Loneliness is endemic In America. As old as time itself, loneliness seems to have no cure in this world. It can tear our hearts out and leave us purposeless, lifeless and seemingly friendless. Our modern age seems to exacerbate our loneliness–we no longer feel we have a real home, close neighbors and friends, and families get scattered to the four winds. Life is the feared abstraction, not death; death is merely the lethal handmaid to our loneliness: more than 110,000 of us will die this year from suicide and drug overdoses.
Loneliness is quite removed from being alone, which is necessary and often briefly desirable with a busy life. We can also be surrounded by people we may love, and whom we presume love us and still feel acutely lonely. That’s happened to me on many occasions.
It seems that half of the songs I’ve written are about loneliness, alienation, or a dark, bottomless emptiness that people fill with violence, greed, or the ugly manipulation of others. Then I think the other half of the songs I’ve written are about assuaging loneliness–finding others, finding or saving love, coming together, seeking the light, trying to find faith in something, believing blindly in people we may not even know for comfort or community.
I’ve had loneliness described to me as a feeling of physical dilution–a friend saying some days she feels as if she may just evaporate into thin air from the pain of isolation, from the absence of everything, from bearing a homeless soul–from the stupid fucking drivel of the banality of our lonely routines.
It seems that it’s only when we’re young that it’s free and even romantic to be alone and enjoy it, dwell in it, and feel alive in that funky solitude. Once we move out of our youth, it ain’t nothin’ but a heartache. What can we do, since we’re all in this together? We can talk to people, be generous with things that cost us little–a word, acknowledgment, maybe a smile or a question of concern.