Words We Heard: 'Come one, come all.'

Sometimes loneliness molds itself into a shadow that exemplifies all our superfluously undesired beliefs of unworthiness, self-loathing, and alienation. These thoughts have pressed themselves into various situations: that moment on Instagram, Facebook, or Snapchat when I see a group of friends out who didn’t think to invite me. When asked about it later, the reply is, “Oh my gosh, I wanted to invite you, but I forgot!” or “We got together last minute” or “I’m sorry, it slipped my mind!”

These excuses never make me feel any better. The responding thoughts pop up: Am I forgettable? Are they secretly mad but don’t want to say anything? Was it intentional?

The idea of being forgettable, well, people spend their whole lives striving to be remembered.

Out of everything, the loneliness that comes from being excluded is the feeling I fear most. I’ve had my fair share of these scenarios in life, but I’m under the vain, hopeful impression that possibly everyone else has, too. That in those overwhelming moments of isolation, I’m not entirely alone.

Sometimes, when multiple friends or family members seem to reach success like they reach for a cup of coffee, this fear of desolation kicks in. I can’t help but wonder whether everyone will be partying on their little island, living it up while I’m stranded in a boat of banana leaves struggling to find the shore. If the day comes when everyone races forward with their lives, and I’m still tripping over my feet, I’m honestly not sure what I’ll do. I know I’ll be happy for them, but at the core of it all, I’ll guiltily, irrevocably be harboring the twinge of exclusion.

In all places of the world, women watch as other women make strides towards equality while they are left behind.

These self-pitying feelings don’t get me anywhere; they never have. Except recently, when after a bout of lonesome solitude I thought: If I’m struggling with the difficulties of getting ahead and these feelings of being left behind, then what does every person who hasn’t been granted the same privileges I have feel?

All around the United States, all around the world, there are people with disabilities, people of different colors, ethnicities, religions, languages, political beliefs, genders, sexual orientations, and so much more. Here I am complaining about missing out on a night at Mr. Sushi’s, and yet my identity inherently grants me more opportunities than most. In all places of the world, women watch as other women make strides towards equality while they are left behind. Inclusion isn’t something magical that happens overnight; it’s a decision to make a conscious effort to ensure everyone feels welcome and let them know you care.

My goal is to start small: to maintain connections with people that I love, and ensure they know I care. Whether it be a phone call, a text, or a nice comment on Instagram, I’m vowing to reach out to a new person every day. While it may not change the world if we all do this, it may brighten someone’s day, and cast those shadows of loneliness out of the dark.


  • “According to the NIH, loneliness actually registers as physical pain in the brain. And unfortunately, burnout can often be traced back to one root cause: loneliness. A 2014 study conducted in Britain showed that companionship is the most important thing at work. And a lot of people are missing it.” –Eva Grant in her article on Girlboss
  • “Real progress, by contrast, depends on important actors from different sectors – corporations, civil society associations, government agencies, and hybrid organizations like social enterprises – working together towards a common agenda for solving a specific social problem.” –Marieke Huysentruyt, co-founder of Oksigen Lab and i-propeller focusing on R&D, in an article in Conscious Magazine
  • “You are responsible for teaching other people about equity and inclusion, just the same way someone has taught you. With that though, the struggle is that some people don’t want to learn. And you can’t force everyone to love equity and inclusion, but you can be responsible for advocating it and educating those around you.” –Sinna Habeteselassie, University of Cincinnati student body president, in an interview with Her Campus
  • “It’s difficult to pinpoint just one description of this community-driven, Mariemont-based gym because it’s truly so diverse. It is diverse in everything from the background of those that own it, the offerings, and the clientele. The common theme that acts as the foundation for RHP is a strong dedication to scientific practices and outcomes, and a focus on holistic health and training… Come one, come all.” –Meriden Peters, yoga instructor and founder of Cincy State of Being, in an article about Real Human Performance (RHP)
  • “I believe everyone can be successful, achieve their goals, and live out their dreams. Knowing that someone believes in them can make a huge difference.” –Morgan Owens, founder of Curvy Cardio and Werkbooks, in an interview with Women of Cincy
  • “We want to make sure the facility works for everybody and it’s something we can all be proud of.” –Blake Robison, artistic director of Playhouse in the Park, in a Cincinnati Business Courier article
Lauren Lewis