Skip to content

I Could Use Somebody

I’ve been roamin’ around, always lookin’ down at all I see
Painted faces fill the places I can’t reach
You know that I could use somebody

These are the lyrics from the Kings of Leon hit “I could Use Somebody.” An artist named Lachune slowed it down and sang her own version, and each time I listen to it, I feel connection to her. I lean into why it means so much to be soothed by someone else’s ability to name what often goes unnoticed.  

I talk a lot about loneliness. I think people assume loneliness means a lack of people. It can. It often does. But it also means being in a place (with people) where you don’t feel seen or understood. It seems like if you are lonely, then you are the one at fault. It falls on you, the self-professed lonely person, to address why you are lonely, and how you will fix yourself to have people inviting you to brunch and sharing their social calendar.

For those who wrestle with loneliness, there is often a war waged between allowing yourself to long for others and remembering who chose to walk away. Or those who rejected you when you said “We must make this healthy. This hurts too much (while often being willing to do more than your share of their work)” When your pain is not enough to make someone change their behavior, that leaves you prey to all the ideas about what you must do, and who you must be in order to be UN-lonely.

I have often looked at the world and wondered how people navigate it with such ease when I felt like a walking apology. Easily blamed for shit I didn’t do, always willing to feel sorry for being someone who does not fit the mold of what others find desirable.

Someone like you and all you know and how you speak
Countless lovers under cover of the street
You know that I could use somebody

You know that I could use somebody.

The aftermath of childhood trauma (and its roots) leave us open to suggestions that are not meant for us. The innocence in a child who believes they are at fault for harm done to them translates over and over into these messages about who we are to others. If the others are family members who have abused, neglected, allowed-strangers-to-hurt-and-not-defend, we then continue to find ways to exist in the world with the hopes of never feeling that pain again.

This often leaves us longing for someone (anyone) who is willing to stay. Someone to step down from their normalcy and deal with us and all our too-much-to-ask-for-desires, like being seen and heard.

There are two conversations happening in these relationships. One is the walking apology. The other is the abandonment of ourselves because we are the last people we want to be with. It’s almost like we agree when someone hurts us because we find us unequal too.

Off in the night, while you live it up, I’m off to sleep
Wagin’ wars to shape the poet and the beat
I hope it’s gonna make you notice
I hope it’s gonna make you notice

Someone like me

I am a loner. A lot of people from my past would tell you otherwise, but if you asked them where I was on every holiday, and every weekend night, and during every meal, they would realize I was alone. I did not bring attention to that, because the last thing I wanted was more questions why. I also think people don’t like to think about how much others have hurt in front of them, when they didn’t know.

I have presented well. I have presented success, humor, and I have been a genuine friend with a genuine interest to listen and help. But I have also felt trapped by everything that went on in the early years of my life and felt like I have never known how to navigate people in a way where I was an equal and like I belonged without giving more than I had. 

I did not know how much of that shaped the loneliness I felt later. The abuse from my dad began when I was around 5 years old. I was a cute kid. Kinda small. Quiet. Very much an observer. Also, very sensitive. My dad was from the hills of West Virginia. Those hills and his upbringing never prepared him for fatherhood, much less for a tender-hearted kid who was plagued by empathy. He showed his distaste for me early on. There was a tug I had towards him, because I saw the way he enjoyed my brother, and I was desperate to get that kind of attention from him. 

That tug is the one that still shows up now. Not necessarily in still longing to be with people, but longing to be understood. Wanting other people to imagine how the things they say really get to people and those who feel things deeply, listen, and observe, and take those words and hold them in a place that is full of want because they have not been seen as equal.

This sets us up for how we want for others.

This teaches us that other people have our answers and our self-acceptance. It’s a slippery and false acceptance that their approval is what makes us find relief from that inner turmoil of thinking we do not belong (if we work really hard for it.)

It is beautiful to have safe people. But, how rare for that to be the case for those who, like me, are still coming to terms with the fact that we have built an entire life out of survival and on a foundation with many cracks?

I think the want for others is innocent and necessary. But I think the expectation that they can meet those hurt parts of us where they need to be met, is not realistic.

As hard as it is to remember what was done to so many of us as kids, that is where our return and love and care and celebration-of-their-survival is needed most. To be the person who can touch that open wound with our words and our care—even the way we live our lives.

I walk to the river here in Philly often. It’s a straight shot to my favorite row of park benches, where I often enjoy a book and sunset at the same time. Once I have picked the right spot, I settle with my book. I notice how nice it feels to be around people but have no obligation to talk to them. This is where I feel safest.

I read and read and read and think of the moments my dad read to me as a kid before his violence changed me. I would reach my little hand over and place it on his forearm and with security knowing he was beside me; I would embrace the story he told.

I turn back to my book, and I feel the sun setting above me. I pause.

The wind flows on my face with kind warmth. It tells me I am home, and I need more memories like this.

In this moment, I only want to remember. I want to remember how this feels—the present escape of everything I don’t want to know. The proper distance from the healing to-do list, and the bliss of knowing I am doing something well.

As the wind picks up, with my eyes closed, I breathe in the way it rushes over my body, and I envision that wind taking off all the fears I had that day. The wind moves again, and while my face is tilted to the sunset, I exhale the unnecessary things I heard people say, and the fear I had from thinking I should be a different person or in a different place. The wind takes that away too.

And alas, I think of that little five-year-old boy. The one who was sorry for how he was made. The one who would face many more years of heartache, because the people who brought him into this world were not willing to love him as he was.

And I pledge to him: I remember what you have carried. I will give you room to speak. I will let new days with new memories move your old pain…to you—to us. You are here on this bench, and this next breath is for you…

Someone like me
Someone like me
Someone like me

Someone like you
Someone like you
Someone like you

I’ve been roamin’ around, always lookin’ down at all I see

I’m so glad you all are here!


To make sure you are notified of these new posts, sign up below.

Don't miss a blog post

Sign up below to be notified when there’s a new post.

Join the waitlist