Hidemi’s Rambling by Hidemi Woods

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

Loneliness Is My Norm hr635

on October 17, 2020

The nearest grocery store from my home is a 25-minute walk away. That small local store carried a sale on eggs at one dollar for ten. I walked there with my partner to get them. Since my town is so small and rural, there are usually almost no pedestrians on the streets. Except that cars are passing by sparsely, I hardly see anybody. But on our way back home from the grocery store, I saw a woman standing by a field and watching wild flowers. It was rare to see someone on the street. As I was getting closer, I perceived her looking at me with her face filled with a big smile that was totally familiar to me. I knew her.
She used to be a resident in the apartment building where I live. We often came across and shared some time together at the communal spa in the building. She is much older than I am, but we somehow got along well and chatted heartily every time we saw each other at the spa. About six years ago, she moved out of the apartment to the different one in the same town. I unexpectedly felt so sad because I had regarded her as if part of my family unconsciously since we met and talked almost everyday. However, when I saw her for the last time and she tentatively hinted her suggestion to exchange contact information and invite me to her new place, I just chickened out and dodged a reply. I wavered tremendously but didn’t have courage to step into a new friendship. We parted without even asking each other’s names. The spa had become quiet ever since. Occasionally from nowhere, a thought about how she has been doing came up to my mind while I was taking a bath with no one to chat. I regretted my decision not to be friends with her. I missed her more than I had thought.
And I saw her again after those years by this incredible coincidence. I jumped for joy to have bumped into her like this. Her big smile and loud laughter hadn’t changed a bit and she told me how she had been doing. After we chatted for a while, I sensed the time to say good-bye again was approaching. And I was swallowed by one single thought: Should we exchange contact information this time? I ran through a scenario in my head. If I asked her info here, she would expect me to get in touch later. Then if I got in touch with her, she would invite me to her place. Then if I went to see her, she would expect me to invite her back in my place next time. Then if we found little left to talk about, we would be distant gradually. Then if it broke off, I would regret my contact exchange of today retrospectively. While I was trying to see the future, she also tried to judge my feelings and tentatively brought up a plan to see each other again, like deja vu. The time to decide had come.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


I had missed her. I had wanted to be friends with her. I made a wrong decision last time and this could be the second chance falling from the sky. On the other hand, I had too many bitter experiences about friendship and wanted to add no more. I felt harsh loneliness every time I lost friendship. The closer my friend and I were, the harder it was to be estranged. I tend to have high hopes and expect too much for someone I make friends with, that usually leads to painful disappointment when she or he doesn’t meet my expectation. I had had many friends and lost them. For me, getting along well isn’t enough to build friendship. I need to respect someone as a friend. People change. Once I can’t respect my friend any longer, my friendship is over. I also need to be accepted as who I am. That’s why most of my friends left me when I decided to become a musician. I wonder how I could ever start a new friendship as long as I know how I would feel when it ends. Disappointment would be huge this time all the more because I like her. I couldn’t bear the loneliness it would bring.
Since I was a child, I have struggled to escape from loneliness. I had searched for someone to get along, thought I found one, and realized I didn’t. Repeating the cycle had accumulated loneliness. I reached the point to afford no more loneliness long ago. But in the course of my life, I’ve got the solution. I think loneliness may be overestimated and it’s not so bad if you see it from a different perspective. Sometimes loneliness is freedom. Sometimes it’s self-esteem. It works for me to stop looking for the way not to be lonely, but accept to be lonely instead. To fend off loneliness, be lonely already.
I didn’t ask her contact information and neither did she mine after all. We said our good-byes without giving names again. We waved and resumed our ways in opposite directions. Immediately the blame on her crossed my mind that she should have pressed on our contact exchange. If she had cornered me and I had had no choice, I could have told. Why didn’t she simply ask me so that I could answer? No, I reconsidered, it was better as it went. I felt her kindness more than ever not to ask me and walked on with holding a lot of fresh eggs.


30 responses to “Loneliness Is My Norm hr635

  1. Your story is so uniquely Japanese, something I have seen and experienced every day of my 47 years with my wife, who is from Japan and whom I affectionately call the “Alpha Japanese Female.” This post illuminates the stark contrast between the Japanese and American ways of dealing with relationships. Hers involves so much deliberation, so many considerations, so much angst and doubt whereas my approach would be, “Come on over and have a beer and let’s catch up on things.” It’s a wonder we are still together 😀. Keep writing your tales, Hidemi-san, I enjoy them a lot.

  2. Brian Hardin says:

    Great story! Your experience reminds me of a Franz Kafka quote. “He was irresistibly drawn to new acquaintances, but every new acquaintance left him wearier than ever.” Really love the honesty in this post. Thanks!

  3. thoughtsofmercy says:

    Heeey

  4. I feel the same way about dogs. It’s so heartbreaking when they leave you that you’re tempted not to have another one; but I’ve never given in to that temptation, and the joy they bring far outweighs the heartbreak.

    • Hidemi Woods says:

      Thank you for sharing your feeling with me. May be I underestimate the joy friendship brings, or get overwhelmed too much by the heartbreak. Interesting. Thanks again!

  5. Hi Hidemi,
    I liked and appreciated your post very much and I really do understand where you are coming from.
    We are all very unique in every way although I recently have suffered from periods of loneliness after my partner of nearly 6 years left me. I am really not used to my own company and have had to adapt in many ways.
    I do believe though that as human beings we overthink and analyse each and every interaction that we have.
    I am a great believer in the principle of people coming into and going out of our lives for a reason. On occasion I have found that it is to teach me something and that has been painful on many different levels although sometimes it is because that person can enrich our lives.
    Since my partner left me I have encountered several different people some of whom have left me lost and bewildered and even feeling a little used, others though have blessed my life in the short time that I have known them, they have opened my eyes to many different opportunities and experiences.
    I would say meet new people, experience what they have to offer, expect nothing more than what you feel you can offer each other and get to know them.
    In these unique and unprecedented times we all feel uncertain and scared about what the future might bring but just spending a little time with someone might make all the difference to them in their lives. 🙏🤗

    • Hidemi Woods says:

      I’m glad you liked my post and grateful for your comment. I agree with you that every interaction occurs for a reason, and tries to teach something. We surely suffer sometimes, but I believe a painful experience teaches big, so that we grow deeper. You are right, we shouldn’t underestimate a ripple effect to others we encounter, should we? Thank you again, and best wishes.

  6. How well I understand on so many levels. My husband died almost four years ago. Learning to be single again, trying to make friends with people who are couples, trying to deal with people who are short term friends, its all a learning curve. The lonely feelings, are strength building exercises now. I did enjoy your write.

    • Hidemi Woods says:

      I’m so glad I was able to share the feelings with you on what I wrote. You taught me that loneliness makes us stronger. I’m sorry for your loss. I hope those who you newly interact bring joy, big and small, into your new chapter of life. Thanks for your comment! Best wishes.

  7. Dominic says:

    Dear Hidemi,

    I write you for two reasons, about you, and about me.

    I am angry because I too fear rejection. My mother threatened weekly since I was seven that she would kill herself.

    Reading about you just awakes so many feelings.

    I believe you can always reconnect with a person that you had a relationship with, if they have not moved on in their lives.

    I usually sleep from 2100 to 0230, being awoken by bad energy from my family, take some pills and sleep to 06-08.

    My other story is about synchronicity. I am obsessed with cars, and specially Japanese cars, Toyota being a dream. My family won’t give me money but I keep up pressing. So today, when I applied the family value of discipline and filled up my motorcycle, I met a person that had the Toyota Prado VX that I want. He showed me, and sent me to a Toyota event, and I got good information. Of course my uncle’s energy was there, and it was unpleasant. His world is cold, and I became so cold, lonely etc, that you read on my blog. I just started yesterday.

    Another thing, you write really well. I suffered a lot learning to write.

    • Hidemi Woods says:

      Thank you for your comment. I hope my post didn’t awake too many unpleasant feelings for you, because we in this world are abundant with them already, aren’t we? As for me, although I’m an avid fan of Formula One racing, I don’t have a car nor have a driver’s license and don’t have interest in ordinary cars! I appreciate your kind words for me. Try to just sleep. I do wish you have a good night sleep, if not tonight, then someday.

  8. Beautiful. Loved the reading 🍀🍀🌼🙏

  9. Hidemi-san, Very well written, thank you for sharing. I understand this totally, I really do. I can count on one hand the amount of close “Best Friends” I have had over the years, and like the Japanese way, I really find it hard to really commit to a relationship, to make a close friend. But I feel that you are so right, and I am guessing those same thoughts crossed her mind has well, what happens if… Never speak again. I totally get this, but unless you are like me and find it hard to talk to others, small talk, which I am guessing you are not, there will always be something to talk about, always, especially if you have things in common. But you will never know, and a once a week catch up, just standing by the flowers for an hour or two, would that work? Not saying invite around, just saying, one piece of advice, from experience over 50 years, it hurts to lose friends, even more so close friends or Partners, but sometimes exchanging details is worth it, just take it slow and not every day.
    Blessings to you and Yours Hidemi-san

    Dave

    • Hidemi Woods says:

      Thank you for your comment. I’m glad you totally understand what I wrote and I was able to share with you how I feel about loneliness. Your kind words and advice warmed my heart. Thanks again!

  10. read your article some time ago. Just happen into this place as well. I like that part when married couples sat together and don’t talk at all!

  11. Thanks for sharing your wonderful writing.

  12. This was a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing. 😉

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