Happy Days, Lonely Nights
As an aspiring working actor and writer living in Los Angeles, I have a restaurant job to keep me going. My restaurant is my second home, and my coworkers have become family. I love walking into the kitchen every night, making my rounds of, “Hola! Como estas?” and hearing everyone from the back of house say it back. Even if I’m having a bad day, once I walk into work I’m suddenly energized and upbeat…and way weirder than I am most places. I’ve noticed that I’m at my most comfortable—and my weirdest—when I’m in a relationship, with my family and/or closest friends, and at work. And I’m so lucky to be able to say that.
I used to be very reserved with people I didn’t know very well, because I had this silly idea that I wanted to see who was interested enough to want to break down my walls, so I put up walls intentionally. But that was never me.
I’m a goofball and an open book. And I’ve come to wholeheartedly own that as I’ve gotten older. Sometimes I forget I’m with people I don’t know very well, and I’ll say something they never expected to come out of my mouth. To be honest, it’s one of my favorite things— the fact that I, myself, forget how weird I am sometimes and get way too comfortable. When I was younger, I would have been embarrassed by it, but now I love it. It almost never ceases to break the ice, and I use it as an opportunity to encourage others to feel comfortable to be themselves. I want to always be that way. I want to always have fun and make people laugh and get weird.
But I have a serious side, of course. If you’ve read any of my blog posts, you know that. I spend a lotttt of time thinking and writing about life and love and relationships and heartbreak and human connection. I think about this stuff so much that it’s really hard for me to sleep at night. The last nine months have continuously reminded me how bad I am at sleeping alone. When I was in my last relationship, I had someone to sleep with or tuck me in when I was going to be sleeping alone. Maybe I was a little spoiled, but my ex knew it was hard for me to sleep so, on nights he wasn’t staying over, he’d let me get ready for bed, tuck me in, and let himself out. And then, all of a sudden, I didn’t have that anymore. Now I hang out with more people and stay out late as much as I can to put off coming home to my quiet apartment with roommates who are already sleeping (they work days, I work nights). That sounds kinda bad, but it’s not like I’m getting drunk and making bad decisions every night. I have my head on my shoulders, but I’m a little more carefree now than I’ve ever been. I just get really, really lonely. And my mind races when I try to sleep, so I find ways to distract myself until sleep finally hits me.
It’s funny, because I’ve had lots of different people say to me throughout my life, “You’re always smiling.” When I was 15, a freshman in high school, one of my junior friends said something to me like, “I wish I could live inside your mind. It seems like a really fun place to be.” The other day, one of the cooks at my restaurant asked, “Do you ever get mad?” He knows me to be smiling and laughing and telling jokes all the time. But, in my head I was just like, “Little do you know…” Not because I get mad, but because I get lonely. Overwhelmingly so.
The days are easy for me. I’m a naturally happy person, and because I mostly work nights I have the days to myself to write and work out and get outside and do my own thing. I love that. I love being by myself, and I also enjoy being around other people. But it’s gotten really damn hard for me to be by myself at night. I often come home from work between 10 PM and 12 AM to a quiet apartment with two roommates already in bed, and I just know the next few hours are going to be tough for me— everything leading up to falling asleep. I’m not good at that.
The thing is, the fact that I get lonely at night doesn’t mean I’m not a genuinely happy person. And it doesn’t mean something is wrong with me. I would say I’m, thankfully, above average when it comes to being happy and optimistic. But I’m still human. I feel things deeply, and I crave human connection. I crave intimacy. But I’m in an interesting place, because as much as I yearn for a relationship, I’m not sure I should be in one right now. Yet, I admittedly talk to a lot of guys and love feeling a romantic connection, whether I know it’s temporary or not. It’s not always easy to feel chemistry with another person, and when I do I want more of it. So I make an effort to create it with that other person. It’s just a little different for me than a lot of my friends and peers, because I don’t have casual sex. That’s not something I’ve ever been interested in at this point in my life, but I still want to feel close to someone I share a mutual connection with. So talking and kissing is huge for me. I’m flirty and forward when I’m feeling a connection, but it’s rare that I feel one.
I feel like I’m in this constant struggle between, I need to let myself be alone and go through my emotions to grow and, Shit, I don’t want to feel lonely. I don’t want to just let myself feel lonely. I need to have someone else around.
So, that’s where I’m at. I’m not depressed by any means, but loneliness hits me hard at night. And that’s okay. I find ways to deal with it and get through it. Sometimes I distract myself from it. Sometimes I sit with it, no matter how much it hurts. Sometimes I cry it out as I reminisce about having someone who made me forget how bad I am at sleeping alone. Some nights are harder than others, but I appreciate every single one of them. Even when I hate them.