Friday, April 13, 2007

Ad Astra Per Aspera: The Lonely March

Four years ago, when I was doing my undergrad thesis, I floated a number of requests among researchers who specialize on the subject loneliness through email. Only one responded and he was Prof. Dan Russell the main author and developer of the UCLA Loneliness Scale. His first response was based on a general inquiry of mine, which is to know the fundamentals on the subject. He gave me copies of his two researches (1) on the validity and reliability of the UCLA Loneliness Scale as a measure of loneliness across cultures; and (2) a classic research on the history of loneliness studies in the US. I was overwhelmed by his response. This gave me the cue to pursue my desired area of study. Such acquaintance further led to his approval to my unassuming request of using the UCLA Loneliness Scale in my research. In his letter dated July 31st 2003, he prompted the utilization of the scale in its entirety.

I was deeply indebted to him. After four years, I accidentally stumbled upon the green-bounded output dusting underneath stacks of papers in a forlorn brown box that smells very timeworn. My name was etched in gold. I opened it and read the acknowledgment. I suddenly felt melancholic. . .It read:

“Be able to be alone. Lose not the advantage of solitude.”

I have endured the four years in college always sitting at the back seat or at every corner at the pleasure of the birds perched on the pine trees or the blank wall. I have endured this almost unbearable part of life talking mostly to myself about how a grueling day tired my being; about how stupid I’ve become; my inadequacies as a person. I have endured living this life alone. It is a hard decision o choose this life and it is equally difficult to always turn things to my advantage.

Being solitary is good. In my case, it let me learn how to battle my own self. It carried me to a journey of self-discovery. For who knows more than your inner self knows. One just needs to find that inner self in many cases, through the wisdom provided by others or just by the beauty of ugliness;: the beauty of failing an exam; of embarrassment; of disordered thinking; of endless misfortunes. But it is an utter hypocrisy to say that there is no loneliness in being alone.

Mine has been painful.

But I have already learned to accept this condition for “life” only begins when you are able to find yourself in others.

* * *

I would like to thank a number of persons who helped me along the way:

To Prof. Russell for trusting the motives of a complete stranger.

To Evelyn for lending me money when I am in dire need of it.

To Karryl, Heather, Lovely & Tiff. How I cherished your company.

To Dhina for the friendship.

To Romar & Jeff for the unforgettable adventures in that poverty-stricken flat.

To Prof. Hamada for my free handouts on child development.

To Prof. Liezl for letting me feel that I can go as high as average if I want to. Thank you for being a teacher to a troubled student.

To Ms. Rozel for her patience and trust. I regret not being able to sit in one of your classes.

To Ma’am Anavic for giving me an ultimatum to graduate and use her gift; for being proud of me during that speech.

To Manag Pen, my mentor; For helping me land a job and her endless advices. Thank you for nurturing me.

To Badz for saving my life thrice.

To Manang Le, my comrade in battle, my hero.

To Nanay Ket, Manang Mel Lyn, Mike and Mark who patiently waited for this final moment.

And to Our Lord for responding to a letter I sent Him on a stormy night.

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