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February 2016

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A woman sits centerstage. Maybe she's on a sidewalk. It doesn't really matter. People pass by, none really making eye contact or connecting with her in any way.

Woman: I feel lonely quite a lot. Someone quite good at reading people once told me I'm the kind of person who feels alone in a crowded room, and he was right. I struggle to connect or feel connected to others. I took a quiz about love languages and mine are touch and quality time, respectively, almost to the exclusion of everything else. And it makes sense. I have always been touchy-feely, even with friends, and with the exception of a few people I've really clicked with, it's hard for me to feel close to someone if I don't see or spend time with them regularly. I've always opted for quality of friends rather than quantity, and I can't have a successful romantic relationship with someone who isn't willing to indulge my need to hug, kiss, cuddle, caress, and hold hands. Add to this the fact that I never had friends growing up and got accustomed to spending evenings along by myself, and well...

Maybe that's one of the things I loved about performing: not only the emotional catharsis but the sense of connection I felt seeing (and often touching) the same people every night for rehearsal and even usually during the day in class. I struggle with feeling that I am somehow needy or clingy or codependent, and I wish it didn't make me so depressed when I find out friends have made plans without me or someone has to cancel at the last minute. I struggle with feelings of insecurity and I don't want to need the validation and attention of others as much as I sometimes do. I just want to feel wanted and appreciated and loved. I want to know I am important to the people who are important to me, and if they aren't speaking my love languages, I find it really difficult to do so. Especially in romantic relationships my feelings can get hurt very easily if plans fall through or the other person doesn't return my expressions of physical affection.

I don't know how to feel secure in knowing that someone cares if they don't show it - again, with a few exceptions. It hurts me to feel I want to spend more time with someone than they care to spend with me and I am realizing that in my head I equate the amount of time spent together with the amount they care, which may not be how they see things on their end. I just want to feel I am loved as much as I love, and I don't always. I take things far too personally sometimes. If I care about someone I want to share my life with them, and sometimes I feel that I often think about what I want to do more than I actually get to do it. I'm tired of living in my head. I want to experience my life instead of feeling I am always forced to wait for the other person to come to me. When I make plans I follow through and I expect others to do the same.

Maybe that's the problem. I expect. Maybe I expect too much from others, even if I don't expect more than I am willing to do myself. Not everyone shares my fierce loyalty and devotion or can be expected to. I don't know how to not attach or invest emotionally in others, though sometimes I think it would be easier or healthier if I could learn to care less. I place too much value on my perceptions of how others feel about me, but I don't know how to stop wanting to be wanted. I thrive on connection and will sacrifice almost anything for someone when and if I think they care. That can't be healthy, but I don't know how to change. If I love someone, I want to be near them - emotionally and physically. Maybe that's selfish because it's not always possible, and I'm strangely terrible at maintaining telephone contact with those who are geographically distant. I still love those who are far from me, but I have to love them differently when my preferred means of expressing that love are not possible. It only kills me when quality time and physical touch are possible and still don't occur. I can handle being hundreds or thousands of miles away from someone and not talking as often as I'd prefer, but if you're just across town and our paths still don't cross as often as I'd like, that I take personally. I want others to invest in me as much as I am willing to invest in them, but perhaps I give too much. I don't know how to know.