In the throes of Solitude

Keyukemi Ubi
7 min readJun 25, 2023

Ohayo! Welcome back!

I decided to learn Japanese recently. All the million and one things I had to do and learn weren’t exciting enough; I just had to pick up Japanese. If this is my first piece you are reading, ‘Dou zo yoroshiku!’ meaning Nice to meet you!’

This may be my most vulnerable piece yet. This is not the real me.

Okay, I am kidding; it is the real me, but not the entirety of me—just a glimpse into an idea and my human experience.

I thought long and hard about whether to write this piece or not. It's mainly because it goes against everything we preach in the hard girls club (I might get kicked out for this). But a little more honesty and vulnerability wouldn’t hurt, would it? Oh well, it might. Who cares? You don’t know where I live, so I think I will be okay.

Also, I have a reputation for saying things many people would rather not say because they are scared, ashamed, and worried about what the world would think of them. Not that I don’t feel these things. I feel fear and worry (a lot). Well, I am a bit shameless, but that’s beside the point; I just say fuck it to all of those feelings and do what I want regardless.

A friend once said this about me: “I find how you’re given to vulnerability very interesting. I’d feel emotionally safe with someone like you.” It's one of the best compliments I have ever gotten because I value vulnerability, especially with closely knitted connections.

Oh crap! Let’s get on with it, shall we?

I like being alone

I have always felt alone. I first voiced my inherent ‘Aloneness’ in Black, White, and Specks of Colors. I am still shocked that this was my first essay this year, and now I am writing essay number 11. I know! I know! I am amazed by my consistency as much as you are.

Yelp, Sorry for the digression. I had to pause for a minute to praise myself.

I grew up feeling different. In every environment I have been, I have always known there was something atypical about me. I worked as hard as I could to fit in, though. What it was, I couldn’t quite place my hands on it until recently. I talk a little about this in my last essay — in defense of the hermits.

Due to this inherent feeling, I have always felt comfortable alone. A lot of times, it gets very upsetting when people try to disrupt my alone time. So, I am incredibly comfortable with being alone.

At some point in my life, when I realized that I began to grow scared of being alone, I knew I needed a recalibration. Something in me had been fundamentally broken. Glad I fixed that!

Friedrich Nietzsche (allegedly) said, “My solitude doesn’t depend on the presence or absence of people; on the contrary, I hate who steals my solitude without, in exchange, offering me true company.”

I think that it is vital to have companionship. We all need it; we all desire it. But in your search, you must ensure that it is the truest company, not one simply depriving you of solitude.

So, even with all my love for being alone, I don’t want to be lonely. Even when I want to be alone, I want to be alone with my person.

A picture of two people holding hands

Being Lonely Sucks

I like to say there’s a difference between being alone and feeling lonely. Learning to be alone and embracing solitude makes it easier to manage loneliness. But many people are lonely. I know we all scream about being single and happy.

But please, let's be for real.
Being Single is the absolute ghetto.
It’s so razz! So ratchet!
*sniffs and blows into a tissue*

Do you mean I don’t have anyone to call at random hours to complain about stubbing my toes? Yikes! Welp!

The problem is, for some reason, we are ashamed to admit that we are lonely. I can understand why. No one wants to be perceived as desperate or pathetic. But desiring companionship is an innate human desire that we all have, even the most hermit-like persons.

Even a Sheldon needs an Amy (This a vibe check, you are a real one if you pass)

A screenshot of my music player playing Falling behind by Laufey
I have an excellent musical taste. You should listen to the songs as background music when reading.

The other day one of my friends tweeted about “wanting their person fr fr,” and we piled on laughing. They have a history of being anti-commitment, but for a moment, I thought they might be serious. I think we all get to the point where we realize that we don’t want to be alone.

In Falling Behind, Laufey sings about how everyone around her seems to be happily in love, even the sun is engaged to the sky, and she seems to fall behind as she grows old. I get it; I felt it!

I have news for you. This feeling worsens as we age. If you live in an African society like mine and worse, if you are a woman, you will never hear the last of it. Everyone will take every opportunity to remind you that your eggs are rotting like procreation is your only reason for existing (rolling my eyes, kissing my teeth). No matter your level of achievement, it's only worthwhile once you have a partner.

A few weeks ago, while chatting with a friend, they said something about using your friendships to fill the hole of loneliness. I get it, support it in fact. But the truth is, it's not the same. I have quite some friends, the best ones, and more than anything; I recognize the importance of friendship and community in combating loneliness. But again, it is not the same as the companionship of a lover.

I think every one of our connections has a vital role. Understanding the role you play in the lives connected to you helps everyone to manage expectations. There is your gym buddy, the gossip partner, the hangout friend, a work-wife, a study buddy, the bawl-eyes-out friend, and the ask-for-advice parent-like friend. Everyone one of these people plays their role as you do in their lives.

I have a best friend. I have threatened her several time to not even think about saying she is marrying her best friend during her wedding speech. I know she won’t marry me, but I am not letting anyone take my best friend position.

But the lover is different. They somehow manage to be all this and more mashed up into one marvellous cornball. I guess that’s why it's different, and no matter how much and how close our friendships are, it never fills that hole.

We accept the love we think we deserve.

Having companionship is such a vital part of our existence that people are willing to put up with the most dire situations to keep any semblance of it- no matter how disingenuous.

Many people use others to pass the time because they don’t want to feel lonely. So they are in a situation of “I like you but not enough.” I hate emotional dishonesty because at least one person eventually gets hurt, but I guess it is what it is.

It’s okay to admit that you want to be held. That you want someone to text when they stub their toes. It's alright that you want someone to tell you about the rancid colleague at their workday's end. So you can both badmouth them and give the colleague passive-aggressive side eyes at the office Christmas party. I guess mundane times like this are what make life worth it.

But it takes even more courage to wait patiently and sort through the rubble of humans (cos there are really despicable people in this world. Yes, I am judging) to find the love you deserve.

Many stories exist of people settling for the most available option because they fear loneliness. It seems like such a sad affair, don’t you think?

I think if you are going to be shackled by someone all your life, It should be someone that is absolutely sprung, right? To be sprung is to be “Utterly infatuated with someone; completely taken over by romantic interest.” I like to use the word sprung because I think ‘in love’ doesn’t cut it.

Everyone deserves to be with people that are undoubtedly sprung on them. Makes it all worth it, No?

On the internet, I see people (especially Men) scream bloody murder about desiring respect above all else in a romantic partnership. It makes me squeal in laughter. Is respect going to give you warm and reassuring hugs when it feels like your world is falling apart? Will respect hold your hand and help you get back on your feet when you are feeling lost? You are strong now, but you will not always be, and that is why we must love and be loved- entirely and undoubtedly because you get this and much more in love and companionship.

The point of this essay is to encourage the lonely ones to accept their real feelings and feel no shame. To lend them the courage to admit that this is how you feel openly. It doesn’t mean you are desperate or pathetic. It is a valid part of your existence.

And if or when you choose someone, they must genuinely and entirely be your person. The one that gets you and understands you more than anyone else. I hear it is a phenomenal feeling. Please refrain from asking questions; I am simply telling what I have heard.

Lastly, I wish you good luck in your search because when you do, you will be one of the luckiest people in the world.

Keyu 🖤

Ps: This is the playlist.