Lena Dunham Opens Up About Loneliness 5 Months After Split from Jack Antonoff
"Even if some people like to be alone, nobody likes to be lonely. It’s been the subject of more art than can be consumed in a lifetime, the human aversion to loneliness and also the way we attune ourselves to it, become entrenched in a routine that isolates us," writes Lena Dunham
“I used to love solitude. I considered it luxurious, a state in which fantasy and reality mixed and my world took on the mystical potency of a solstice gathering of nude witches,” Dunham, 31, writes in a piece for Vogue released Friday.
“Even if some people like to be alone, nobody likes to be lonely. It’s been the subject of more art than can be consumed in a lifetime, the human aversion to loneliness and also the way we attune ourselves to it, become entrenched in a routine that isolates us,” she writes in the piece. “Too much has been said about the way technology allows us to experience the illusion of connection and retreat further into hermetic patterns, but it bears repeating that texts, emails, Facebook pokes, and Twitter faves do not a social life make. People are, it would seem, lonelier than ever and also less used to being alone.”
In January, after more than five years together, Dunham and Antonoff went their separate ways — a painful, yet necessary decision.
“The finality nearly killed me,” she admits.
And throughout the five months that the former A-list couple has been broken up, Dunham has had to once again discover the joy of spending time alone — which has been a months-long and emotional process.
“I looked into my recent past and tried to remember such a time — sitting alone in an Indian restaurant spooning paneer onto my plate unmolested, or wearing my summer dress outside a café as I pored over the paper — and I was completely unable to locate an image of it,” she says.
“It was that pesky six-year relationship and the habits of someone unused to venturing out without a companion’s prodding. For an exquisite moment, rather than mourn the loss of my partner, I mourned the loss of my bravery. I used to have no problem staring into the face of the hostess when I said, ‘Just one for dinner, thank you,’ ” she continues.
But through small, continual steps — including include solo bath times and reading and eating alone — Dunham got back to a place of embracing time by herself.
“Finally, four months after the end, I found myself spending a weekend in the country, and I stepped outside and away from my companions, onto a gravel path, and in the dimming pink of the sunset I began along my way,” she writes.
“It was simple — one foot in front of the other, hands swinging at my sides — but I thought, rather dramatically, I will remember this moment all my life,” Dunham writes.
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RELATED VIDEO: Lena Dunham and Jack Antonoff Split After More Than Five Years Together
Following their “amicable” split, Dunham revealed in the March issue of Vogue that she underwent a total hysterectomy last year. She discussed the procedure and the outpouring of “overwhelming” and “heartening” support that she’s received from fans in an emotional Instagram post, aligning the experience to her breakup.
“I have a broken heart and I hear those don’t mend overnight,” she wrote. “But we are linked forever by this experience and our refusal to let it hold any of us back from even the grandest dreams.”
In her Vogue piece, Dunham chronicled the hysterectomy process from start to finish, explaining that she made the decision in the hopes of ending her crippling endometriosis-related pain. After “desperately” trying to manage a “new level of pain” from August to November, Dunham said she finally checked herself into the hospital and refused to leave “until they stop this pain or take my uterus.”
Dunham said the situation wasn’t easy on the former couple.
“My beautiful partner, who has seen me through so much pain with compassion and care, has to be away for work, and I can feel us growing slowly apart, since life is so determined to display its full complexity right now,” she wrote in Vogue. “I am surly and distant. I offer nothing.”
“He reminds me again and again that I am still a woman and still alive,” she continued. “But I also know that soon — for so many reasons that have nothing to do with my uterus — we’ll slip away from each other and I will face everything I am losing in impossibly tiny step.”