When I sat down to write this column, which is my last for the Daily Tar Heel, I decided to re-read my first piece, “SOS: I have a crush!” Reading it again transported me back to the day I wrote it. I was at my beloved Open Eye Cafe, half-expecting my crush to walk in at any moment. I remember imagining him reading my column and realizing he felt the same way. He would become so overwhelmed by my eloquent words that he would have to ask me out.
But that didn’t happen. To this day, I have no idea if he did read it. Despite many conversations since, he’s never mentioned it. Nor have I.
There is something wondrously bittersweet about getting a version of what you wanted. I wrote that piece wanting a relationship, expecting my big, bold, romantic gesture to be greeted with one equally exceptional. But, alas, my expectations were not realized.
My columns have allowed me to share very specific experiences in the hope of illuminating something universal. All I’ve ever wanted to do with my writing is connect — whether it’s with a crush, a friend, or even someone I’ve never met. Writing this column has taught me life rarely follows the chapterly rhythms of my favorite romance novels. No matter how hard I try, my emotions do not obey the comforting story structure of beginning, middle, and end. Over time, I’ve become grateful that they don’t. Because it’s given me the greatest gift: a story to share.
There is a quote from my favorite show "Girls," in which its protagonist, Hannah Horvath, says: “I want to write stories that make people feel less alone than I did. I want to make people laugh at the things in life that are painful.” I don’t think I’ve ever felt more understood than when I heard Hannah utter those words.
Five weeks ago, I sat down at Linda’s with my friends Corey and Carolyne. As the end of senior year loomed, they asked how I wanted to spend our final weeks. They looked with expectant eyes, anticipating a crazy bucket list. Instead, I said: “I want to spend less time alone.”
College can be a very lonely place. I think if we were all more honest with each other we’d admit to spending far more nights in bed wondering if everyone is hanging out without us than we do actually going “out” in Chapel Hill (whatever that means). The entire reason I wanted a boyfriend was because I thought people in relationships didn’t feel lonely. Obviously, that’s not true. We all feel lonely. I don’t think there’s ever going to be a cure for loneliness. But through sharing our stories, we can connect. I hope this column has done that. I hope it has made you feel less alone — it has for me.
So, thank you for reading.
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