Seeking a Friend… Conquering The Fear of Being Alone

To tell you the truth, I think I am weak. Any slight inconvenience, bump in the road, or mistake I make feels like the end of the world. Which reminds me of one of my favorite movies: Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.

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I have struggled with strong feelings of loneliness since as far back as I can remember. Until high school, I never felt like I “clicked” with anyone and felt annoying, which to be honest I was and still am sometimes. But, my whole life I have felt so utterly alone and have attempted to not let it obscure my happiness. However, as I type this after my first day of college, the feeling of isolation has resurfaced.. though maybe it was not buried deep enough to begin with. When I stumbled upon the 2012 film Seeking a Friend for the End of the World a few years back, I was touched. Instantly, the title caught my eye because I have always been fascinated by the idea of the end of the world. It felt so simple to me. If the world ended, I would not have to kill myself to escape all the terrifying responsibilities and tragic instances of life. I am so sorry if that sounds morbid but it is the truth. It was like cheating reality and guilt. The apocalyptic film details Dodge, whose wife leaves him in the midst of the chaos that erupts when it is announced that an asteroid is going to crash into the earth, killing everyone. Around the same time, he finally meets Penny, who lives in the apartment next door and informs him that she has collected several pieces of his incorrectly delivered mail, one of which was sent to him by his high school sweetheart. The two eventually go on a trip to reunite Dodge with his lost lover and get Penny on a flight home to see her family back in England. Now, I cannot say I exactly relate to that plot, but, there was something very soothing about the storyline. You see, Dodge feels alone. His wife has left him, his father has not been in the picture for a long time, and he worries that he is too late to even be with the one person he thinks might still love him. Penny also feels alone in that she has a moronic boyfriend, her entire family is across the pond, and she sees herself as the idiot who waited too long to see them now that there will be no more flights. Hell, at one point, a depressed and unconscious Dodge wakes up in a park to find an abandoned dog tied to him, with a note saying “sorry” on it. Even the dog is alone.

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Or at least, they all think they are alone.

The entire point of the movie is that Dodge and Penny genuinely are not alone and they never have been. Through this journey, they realize they were meant to be in each other’s lives all along. Minutes before impact, Penny says

“I wish I’d met you a long time ago. When we were kids.”

Dodge responds

“It couldn’t have happened any other way. It had to happen now.”

– “But it isn’t enough time.”

“It never would have been.”

Today, my boyfriend will be leaving to another state for college. Sometimes, I find myself angry as to why we waited so long to fall in love. I have gone to the same school as him for seven years. Seven. And yet, we fell in love two months before graduation. Thus, Penny’s desire strikes a chord with me. For so long, I have felt alone and now I found someone who loves me and they are leaving and I wish we would have met sooner. I wish I did not have to say goodbye to someone I love today. I wish I did not have to drive alone to my college campus, the farthest I have driven, without a friend or my mom driving behind/in front of me today. I wish time would slow down. I wish I wish I wish.

But Dodge is right, it had to happen now. Not earlier, not later. I cannot try to maneuver life to treat me the way I want to be treated at the pace I want to be treated at. There is no “perfect” time to confront your independence behind the wheel, no perfect time to say goodbye, no amount of preparation that would have been enough because the fear of the unknown does not simply disappear. Confrontation must strike. So yes, at this moment, right now, I feel weak. I feel like I no longer recognize my life or the events happening in it. And I wish I could stop crying at the thought of change. Why does everyone seem so “together” while I am falling apart at the seams, clinging to imaginary stories to comprehend my own sense of reality?

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My greatest mistake is my own thinking because as it turns out, I am not weak. And I am most certainly not alone. I am blessed to have the friends that I do by my side, to have a family who cares for me, to have someone who loves me, even though they will be miles away. I have to get it through my thick skull that other people feel this way too. Other people feel just as scared. Other people feel just as unprepared. And feeling scared and unprepared does not make me weak it just makes me human. Sometimes I need a second to just break down in tears because yes life is scary but I do not have to conquer it on my own. It is not just me against the world. And it most definitely is not the end of the world.

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-Ariana Martinez (A.M.)

I do not own these pictures.

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