If I’m awake while alone at home in the strange hours between midnight and sunrise, the aches in my heart and racing thoughts consume my entire being. They creep in at night when there is nothing to distract me; no social events, no new book to read, not even a show to binge.

Maybe that’s why I’ve begun staying out until 3 or 4 am on weekends since moving to the city. Maybe that’s why I’ve begun distracting myself as much as possible.

If there were a surgery I could undergo or a pill I could take to magically erase my desire to be a friend to everyone and loved by all, I would take the opportunity without a second thought. It’s exhausting caring so much for other people when it’s a one-sided act.

It’s exhausting caring so much about everything and everyone.

When I lived in the country, sometimes I’d lay on a blanket in the grass and stare at the stars and try to imagine what it would be like to wake up reincarnated into the body of a person who didn’t absorb pain the way I do.

I fall in love easily, but not just romantically. I fall in love with places, friendships, and memories.

When I left Connecticut for New York City, I thought I’d never look back. But now I find myself shedding tears over the memories I made there. What I once viewed as a painful time in history and a place I couldn’t wait to leave behind, I now look back upon fondly and sometimes with deep regret.

This is nothing new, however; I remember sitting on the carpet of my childhood bedroom in Alabama at age ten, watching the family videos my dad had recorded on VHS; videos of my older brother and I playing and laughing together as toddlers and small children. Even at age ten, I knew something in the bond with my big brother had gone amiss, as we were no longer as close as we had once been in the past. I recall shedding tears over those home videos and praying to God, “Please, please God, let me wake up tomorrow as a baby in Houston again. I’ll fix my relationship with my brother. I’ll be good enough for him to still love me.”

I can tell you now at age twenty-eight that my brother and I will never be close, but I no longer blame myself, because it’s not my fault. He chose a long time ago not to connect with me, or even our parents. From what I can tell, he doesn’t care about people the way I do. I try to connect with as many people as possible.

No matter how hard you love a person, no matter how kind and warm and open you are towards them, sometimes people are incapable of loving you back.

It hurts to think that someone you care for or even love will never care for or love you; that someday, you will leave this world, and they won’t even miss you.

If you struggle with this pain the way I do, my advice is to distract yourself from these thoughts by spending time with people who do cherish your existence. Or distract yourself by pursuing your passions, and chasing the events that bring you joy. Remember that not everyone will love you, and that’s okay.

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