. The first 20 were dedicated to avoiding situations that were either physically risky or, more importantly, socially risky. I felt if I would get it from the dentist through dirty needles I would not be socially expelled. But if I got it from sex with a man who was not my boyfriend, even if I had used condoms, that I would be.
And after the first 20 years of avoidance, I overcame it. I accepted the risk of being expelled for my sexuality.
I accepted the risk of being alone.

Fear of loneliness stands for fear of rejection, fear of death, fear of being laughed at, fear of social exclusion.
That’s why it’s hitting us so hard.
That’s why we wake up every morning like Will Smith in I Am Legend.

But it’s also why social situations, where both the Covid virus but even more so Covid etiquette can jump out like a Jack-in-the-box,  have the unpredictability of a haunted maze at the carnaval.

Covid brings us socially in a catch 22:
Loneliness.
Or the horror maze.
And it has been that way for over a year.

And some people choose the maze! 
They go headfirst into the madness and will just see where that leads them. 
They seem to be without fear, because they have decided they are not going to let Covid stand in their way.
Just like I refuse to give attention to the loneliness, they refuse to give attention to all the social forces pulling at them from different sides.
Shrieking at them, from the darkness.

They just keep pushing forward.

But it really doesn’t matter which pain you choose:
The pain of loneliness, I Am Legend.
Or the mayhem of the haunted house of Us or novels from Steven King.

Because once you’ve fallen in love with one pain?
You can bear them all.


Suzanne L. Beenackers

s_beenackers@hotmail.com
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To every business; We ARE dying to throw our credit cards at ya!

Entire point explained in one video: YOU are the show! The fans, YOUR fans, are appreciating you, whatever it is you think you are selling. And yet you might be there beating yourself up for all that went wrong, or why what you re selling wasn’t or isn’t good enough.

Audience at Bon Jovi, Ahoy, Rotterdam, Netherlands, 21st November 1988. (photo Niels van Iperen – click image for more + source)

What if I told you we’re all in the same business?
All of us. From the king to the gardeners. Even people who are dependent on an allowance/ welfare are in this business.
Because if they fail to do this, be “in” this business, even though they should still get their money and everybody in theory thinks it should be regardless of who you are because it’s a human right;
Even though all of those things?

If they fail to be “in” this business?
They’ll lose that right.

Everyone who has ever been treated unfairly, or who has ever suffered bad service in a restaurant, or who feels they’re under some kind of social threat all of the time?
It’s because they have failed or are resisting, to do this work and do it seriously each and every time they come into contact with another human being. *

[* for a lot of people, society is highly unfair and makes it practically impossible to get by without knowing this skill. This is why, in my opinion, learning the skill from this article, should be priority skill number one for economic equality ]

We’re all in the same business. But because of that, we have started diversifying based on the aspects of our lives (usually calling them “jobs”) that are not the same.
Because if (or “since”) we’re all in the same business, how else would we identify but by pretending that the second characteristic of what it is we do or are, the second key factor that determines how successful we are or what our identity is as perceived by others;
What else can we do than to pretend that secondary thing about what it is we do, is the primary one? 

This article is too short to go too deeply into that, and how there are also communities that identify based on what family/ tribe you belong to, or what special interest you have, but the most important takeaway from this piece is this:
We really ARE in the same business.
The people business.

And we all do the same work:
The work of making people feel good.

Even people who play with money as a way to make money, are ultimately in the people business.
Although money definitely buys you a ton of hall cards not to have to do this work; At the end of the day, even Mark Zuckerberg, even the bitcoin trader, have to do it.

At the end of every line there is a person you have to please to get to the next level (if you’re privileged), or to get your money (if you’re dependent).

Now don’t get depressed, because all of this is actually super good news and it will make your life very easy and make you a lot of money, the throwing credit cards at you from the title is real.
But allow me to harp on for just a sec.

So with all of us being in the making-people-feel-good business, the only thing that differs between jobs and between lives, are things like:

difference: How many people you encounter and therefor how often you have to do this work.

In general the higher paying your job is, the fewer times you “have to” do this work, but also the fewer the times you can do this work.
Which can lead to a feeling of loneliness and meaninglessness.
Even superstars, who know they make people happy from afar, can suffer from the lack of direct human connection. In particular if their line of work (f.e. a movie star) doesn’t have a component of direct connection.

difference: The extend to which this work is explicit or hidden

In the entertainment industry, the work of making people feel good, is explicit.
In medicine it is hidden (but good luck getting a patient healthy with a specialist without social skills)

difference: The type of job or relationship this work piggy-backs on.

For employees making their boss and their colleagues feel appreciated, is implicit.

But for a small business or independent service provider, and now we get to the point where people will want to pay you;
Because for a small business or independent service provider this work is literally
THE ONLY WORK THEY EVER HAVE TO DO

There. I said it.

I don’t care if you are an independent physiotherapist, or an art painter, or if you sell glutenfree cookies;
Your ONLY work?
Is to make people feel good.

I know so many people who have amazing things to sell, so the product does actually contribute to the overall value;
And who also have such great client relationships, people would give good money to be in their presence and call them a business partner, or their teacher, or service provider. And if they could buy physical things, for example takeaway food or drinks!, it is even better because the physical products have a comforting “cloak” of normalcy.

Yet these entrepreneurs or independents, are not aware their social skills are offering a magnetic power, and also not (if you get uncomfortable being in the spotlight) they miss the deep craving their clients have for human connection.

People are waiting to be invited as a paying client, or to step up the relationship you have with them, but they can’t if you don’t offer it. 

They can’t create this whole relationship by themselves.
YOU are the provider, the supplyer, the professional;
You have to lead the way.

What products will sell?
What does the market want?
How are we going to survive the Covid crisis? 
Stop thinking like that!
No one can connect with you or pay you, if you stay in your own head.

I’m not going to elaborate on that, because I m already way over the “serious shit people do not want to read about” quota. Which, by the way, is a direct violation to making people feel good!

Don’t talk serious shit people don’t want to hear about if you want people to feel good, hence, pay you!

And if you do;
Cushion it, compensate, make up for it. 
For example by delivering something that will make them millions.
Which is what I am going to do right now.

Because;
What if, today, right at this moment, you decided that whatever it is you thought was making you money, is not actually what is making you money;
And focused SOLELY on making people feel good.

Connecting, smiling, taking an interest, being human.

Showing yourself the way Jon Bon Jovi showed himself on that stage 21 November 1988, as I illustrated with the picture.

The YouTube video I used at the top of this blogpost is from a documentary about Bon Jovi, Access All Areas. The opening scene is shot early November 1988, three weeks before they were in the Netherlands.
It was a show in Dublin.

It switches between shots taken in the dressing room right after the show. With cursing band members, because as Jon later recalls in an interview,
“Everything that could did go wrong.”

And shots that were taken outside, right after the same show.
With fans raving about how good it was, and what an absolutely amazing experience they had.

The fans were on a total high, and the show had delivered to them a brilliant experience. 
It was worth every penny.

So you see?
Even Jon Bon Jovi in 1988 did not know what he no doubt learned very shortly after.
That it’s not about what you sell. 
It’s about how you make people feel.

We’re all in the same business:
The business of making people feel good.

Now go rock that!

.

Suzanne L. Beenackers

Want my help?
Mail me at: s_beenackers@hotmail.com

And I don’t take credit cards, but you can throw your payment here!
Paypalme

You can subscribe to the Wold Between Worlds and receive new messages in your Inbox.
The button is on this page, probably somewhere on the right.

my personal Twitter account

Also by me:

Rock Star Writer
Blog dedicated to Bon Jovi, sex, and rock n roll.
And Rock Star Writer on Facebook
&
my rock star writer YouTube

Liefdeseend en vintage yoga (Nederlands/ Dutch)

beertje Puux op Facebook (Nederlands/ Dutch)