Long before COVID-19 forced many Americans to skip family gatherings during the holidays, Lane Moore was used to being by herself on Christmas.
The comedian, musician and creator of “Tinder Live” has a family, but there hasn’t been much love and closeness.
After spending much of her life alone, she dreads filling out medical forms at a doctor’s office, knowing they’ll always ask for an emergency contact.
“It's incredibly painful… because I don't have one, so I usually leave it blank,” she told TODAY.
A difficult childhood forced her to be her own parent, live in her car as a teenager and become her own support system, she writes in her book, “How to Be Alone: If You Want To, and Even If You Don't.”
It chronicles her “desire to form connections when you didn't have the formative connections you were supposed to have,” Moore said.
Moore has social anxiety, so being around people in real life can be difficult, though she finds solace in online friends.
“I've been on my own since I was born, pretty much, and that's given me superpowers in terms of my ability to be alone, because you often get superpowers from an unfortunate situation you had to navigate,” Moore said.
After years of being alone for the holidays, she's been enjoying the company of a rescue dog she has called “the best thing that's ever happened to me.”
Moore shared her advice about how to be happy alone:
December is an infamously difficult time for people who don’t have a family or don't want to be with the one they have. How do you make it your holiday?
I spend it a little differently every year, depending on what I need that year and how hard it is, which, honestly, is always brutal.
The main thing I'd advise is to spend it the way YOU want to. The holidays should be a time where you get to feel loved and safe and special. But for so many of us, it becomes about doing what everyone but us wants to do, even if it makes us feel awful.
In those situations, especially if doing what everyone else wants makes you feel unsafe and unloved and alone, then do what makes you feel OK. If that means not going home for the holidays, or eating pizza instead of the ham everyone else always eats, whatever it is, just do what makes you truly happy.
What's your advice to people on how to not be lonely?
It's so intricate and so personal, but I'd say there's a way to find connections with animals and strangers and even people at your local grocery store. We have to get away from the idea that you can only look to romantic connections and family members for love because that's not an option for a lot of people.
What do you do when you're lonely?
There's a big difference between being alone and lonely, but that's when I make art, that's when I tweet jokes or post on Instagram. I post Instagram stories all the time and it feels like I'm talking to friends. I know social media can be awful, but I've found a huge sense of community there.
You tweeted that you did not write the book “from a place of being healed." How are you doing today?
This book wasn't written by someone who magically got married and is now fine, fine, fine. I think it's one of the book's strengths that it defies the typical narrative of, "I once was in pain, but now I'm healed forever." That's not how life works. You heal and then you heal some more.