By: Tim De Pass
If you ask a ten people for their definition of loneliness you may get ten different answers. Someone may feel lonely in a large group while others think of loneliness as staying at home by yourself. It all relies on the persons perception of their own comfort. But the point is everyone feels lonely at some point or another. Yes, some may feel it more frequently, but it is a completely regular human emotion. No matter how bleak that may sound, there can be some solace in that thought. This is what the creators, and contributors, of the Loneliness Project are exhibiting.
The first chapter of a digital project called An Imperfect Archive of Us, the Loneliness Project is attempting to destigmatize loneliness through sharing personal stories of loneliness in their online community. Anyone is free to share their personal experience of loneliness or you can read the numerous stories from others. At first glance, an online website sharing people’s stories about loneliness seems incredibly depressing. However, this online community goes farther in hope by conveying that loneliness is a natural human emotion and that’s okay. Even though the focus is on the feeling of loneliness, reading these collections of stories create a sense that we are not truly alone. There is a connectedness and comfort in reading similar stories about the parts of ourselves that we hide from others.
Marissa Korda, a Toronto based graphic designer, begun this initiative with an ask for anonymous stories from people around the world. The stories began to flood in and the project took off. In an interview with The Guardian, Korda says “Facebook is a happiness project. Instagram is a happiness beauty project. We need more projects that talk about how life is happy, and it’s also lonely and it’s sad.” So much of the internet can be unbearably lonesome. The Loneliness Project creates a more wholesome view of human emotion. It walks the delicate line of demonstrating the natural human aspect of loneliness while also expressing hope for others that we are not truly alone in our seclusion.
Loneliness can be a vast and blanketing state. It can feel like it covers your entire town and no matter where you go or who you see it is inescapable. It is when you don’t know if you are lost in a dream of just the silence of the moment. The Loneliness Project turns that idea inwards. It shifts the mind to find comfort in that feeling of isolation. This online community serves as a place of security in solitude, a place where you can find hope in that vast darkness. The Loneliness Project expresses that we are not truly alone. It never gets too dark to find anybody at any time.