When I was younger I used to be quite the loner, and still am like that on most days. I used to go ‘out’ on my own and stay out till late just mingling in crowds where I was the odd one out, or barely being noticed. And it felt that way when I was around people and when I was home.

I remember on one occasion when I was at a friend’s house, his brother had been away for an extended time without any contact which sent his family into a panic. On that particular day my younger brother was with me when he looked at me and said, “See? That’s how everyone panics when you come home so late without telling anyone where you are.”

I don’t think I said anything in return, and I don’t know why I’m suddenly reminded of this. But the one thought that did occur to me right now is that despite him saying that, I still didn’t think I was significant enough for anyone to give a damn about where I was or when I’ll be back. They fussed about me from time to time, but they rarely did anything with me. And I wonder how many others feel equally neglected but loved at the same time? It’s a weird feeling. 

I guess being told you’re important or significant or part of a family or social circle is one thing, but having reason to believe that there’s a genuine interest in what you like, what you want, and what really interests you is a love of a different kind that is needed even more. I think we get this kind of love from partners or love interests in the early stages of a relationship, but when it dwindles, when that interest in us dwindles, despite the professions of undying love, we withdraw because suddenly we’re just as significant as family. And everyone knows we take family for granted, because they’re family, right?

But we don’t want to be ‘family’ to the one we allow into that sacred space of fragility. When we allow someone in there, we expect them to worship us, but not smother us…they must hang on every word we say, but have something interesting to say themselves. They must need us, but not be needy or clingy or parasitic. We must be the centre of their universe, but they must give us space. 

We’re an odd bunch, aren’t we? Or am I again a loner in feeling this way?

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