First and foremost, I would like to thank those who have sent me such warm, supportive messages–they are like medicine to me. Please accept my apologies for not responding to you each individually, but I should announce this at the start, before I hurt anyone and before anyone gets hurt: I am a bungling, hopelessly hapless Luddite. I don't yet know how to maneuver this tricky contraption y'all call a PC on that there internets. Okay, I'm not quite that behind,and I am trying to catch up withmodern times (or at least the 1990s), and Iwill respond when I learn how to do so.

I had a feeling you exceptional people were out there, but I have given up hope of ever finding you until now. I knew that somewhere (or, actually, in many somewheres in different parts of the world), I had a nation to which I belonged, and brother and sister Lonerists, thank God I have found you at last. And we are in some pretty good company because some of the most brilliant thinkers of all time have found themselves completely alone and have also despaired of this condition. Spinoza was ex-communicated for thinking differently (and ingeniously); Kierkegaard, Jaspers,and Nietzsche often wrote achingly of their isolation and failure to fit in, just like us. Their writing–and countless others'–obliterate the first myth about Lonerists, i.e., that we WANT to be alone. Anyone who has ever truly experienced isolation would not make such a claim.

Several quotes from the lyrics of two of my favorite artists–Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen –often trickle through my brain's hallways: Bruce sings in "Hungry Heart": "Don't make no difference what nobody says/ ain't nobody like to be alone." We all, according to Dr. Springsteen, the Boss, have ahungry hearts–and some of us, I would respectfully add are starving. And in "Badlands": "I wanna find one face that ain't lookin' through me/ I wanna find one place/ I wanna spit in the face of these Badlands." Of not conforming and fitting, in "Growin' Up": "When they said sit down, I stood up." Dylan poignantly shares in Tambourine Man: "My weariness amazes me/ I'm branded on my feet/ I have no one to meet, and this ancient empty street's too dead for dreaming." Also, of saying an individual: "I try my best to be just what I am, but everybody wants me to be like them" ("Maggie's Farm").

Yes, we Lonerists are a hated group, whether in our families, our schools, our jobs, or communities, we have been rejected and ridiculed. It helps to think that some of the brightes minds of all time went through the same pain and not only survived but thrived. Both Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison were labeled as stupid by their teachers! Thank goodness they didn't give up–and neither should we. Indeed we're weary but not weak. After all it shows Herculean fortitude to stand alone when giving in would be so much easier. I have great hope and faith in our sheer resolve to stand one against the many and live to tell about it. Imagine the power when we unite and each pour into the community barrel our individual jugs of mettle–now that's what I call heavy metal (buh-dum-bum)! Although we are separate now, we won't always be. The old among us will give strength to the young. We are each warriors, and we have but to come together to form an invinceable army.

Before that day comes, we must commit to persevering and communicating from a distance. Each day, I must tell myself several times, morning, noon and night thatI shall overcome. You must tell yourself again and again thatYOU shall overcome. Until, one day soon, we will be able to shout triumphantly, at last in unison: "WE shall overcome."

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