I’ve always been very open with the fact that I’m a complete loner and have lived most of my 36 years so far at the fringes of “normal” society — as a result I’ve never partaken in “normal” socialization activities such as hanging out, going to a movie with friends, drinking, partying, etc, you name it.

The last time I had the closest to a “normal” life was back when I was 10 years old and lived in Maracaibo, and that’s a long time ago now. 

Some circumstances in my young life, such as having to move to Caracas at such an early age, my parents’ divorce, my family’s rather atypical behavior, and having to constantly switch schools made it all the worse for me. So it shouldn’t be a surprise that I ended up being a recluse glued to a computer playing video games as time went on.

I grew up never really caring or having the slightest interest in the “normal” elements of Venezuelan society such as Baseball team rivalries, drinking beers on a Friday night, or going to the beach, since I never got to be part of those experiences and thus have no frame of reference. From my early adolescence onwards, I grew up not really having friends whom I could share hobbies and interests with — hell, I’ve even lost my Zulian accent after living in Caracas for so long.

As a kid I was a Juventus “fan” not because I liked the team or even understood the complex nuances of Calcio, but because my dad is a lifelong die-hard AC Milan, one of his brothers was a Juventus fan, and I wanted to be a contrarian asshole, lol.

In Venezuelan culture I definitely classify as a loser, but I never let that completely bring me down (but it has at times). I am who I am, and for better or worse, it is what it is.

My brother is similar to me in that regard, and in some ways more extreme. You’ll often find him recluded in his bedroom, playing video games while listening to music or a YouTube video through his headphones. I, at least, get to interact with others through a computer screen, he doesn’t get to do that.

I was actually way more of a recluse up until ten years ago when, because of things such as GamerGate, which allowed me to connect with others from across the world. Then, the collapse of Venezuela, my mom’s cancer diagnosis, and the other stuff that I went through in the following years led to me being in a position where I was able to speak my mind, and converse with others who’d listen to me. And well, after my mom’s death I had to become sorta like a parent figure for my brother, so that means further stepping out into a world I was never quite fully part of.

A few years ago I wouldn’t even be able to hop on a voice call, now that’s part of my daily routine, so I’ve come a long way. Certainly so, I’m not alone, and haven’t been alone for quite some time now, but I am definitely lonely, and have been lonely for over two decades now.

I am a man of routine and, suffice to say, the past months of my life has seen drastic changes — for starters, I’m finally out of Venezuela and living in Italy, a country where, I am legally a citizen off, but I am, for all intents and purposes, an outsider, culturally speaking.

Much like with Venezuela, I do not have a “connection” with Italy at a cultural level. Engaging with Italy and its culture was something that in my youth was reserved for other members of my dad’s family, not for my mom, brother, and I.

I am a citizen of two nations through and through. I can cast votes in their respective elections, have two full sets of identity documents, make use of either nation’s healthcare systems, and I’ll be paying Italian taxes soon and all that, but I’m not a functional part of their respective cultures and customs — try as I might, I may not ever be. It is what it is.

As I mentioned above, loneliness is something I’ve never let completely bring me down, but it has as of late, and much more than I’d like to admit. 

Maybe it’s because I’m no longer caught in the grind of dealing with Venezuela and trying to find a way out of it with my brother — which perhaps, in some ways, was keeping my mind busy from addressing some of my unresolved personnel matters, such as this.

I do find myself feeling more isolated as of late, and it’s probably because I’m a stranger in a strange land, and barely speak Italian right now (while I understand most of it because it’s a romance language like Spanish, I’m nowhere near a level where I can put full sentences together beyond basic stuff). Language barriers aside, I also do not know anyone whom I could talk to about my hobbies and things that I like around here, as much of the population in this town is way past my age range.

About a month ago me and my brother got invited to a lunch/cultural exchange event where a group of Venezuelans and people from other countries participated as well. The food was amazing, and it was a great and different afternoon for the two of us, but it served to remind me that I will always be at the fringes, never fully part of either of my two countries’ cultures.

I couldn’t sing to you most of Venezuela’s traditional songs, nor recite its lyrics or even play a Cuatro, which some of the Venezuelans in the event had no effort in doing so. The same could be said about Italy as well. I’m not blaming anyone, because no one there did anything wrong (quite the opposite, rather), it’s just that it reminded me of things that I never got to be part of, so you feel extremely out of place in every single aspect.

The only person that I was able to have a conversation with that afternoon was this Italian woman who lived in Venezuela up until the early 2010s. She has a child with a somewhat severe case of autism who had to undergo several life-saving surgeries in the past. 

She told me how difficult things were for that poor lad over there, and was surprised at just how bad things ended up becoming in Venezuela after she fled with her husband and child — and even more surprised at the fact not many people talked about it in recent years. That’s about it. It’s the only conversation I had in the whole afternoon and it was about the shared experiences in the absolute disaster that Venezuela continues to be. 

I can sit and talk to you for hours about video games or how all I want with my novel passion project series is to make cool characters that inspire others to be good despite their flaws, but I cannot talk about “normal” things such as the latest sportsball, or the latest art expo in Europe. I can’t talk to you about past vacations, visiting places, or similar experiences because I haven’t had any of the sorts, my last vacation was back in 1999, right before my parents decided to divorce.

Which is probably why I declined an invitation to go to Milan this weekend to attend a Venezuelan cultural event — even though I very much would like to visit Milan, Rome, actually enjoy Turin and hell, go on a trip through the rest of Europe and around the world for that matter, now that I can travel to almost everywhere with this Italian passport (just need to hit it big so I can have the money for that kinda stuff).

I’m also getting old, so the lack of companionship is starting to take its toll, but that’s a whole other thing, lol.

This feeling of isolation, of not feeling like I belong to the local environment is one of the many unaddressed personal matters weighing down my mind that I’ve unfortunately been carrying on for too long. It’s one of the several things keeping me awake at night, but I’ll go through those at a later time.

How to even begin tackling it is something I do not have the answer to, but I hope that I’ll find the solution somewhere along the way on this new journey of mine that began upon our arrival in Italy earlier this year.

It would be remiss and rude of me if I didn’t thank you for reading through all of this, so, thanks for reading it.