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When was the last time you felt really, truly lonely?

It has truly been over a quarter of a century since I have felt really, truly lonely. Before then, I remember a few times where I felt devastatingly lonely and it hurt to the core. When loneliness hits, it really gets you to the foundation of your being; I remember questioning the universe as to why it was so difficult for others to love me for me and why was I so defective in their eyes. I remember not understanding what others had that I didn’t; these questions, doubts and self-recriminations happened mostly during adolescence, but my first year at college away from home was really brutal. My suitemates all turned on me because I had inadvertently hurt one suitemate’s feelings; her name was Elise and the others since day one, could barely tolerate her; when the school year had started, her boyfriend broke up with her and eventually she had stopped crying and moping. Fast forward to April and her ex-boyfriend asked me if I would share a round trip bus ride to N.Y because coincidentally we were both going to the same place at the same time. I said yes, thinking nothing of it, everything was amicable but on the way back up a few kisses were shared and that was it. For some reason the suitemates decided that I had broken a sacred rule of girlhood and I was tossed to the wolves. I was basically shunned until the end of the school year in my suite and that pushed me back home, back to civilization and the safety of my home. The minute that I came back home, my loneliness lifted and all was right in the world; for the most part.

Throughout these experiences, what I had found helpful were books. Books saved my life, my mind and my heart. I found knowledge, new worlds, other perspectives and non-judgemental, dependable friends. I can’t imagine a world without books.