Lonely in the Night | Teen Ink

Lonely in the Night

September 11, 2015
By Anonymous

When it’s late at night and I’m feeling restless, I open my bedroom window and sit, staring out at the cold grey city landscape. The curtains flap like wings against the windowpane as the wind swirls outside. I look at the speckled buildings, the blotched sidewalks and the shadows stretching along the streets. The streets are isolated except for the occasional stream of light as a taxi dashes by. I sit alone waiting for something to happen in the streets, yet on a cold windy night like this, nothing happens. As I continue to stare outside, alone in my thoughts, time evaporates like sand in an hourglass. I hear the tick of the clock in the background and I feel unsettled. Loneliness appears like an unwelcome visitor every night, leaving me feeling empty.

As a child, I would always dread bedtime. Nighttime, normally a time of relaxation, was terrifying for me. While everyone in my family was asleep, I would lie awake in my bed anxiety ridden with a cloud of bad thoughts floating above my head. Even after falling asleep, the comfort of the night was always ruined by recurring nightmares. It was the same menacing dream that would disturb my sleep  – I was in a dark room with the walls closing in around me and a deep laughter filled the thick, suffocating air. It would cause me to jackknife out of bed with my eyes wide open. Beads of sweat would be covering my forehead and my bed sheets would be tangled around my legs. Every night, I would have this same dream, waking up at odd hours only to find myself surrounded by darkness.

These irrational nightmares were a problem. I know I am not crazy, but the scary dreams I was having were not something that I could share with others. My feelings of fear always were replaced with feelings of loneliness for reasons I did not always fully understand. Was it because I was abandoned as a baby and raised in an orphanage in China? Was it because I used to cry myself to sleep every night and no one would come to console me? I had to face my bad dreams and strange feelings alone, by myself. I usually would get out of bed to calm my nerves. Peering out my window, the only thing I would see would be my reflection looking back at me through the glass. But who was that person looking back at me I would ask. Was it me or someone else? The still of the night and the darkness that accompanied it would leave me feeling incomplete and alone.

Nighttime, for me, was a reminder of how scared and lonely I was deep down inside. These painful feelings probably stem from me being abandoned as a baby. I was always scared of being left alone and worried that the people that I cared for would leave me, just like my birth mother had thirteen years ago. I wonder all the time what my biological mother was like in China and why she had left me at the police station when I was only five days old with a red slip of paper and lucky jade charm tucked into my baby blanket. There are so many unanswered questions and so many unresolved issues feeding my bad dreams. 

Because of my past, I find myself reluctant to trust people. It is hard for me to get close to others for fear of being betrayed, forgotten or left behind. Instead, I’ve built a protective wall around me so I am no longer vulnerable. Even after living a comfortable life with my adoptive family, I am still struggling with getting over my abandonment issues. It’s not that I don’t have anybody to turn to; it’s just that I don’t want to turn to anyone. I want to deal with my problems on my own. I don’t want people to know about my hidden insecurities in that I sometimes feel worthless. There’s a faint voice in the back of my head that tells me that acting this way is a mistake. I shouldn’t continue to feel alone in my problems when there is someone in my family willing to extend a helping hand.

I wonder if it’s worst to feel alone or to feel lonely. And, is being alone and being lonely the same thing? Only one who has felt both can really understand the difference. Being lonely is like the vast sky. It’s endless. It’s not something you can wrap your arms around. It’s unexplainable and indescribable. When you are lonely you are searching for something to fill an emptiness in your life. I suppose, for me, it’s that I never felt that I belonged in my family or my current place. I am like an imposter just standing on the side observing life unfold in front of me. Somehow I wasn’t suppose to live this life – someone was suppose to take my place, and I was suppose to have a different life in China.

Being alone means accepting my past and finding peace with my present situation. I was never satisfied being by myself or alone. When alone, I would feel that I wasn’t worthy enough to be with someone. The question that continues to burn in my mind is, “why did my birth mother give me up?” Why would she, or any mother, leave their child to face life alone? There had to be reasons. These thoughts would cloud my mind every night as I sat by my window.

Two hours have passed now and my eyelids are getting heavy with fatigue. I know I need to get some sleep, as I have been staring out the window looking at nothingness for such a long time. The streets aren’t going to give me answers to why I have these feelings or how I’m going to fix my problem about the bad dreams. It will be morning soon and all these thoughts will subside. I won’t have to think about this until night rolls around again and these thoughts and feelings return, just like every night.

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