Friday, January 11, 2008

Loneliness - No Respector of Persons

Have you read the latest? Tyra Banks in an issue of Essence magazine is quoted as saying, "I'd go to work [on 'The Tyra Banks Show'], and women would be crying in my arms. But then I'd go home and put my key in my door and nothing. No friends, no husband, no children. I feel so full when I'm at work, but so empty when I come home." Reminds me of Whitney Houston singing the song, Run to You, with the words, "I play the role of someone always in control. But at night I come home and turn the key there's nobody there, no one cares for me. What's the sense of trying hard to find your dreams without someone to share it with? Tell me what does it mean?"

Interesting isn't it? Loneliness seems to have no respect for anyone. Doesn't matter if you're a famous gorgeous model, singer, TV or movie star, 18 to 80, or just a 57 year old woman like myself. We all have the same experience, that when we turn the key and enter our homes, loneliness is there waiting for us.

At work I have people who say to me how much they envy the alone time I have and how they wish they could just have some time to themselves. They tell me how lucky I am, but I look at them and think how lucky they are that they have someone waiting for them when they come home. It's easy to dream about some alone time for yourself, such as a day to do what you want, maybe a week away from family and friends to recoup. However, for them it's only a temporary state. They have the knowledge all the time they are alone and away, that when they're done with it and they return home, put the key in the door, there will be somebody there waiting for them. What they don't understand is that for millions of singles who live entirely alone, it's not a temporary existence. It's a daily experience and the stark cold reality that when we get home, put the key in the door, there will be no one waiting for us on the other side. There is a vast difference between being alone and being lonely.

Loneliness has a profound effect on us as humans. UCLA has actually identified through research that loneliness reaches down into some of our most basic internal processes of our body and effects the activity of our genes, that ultimately effects our well being. Yet we live in a strange society where we have rampant divorce, broken relationships, over 96 million singles in the United States, and more lonely people than ever walking around.

After I read about Tyra Banks, I feel somewhat astonished that someone so beautiful that has so much money and fame can be struck with such loneliness herself. Yet it goes to show that even money, beauty, and fame can't buy the most basic need that we all possess as human beings, and that is to be loved.