Children of the Dirt

by Lindsay on February 10, 2015

in Inspiration, Relationships

My parents were here in Toronto visiting this past weekend, and it was so wonderful to have my home filled with love and family and laughter. When they left yesterday and my daughter and I came home to an empty house, I sat down and cried; I felt so alone. My family all lives a 5-6 hour drive away. I’m single. Yes, I have my daughter. I also have an incredible network of friends I see often, with whom I share love & life, and I’m forever grateful. But sometimes? Sometimes I feel lonely. 

Have you ever felt so lonely you were certain you were the loneliest person in the world? I have a story to share with you that may (dare I say will) change your perspective.

The story is by Simon Rich and it’s called “The Children Of The Dirt.” You can listen to him tell it on NPR’s Invisibilia Podcast here.

According to Aristophanes, there were originally three sexes:

  • the children of the Moon who were half-male and half-female;
  • the children of the Sun who were fully male;
  • and the children of the Earth, who were fully female.

Everyone had four legs, four arms and two heads, and spent their days in blissful contentment. Zeus became jealous of the humans’ joy so he decided to split them all in two.

Aristophanes called this punishment the “origin of love”, because ever since, the children of the Earth, Moon and Sun have been searching the globe in a desperate bid to find their other halves. Aristophanes’ story is incomplete because there was also a fourth sex – the children of the Dirt.

Unlike the other three sexes, the children of the dirt consisted of just one half. Some were male and some were female and each had just two arms, two legs and one head.

The children of the dirt found the children of the Earth, Moon and Sun to be completely insufferable. Whenever they saw a two-headed creature walking by, talking to itself in baby-talk voices, it made them want to vomit. They hated going to parties and when there was no way to get out of one, they sat in the corner, too bitter and depressed to talk to anybody. The children of the dirt were so miserable that they invented wine and art to dull their pain. It helped a little, but not really. When Zeus went on his rampage he decided to leave the children of the dirt alone. “They’re already screwed”, he explained.

Present Day 

  • Happy gay couples descend from the children of the Sun;
  • Happy lesbian couples descend from the children of the Earth;
  • Happy straight couples descend from the children of the Moon.

But the vast majority of humans are descendants of the children of the dirt. And no matter how long they search the earth, they’ll never find what they’re looking for because there’s nobody for them, not anybody in the world.

Did that last sentence sink in? In this story, the vast majority of humans are descendants of the children of the dirt. So what does that mean? Even if you’re buried deep in your loneliness, you are not alone. And in fact, there is someone for you  all of the other children of the dirt who long for companionship, friendship and love, too.

In our loneliness, we often feel like there’s no one around who will understand us, or love us, or want to hug us, or go out for lunch with us, or any other number of “lonely person” thoughts that can eat away at us. You may think of yourself as “different from the others”. But you’re not, not at the core. We all long to connect. We all have human hearts put on this earth to love and be loved. And guess what? We all – even those surrounded by others – feel lonely sometimes.

So the next time you feel lonely, ask yourself what it would it take to help you feel less alone. I have a suggestion: Reach out to someone – an email, a smile for a stranger on the street, conversation with the grocery store clerk, call up an old friend you haven’t spoken to in a year. You may be connecting with a fellow “Child of the Dirt” and be reminded that indeed, we’re all connected, always, even in our loneliness.


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Amanda February 10, 2015 at 10:39 pm

This is one of those nights where I absolutely needed to read this. I actually just got home from a drive, where I was feeling sorry for myself because I feel so lonely.

Thank you. I wish I could hug you through the internet!!

Lindsay February 11, 2015 at 6:46 am

Oh, Amanda. I feel you and feel for you. I wish I could hug you right back! I know that would help us feel better in our lonely moments!

Alisha February 12, 2015 at 1:40 pm

How Did You Know I Needed This Today

Lindsay February 13, 2015 at 11:10 am

I’m glad it was able to help you when you needed it!

Lifeasagaymom July 21, 2015 at 7:07 pm

Lindsay! I didn’t know you wrote for the daily awe as well, lol how the beep do you have time for all this writing. Excuse me, not writing….amazing writing! Good post

quest bars February 8, 2016 at 8:53 am

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