Are you lonely? No, it’s not your fault! Don’t believe those trendy articles that blame the victim!

Have you read all that “positive thinking” stuff out there?  Those magazine articles that say “If you are lonely, it’s your ATTITUDE that’s the problem?”  Oh, please.

I’m going to cut to the quick. (Sometimes I do, often I beat around the bush.)  She didn’t take into account societal prejudice, hatred, bullying, and stigma.  Not one bit.

It very well could be true, that people don’t like you.  Only not for the reasons you think.  It’s not because you’ve got some moral problem or because you are a defective.  YOU DID NOTHING WRONG.  The REAL reason folks don’t like you is because they are jerks.  They gossip.  Let’s face it.  They yap.  Prejudice and stigma.

So look at the schoolyard and tell me what you see.  The fat kid gets teased.  Why?  For no reason.

So society hates poor people, sick people, the veterans our country used and then tried to make excuses to, those it labels “crazy,” anyone with some “other” skin color…oh, anyone different whatsoever.

I remember the peels of laughter and jeering of mean girls in junior high.  Why?  My ankle socks.  Wrong color, wrong length.  The schoolyard is a microcosm of society and it wasn’t my fault that I was too young to shop for my own clothes.  It took months of PR with my mom and countless elastic bands around my shins before finally I found a pair of the “right” socks that didn’t make me the laughing stock of seventh grade.  I wasn’t even fat!  Can you imagine the nightmare the “fat kid” went through?

Don’t tell me to be “politically correct” and not talk about it, cuz we all know there was one “fat kid” in the class that got it bad.  I was a kid that got teased for other reasons.  So I cried for the “retarded kids,” the kids with various injuries, the kids who had some facial scars, the very tall kids, the kids who walked funny and everyone laughed.  I cried for the kids that had trouble in gym class cuz they got laughed at and I wanted to say, STOP!

That’s our society now, and we’re grownups now.  Do people grow up on the inside?  Naw, folks gossip. That’s the adult way that they tease, the grownup version of teasing the kids that are different.

Gossip takes on different forms and it’s often disguised.  Your medical record, of course, contains gossip, stuff that isn’t scientific, but opinion based on no scientific measurement or data.  This stuff gets spread around like wildfire.

Then there are the patronizing folks that claim they love you, but they don’t.  They tell you, “We care so we spoke of you….” and you notice they yapped some untrue statement about you all over your school or your town or social media or wherever you hang out.  How lovely.  You feel like everyone hates you.

No, I refuse to leave off here and say life totally sucks and the human race sucks so bad that we lonely folks might as well give up.  I’ll tell you why.

It’s not true, first of all, that everyone goes though extreme bad shit.  Most people in our society have never been through extreme social isolation.

Okay, so imagine the writer at the writer’s retreat.  Alone in a cabin for a month with no one around.  He knows he has loving family waiting for him when he’s done writing that novel.  Friends, family, a spouse, kids, his teaching job.  Solitude is awesome for writers.

Now imagine having no idea how you ended up in that cabin.  No loving family waiting.  No publisher.  No teaching job.  No way home or out of there.  No end in sight.

I’m here to tell you that you didn’t cause the “cabin in the woods” problem (it’s a metaphor I’m using).  Societal hatred and of course, bad luck caused it.  It’s not because of your “character” or “bad personality.”

Be patient and persistent.  Don’t give up.  I didn’t.  I’m not lonely like I used to be.  To end the extreme loneliness and social isolation, I didn’t have to fake it and pretend to be someone I wasn’t.  I didn’t have to put on a mask.  I didn’t have to be anyone’s slave or take bad happy pills or join a support group or “comply” or pretend or kiss anyone’s ass.  I didn’t have to admit I was “wrong” and fake some confession.  Because I wasn’t wrong!  I was right all along.  And slowly, folks are waking up to that fact.  I do have friends now and I am cherished and loved.  I feel proud of who I am.

Be yourself.  You are wonderful just the way you are.

2 thoughts on “Are you lonely? No, it’s not your fault! Don’t believe those trendy articles that blame the victim!”

  1. Julie, not that I’m excusing it, but I think a lot of gossip and labeling and bullying comes from an ugly but inescapable human need to have “the other” to look down on. Outcasts serve a valuable social function. I used to be the oxymoronic “valuable cheap shot” who everybody could put down or patronize, thereby feeling better about themselves. Then I sobered up and oh, did hell break loose when I quit taking it.
    But yeah, I’m very familiar with that “cabin in the woods” feeling, to this very day. Being a writer is a very lonely business some days. Well actually, most days.
    Keep writing and never lose that anger!

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