You may have heard me mention the “WOL,” or Web of Loneliness. It’s a site I belong to. A site I found several months ago that has given me the push to take my writing farther than I thought I could. Lemme share a bit about what brought me there.
In a nutshell – I lost my dad when I was young, 12. At the same time I lost my mom to grief as well as my older brother. I grew up in a situation where no one really cared what I did, so I did a lot. And though I was dealing with the beginnings of depression and anxiety, I had a fuck of a lot of fun.
For years I had fun with my friends. Drinking, doing drugs, sleeping around a bit. But I rarely shared the inner pain I was experiencing. My depression grew, and my anxiety grew. And though I had occasionally reached out to therapists and counselors, I always felt disconnected and gave up.
Which is what I eventually did with my group of friends. No one understood why I couldn’t always be happy. The more they tried to make me, the less I wanted to be with them. And so I just gave up on them.
Several years went by, populated by a few romantic entanglements that didn’t pan out. I’d tried to find a connection, that one person who would understand me and bring solace and meaning to my life. I think it was always a matter of too much pressure. Counting on one person to alleviate my loneliness.
And then there was the relationship that finally broke this camel’s back. I wound up with someone who I let treat me badly, because I thought that’s how I should be treated. But somewhere along the way, I realized that a man I loved should love me. And this man didn’t. So I got out.
Afterward, I went through a low. So low. I was realizing that though that man hadn’t loved me, he had been the only person in my life even slightly willing to know me, hear me. And I found myself desperately lonely. Not for the first time – but for the first time I was aware of what I was doing. I wanted someone to know me, really know me and listen to me.
So one night, feeling that aching gap in my heart, I searched the web. My keywords were something along the lines of “Fucking Lonely Chat.” And I found the WOL. And it damned near saved my life. I honestly don’t know what I would have done if I’d continued to feel so alone and disconnected. The thought scares me, frankly. And I am so grateful, so very very grateful, to have found the community I did.
For the first time in my life, I could say exactly what I felt and feel truly validated. I could share my weaknesses, my fears, my personal trials – and feel not only supported, but encouraged! It was an amazing and overwhelming feeling. To be surrounded by people who had felt the same, who had been where I was, felt what I felt – it was a revolutionary idea!
I started blogging there – you can read those old posts below, though I can assure you they are wild ramblings – and began to get positive feedback about my writing. People enjoyed what I had to say – they connected with it somehow. And that floored me. That my words might mean something to someone else. That I could express something that mattered.
That’s why I’m here today, writing in this blog. I really can’t stress enough the impact the WOL has had on me. I still feel lonely, at times so painfully so. And I have yet to come to terms with some of the hurts that I have experienced. But it’s due to those amazing, welcoming and supportive people that I write anything here. I owe them so much. And I will say so, over and over and over again.
If I ever make anything of myself in writing from this point on, in is in large, great, entire part to the WOL. For giving one lonely person a place to feel she belongs. I cannot express my gratitude and love – there really are no words.