Echo Chamber

I’m trying to figure out, on this fine Fall morning, whether wildly uncomfortable loneliness is part of the human condition, or just part of the Venn diagram I occupy right now: management, active-stage divorce, and sandwich-generation friendships.

And can I fix it?

That’s all, really.  Analyzing loneliness. Because feeling it is less fun than picking it apart with tools, trying to understand, then FUCKING FIXING IT. Why live with uncomfortable feelings when I can crowbar them into a powerpoint presentation and make sure all the bulleted lists are mutually exclusive and completely exhaustive?


Knee-deep in the Truckee River, 20 minutes into a work call. Work-life balance, we call this.

I’ve been bouncing around (since 6am because I was too anxious to sleep) between reading the paper (which is making me anxious), work (which is making me very anxious), work-conflict machinations (which are upsetting me to the point of stomach-churning distraction), divorce details (which are making me anxious, upset, and anxiously upset) and false-start phone calls in which I realize I can’t talk to anybody about most of this stuff.

I have exactly 10 hours today without the kids in which to figure out three major work conflicts, eliminate household clutter, finish four work projects due Monday morning, wrangle all my divorce documents and decisions. And if possible, plan and begin meals for the week. And maybe attend to a Netflix disc I’ve had by the TV since March. No joke. Small potatoes, but seriously? That’s a $70 disc by now. So the time pressure to figure all this shit out, while self imposed, feels real. There’s no way to get any of these issues to 100%, but I will not settle for less.

I need to go running. Half those problems will become “just deal with it next week” if I go running.


But here’s the point of why I’m blogging not running: lonely makes me want to write. And not leave the house. And eat and pout and walk in caged-tiger circles.

Self-awareness is allegedly the beginning of a solution. I find it just makes everything feel worse.

My divorce is just as lonely as my marriage was, and is just as much work. I feel just as crappy, powerless, and lonely, but now there’s nobody to talk to. Work is just as lonely as consulting was, and there’s way more to do. And for that I have one or two mentors to talk to, but I can’t overburden them or call on Sunday morning about the things that really matter. Besides, they aren’t in the same company, so a lot of it is lost in translation. And so on a few work issues from this week, there’s nobody to talk to. Parenting is in some ways more lonely than being child-free, because despite having lots of noise and hugs and laughs and togetherness, the time is generally directed at taking care of other people, energy spent getting them what they need, addressing their concerns, stopping their fights. I find satisfaction in that, but not partnership or camaraderie or support. Inspiration, joy, and perspective, sure. But still nobody to talk to.

There’s no right audience for the loud cymbals clanging in my head. So I’m writing. And when I finish I’ll likely read what other people write about either work conflict, divorce, parenting…or loneliness.


So instead of figuring out smart places to turn for mentorship and authentic dialogue, I’m turning to words. It’s a habit and a touchstone to which I turn, but which inevitable leaves me more lonely than I started. Articles have helped some with the work problems, some with the divorce issues, some with the family issues.Writing will likely feel a bit better, too.

But is it actually human to wallow in words, when there are things to do?

Really, what I probably should to do, is just put my head down and try things. And live in the lonely, and get shit done, and do my best, and rest well with that. Being human is being lonely. That’s a fact.

But I don’t like that fact on this fine Sunday morning.

So I need a plan.

I need a plan with people to bounce ideas off. Human connection. I need a plan with a lot of talking.


Doesn’t surprise me that most of my photos have no people. I’d prefer a world with no people. I bring this up in my post about being lonely. I’m confusing.

I could call friends whose perspective I enjoy, whose wisdom in these areas might make me feel less alone in my problems, but that feels like I’m foisting my problems upon them. They’re busy. They’re working on other things. The two with the most relevant work experience have left the corporate world to write. I can talk to them about being lonely, since they’re both divorced and had more than their share of crap in corporate jobs. The three other friends with most insight into human interactions, who can help me understand why other people insist on having human reactions to life instead of just being knowable and reliable…actually, I have no good excuse for not calling them. I want to hear what they’re dealing with lately. Always feels better to know our problems aren’t the only problems in the world.

That is, of course, why I started blogging. Because I didn’t have friends in similar situations, and I wanted to know my problems weren’t different from anyone else’s. But blogging this year feels like whining into the wind, because I already know my frustrations aren’t unique. It feels ridiculous to use this space to complain I have nobody to talk to, so readers old and new can shrug and say, “Yep. Welcome to being human.”

Ugh. Being human is the worst.

I’m going running now. To come up with a plan for addressing problems. And then I’m calling my friends. Because it’s Sunday, and I can talk to them while I declutter and cook.

May all your days be merry and bright, yo.



6 thoughts on “Echo Chamber

  1. Nappy, I’m pickin’ up what you’re puttin’ down. Words are a perfect place to circle around to. And early autumn is also a perfect time to be lonely. Or alone. Or both. The space of being surrounded by the small, loud people and spouses or soon to be ex-spouses, simultaneously being lonely is familiar. Alls I can do is send over some solidarity. And let you know that I’m here in this non-local spot, hearing and reading what your heart and brain are saying, thinking that it’d be way more fun if you lived in Baltimore or I lived in Berkeley. I’m looking forward to hearing about how you prioritized your muck and really, anything else you write. So don’t stop.

    Love, Julie, 2020.

    • 2020, it’s lovely to have found you in this world. And for nigh on a decade I’ve been pleased that writing during naps and counting blessings on tiny hands and feet have brought us together.

      If I remember correctly, the puddle photo was an autumnal piece of art. The loneliness in that image and its later painting has perfect balance of ache and hope. That’s my jam.

      It’s a good time to be lonely and alone. It’s a good thing to sit and just BE lonely and alone. Eye of a hurricane, and all that.

      Cheers, Jizulie. Hope all is delightful this fall in Balmer.

  2. Good Lord, just how moving is this! My heart feels for you. I’m having my share of trivial but disturbing nonetheless situations in my marriage of a year. At times, I want to run away. At times, just vanish and disappear off the face of earth. It’s stifling to no end. So maybe we aren’t sailing on the same ship but why do I feel your pain as mine?

    • Sorry to hear you’ve had a hard year, Asha. Sounds so challenging. We’ve all been in different places at different times, but hearing each other makes us feel less alone, I think. I do really hear you. Trivial on paper doesn’t mean trivial to your sense of well-being. Wishing you strength!

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