Day Nine: When You’re Alone

When you’re alone.

Do you think about me?

___

If we’re being honest

I’ve spent years 18-23 almost NEVER alone.

Having had at least three roommates at all times with different work and life schedules, meant that at any given moment I wasn’t totally alone.

Previous to this new chapter, the most alone time I ever spent in a day was time spent driving- and even then I play music so loudly I don’t really think about anything.

I have never even studied in solitude for college classes, I have always gone to coffee shops or libraries or study groups with friends.

I feel like it’s easy to use staying busy, and work/school schedules, and friends, and shows, and things as coping mechanisms without realizing it.

But- I just moved into a new apartment when summer was drawing to a close, in a new city for school until March,  and I ended a long relationship around the same time that I moved. So I find myself spending some time alone on nights when I don’t have class or an internship.

For the first time in five years, I’m actually getting comfortable with it.

And I actually love it.

It’s interesting how time and circumstances and people change things in your life and you don’t get to fully process any of it until you spend some time alone.

Now I can play music as loudly or emotionally as I want on guitar, or ugly cry to a movie, or do yoga in the living room, or just appreciate silence.

Granted- it’s still pretty rare with my schedule but I’m learning new things about myself with this new “chill time” I’m getting. I’m still getting used to it but it is interesting to know where my mind goes when I’m actually alone.

-JD

___

I’ve always been a private person.  I know in the past, when I was playing music and partying too hard, it didn’t seem that way.  And, I’m currently working a job where I am highly visible and approachable.  But, I am very selective and secretive as to who I interact with.  And, most importantly, how much I share with others.

When I am alone, I don’t have to worry about these specific stressors.  At least in that moment.  At that time.

I’ve worked in loud places my entire life.  I have no idea what a quiet, calm workspace is.  Auto shops, warehouses, kitchens, bars, music venues.  All just noisy as shit.

So, when I’m alone, and it’s quiet, it’s kind of strange.  Often times I get up and wander around.  Just to make sure nothing suspicious is happening.  (I don’t trust my mind most days.)

But, there are the rare days that I can sit.  Quiet.  And alone.  And just take the whole mess in.

I can hear the soft clicking of branches in the back yard.  The dog is breathing on the couch.  The mechanical, yet unimposing thrum of the refrigerator in the next room.  I don’t have the television on.  With the exception of the occasional online content, I very rarely listen to any music.   The minute, rhythmic tapping of the pull chain on the ceiling fan emerges from nothing.  Eventually gaining my full attention.  And, I stare at it.  Watching it sway in the breeze of it’s own mechanism.

When I am alone, I want to be alone.  It’s when I can think.  It’s when I can use my imagination.  My first best friend.  Forty six years old and I’m still transported by my fantasies and artistic ideas.  Even if I never act upon them.

Selfish as it may sound, when I am alone, I can entertain myself without worrying if others are enjoying themselves.

And, I don’t think I’m alone in feeling this way.  Everyone needs their alone time.  Especially people who perform for a living.

When I am alone there is no small talk.  No forced smiles.  No idiotic drama.

When I am alone the pressure lifts.  Ever so slightly.  But, by God, I swear I can feel it ease up just a touch.  Just a touch.

-Tom Bagby

___

When I’m alone I have full conversations with myself. I even make myself laugh. I’ll make up songs about my dog or the food I’m eating and sing it to the top of my lungs. I’ll put on the most comfortable shirt and pants I can find and lie down on the couch, taking up its entirety.  Snuggling in a blanket I’ll put on a movie I’ve seen a million times.  These moments are rare but I need them. I need the nothingness to balance out the craziness that is my life.

-Jackie

___

I made a plan. Not a great one. A plan though that included a backyard. My plan wasn’t my old apartments that were on Highland Avenue where I could walk out my door and join others already on their destined after-work paths of dog walking or jogging. All the while saying hello as I passed by. It’s not my little apartment in Avondale where I could leave my apartment and walk to Saturn to grab a cup of black coffee or meet some friends at Parkside. My plan was down the road. Up another road that’s surrounded by foothills and trees. A house. My house. Now I walk outside to jog, and I don’t see anyone for the first mile, just houses and houses.

I tried roommates. But this house doesn’t crave roommates. Not with the size and acoustics. I moved into this house part of a couple, and it wants to be inhabited by a couple again. A couple sleeping in on a rare day off together. Making food for one another. Telling each other their days, their dreams, their life. It craves that. But after four years the couple couldn’t be that anymore.

At one point there were six beings staying in this house: my roommate, his two kids, my two dogs and a new boyfriend that wasn’t quite fitting within the walls of my  home. My plan.

Waking up one morning to dogs barking at kids, I joking said, “I’m getting rid of everybody! You, roommate, the kids, and my dogs.” And in a roundabout way, that’s exactly what happened. Now my house is just me. I haven’t figured out how to get rid of the dogs other than taking out my heart and smashing it into some sharp-edged gravel with a boot. So I keep them. And we wonder when this house will be complete again.

-Brooke

___

A confession:  I am truly myself when I am alone. A deep hope of mine is that I am achieving, however brief, some moments of intersection between my truest person and the many persons I am out in the world. For even the briefest moments of truth, define the life of a truth seeker.

-Virginia

___

-Shea

___

I am a loner.  I love my downtime/alonetime.   Glorious solitude.  I crave it.  I never get enough.  I didn’t understand my need for it when I was younger and thought something was seriously wrong with me.  I preferred my books and my music over crowds and parties.  Still do.  I never fit in with that and didn’t want to.  Still don’t. When I am alone, I use this escape to read, write, walk, nap, meditate, and enjoy music. I.  Am.  Never.  Bored.

I get it.  For me, it’s like a healing balm.  Contentment.  Quiet.  Simplistic. I look forward to it.  The refection and introspection.  Independence, individuality, and self-reliance.  All of this energizes me as it does most introverts.

I like people.  Really.  As long as I have my mandatory daily fix of solitude, I can handle a dose of people. Not small talk, though.  Challenge me with a deep, meaningful conversation, and I am in. And no phone talking.  Ever.  Meet me for a walk, lunch, tea, a movie, or an adventure.  I’m good with those things. Sign me up.

There are many extra benefits when you’re alone:

You can pick your nose.

You can dig out your wedgies.

You can polish off the ice cream without being judged.

You can watch Crap TV.

You can nap and drool with no one watching.

You can wear your fat pants.

You can go days without washing your hair.

You can use all the hot water when you soak in your extra-long bubble bath.

You can sleep till noon.

You can fart without masking it.

You can have that extra glass of wine without feeling guilty.

You can order a veggie pizza.

You can read all night with the bedside lamp shining on you.

You can have beer and cashews for dinner.  Or a baked potato.

My heart aches for those people who struggle with being alone.  I know it’s not for everyone, and I, myself would admittedly look at it differently if my husband wasn’t walking in that door every night.

-Wanda

{featured image: healthy girl}

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