So You Built a Small House


Your loneliness has become all-consuming. You love being alone, but this loneliness doesn’t feel like a choice. This loneliness feels like abandonment, rejection, disgust—this loneliness tears you apart every night. A part of you thinks you chose this. But a bigger part of you knows this was always going to happen.

You hold onto your mother’s love in times like this. When you’re in bed, clutching as tightly as possible to the skin over your heart, you miss your mother. You want to lay your head on her lap, you want to remember what it feels like to be pure again. You don’t want to feel angry anymore. Your mother’s lap is home. Your mother’s lap is the only peace you can remember.

Heaving, heaving, heaving. There’s not enough air in this room, not enough air in this house, not enough air in this city. Can’t you hear me? You’re not sure who you’re crying out to, but you want a response. You so badly want someone to come out from the darkness and envelop you. But every hand that reaches out feels like a red-hot iron that hurts you more. So you’re left in the purgatory of your own creation. The sins you’ve created for yourself and everyone around you keep you from the peace people promise exists in this universe.

I think what you struggle with the most is not imagining someone loving you, but imagining someone being able to love you. You find yourself thinking about all your loneliness as you walk down the streets that have seen you get lonelier and lonelier as each year passes.

That’s what makes the black, loud, all-consuming noise even louder and angrier. The noise that sounds like all the love absent in your life, all the mistakes, all the could-have-beens. You have held so strongly onto yourself these past years, believed so much in your own salvation, that safety in another person’s embrace feels like a delusional lie. If you struggle to hold your own seams together, how can someone out there learn to hold them for you? What does that kind of love even look like?

You don’t know. You look at the reflection you see every morning and every night, and you feel smaller. There is so much you do not know how to love about yourself that you begin to tear away at every part of your world. You are so disappointed in yourself. You are so through with yourself. You wish you could commit, at least. Commit to something, to anything. Commit to the thumping of the chest, commit to the disappearance, commit to whatever you think saves you from the noise. Instead, you wake up every morning, and sometimes you feel a little different. Like maybe the noise was just a glitch on the radio. Like maybe you can expand large enough to fit the world in. You take that one moment of hope, and you try again. You open the door and say the things you think people want to hear. You try to float back into the world where people find love, and you try to integrate yourself in a world where someone could love you.

But when every night ends and you’re left only with the company of all your mistakes you dig your nails as deep as you can into your palms and you want to disappear. You want to stop this vicious cycle that you have been playing. What have you become? You disappoint, disappoint, disappoint. You disappoint me. You disappointed everyone who once could have loved you.

So you call this loneliness. You call the dark and sinking feeling loneliness. You call Thursday afternoon loneliness. You call the thumping of your chest loneliness. This is loneliness. This is what the next several years of your life will look like. This, you think, this loneliness is too much to bear.

But here is what you have to do. You take that loneliness, you take that love you aren’t convinced exists for you in this lifetime, and you build yourself a small house. A house so small, only you could fit. You move into this house, far away from the noise, and you take the only memory you need: the comfort of your mother’s lap. In this house, you try to greet your loneliness with the love it fears will never come. It won’t be the love you’ve read about; it won’t be the love of the big screens. But it will be a love your loneliness needs. In this small house, your loneliness will not feel large and looming. In this house, you will grow to accept the loneliness the way you accept that day and night arrive no matter how loud the noise gets. The house will be too small to feel any other way.