About Me · Blogging · Ottawa · Self Reflection · Self-Improvement

Alone But Not Lonely

Even when I’m home alone I often use my headphones.  They make me feel cocooned, cushioned by the sound of my music flowing into my ears and infiltrating my mind.  I’m often drawn to hoodies for the same reason because wearing the hood makes me feel calm, protected and safe.  

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Being an only child I learned quickly what loneliness was and how I could easily transform it into simply being alone.

Being alone does not mean that one is lonely or wanting for company.  Being alone is beautiful in its simplicity and recently, I’ve found myself gravitating towards what some may call my hermit tendencies, because I would prefer to be wrapped up in my thoughts than around others.

Despite this  desire I have indeed been keeping myself busy, not only with work but meetings and other tasks.  I also ensure that I meet up with one of two of my friends every week or so – that’s exactly why I haven’t blogged since Convocation ended, my best friend was visiting me.

Not to go into specifics, but we attended the same elementary school together and then in grade two she moved back home, across the ocean.  We see each other every few years and talk several times a year.  That may not seem like a lot to those of you who have ready access to your best friend, but even after all of this time she gets me.  She still gets me.

I am awed by my good fortune and this fluke of friendship.  Who would have guessed that fourteen years later we would still be friends?

While she was here I introduced my best friend to some of my university compatriots.  I did this for three reasons: one – to help her put faces to names and allow her access to that of that portion of my life, two – to have some fun and three – to see what my Humanities kids would make of her, of us.

My best friend is quite the opposite of me in many ways.  Once, in writer’s craft I remember comparing her to Halley’s Comet because she’s bright, beautiful and comes around every now and then.  Physically, she has red hair, which was a shock the first time I saw it around six years ago but I knew even then that it fit her personality.  She is a natural blonde but red is her colour, it’s her in a nutshell.  She has a temper of sorts, meaning that she’ll tell you exactly how she feels – I recall one particular incident that happened at Camp O many years ago when she was ready to confront some boy about something he said about our cabin mate.  She’s talented creatively.  She can sew like nobody’s business and is entering a costume design and interpretation program next year for uni.

I am the a-typical liberal arts kid who reads, locks herself up in words and I have brown curly hair.  I worry way too much and her, less so – though school is important to both of us.  I have never properly dated except for two interesting experiences this past year while she currently has a steady boyfriend.  These may not sound like fundamental differences but they are; however, what matters is that we can pick up any conversation and respect each other’s opinions.  We still share the same values and similar morals.  We are still each other’s other half in terms of friendship.

IMG_9997*Me and my best friend.

It’s odd, but wonderful for me to think that she was here just a few days ago.  It’s frustratingly difficult for me to know that I probably won’t see her for another few years.

But it’s also okay that I’m alone again.

I’ve been reading the book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain.  http://www.amazon.com/Quiet-Power-Introverts-World-Talking/dp/0307352153  *I am in no way profiting from posting this link – I just think it’s a grand book and that more people should absorb its message.

The book itself is a study of our world and our shift from the Culture of Character, whose ideals I am quite attached to, to our current Culture of Personality.  In short, everyone is selling themselves with every word they say, every letter they type and every picture they post.  Our society is obsessed with extroversion and dismissive of the balance introversion provides.

I am neither an introvert nor an extrovert.  Personally, I identify as an ambivert – a cross between both spectrums.  I tend to gravitate towards being an introvert when the time comes to relax, I revert to my mind palace (which is often under construction) but I can be an extrovert when the situation requires it of me.

Too many people I know talk about how they’ve been reverting back to “their shells” since school has finished, since their job finished, since x finished.   The thing is there is nothing wrong with being in a shell.  It’s a protected place for you – you probably do some of your best work inside that shell – so why force yourself to change, to take on the persona of someone you are not?

If you cannot accept yourself, how can others get to know you?  This is not to say that you can ever be completely aware of everything that you are – I don’t think that it’s possible.  Enlightenment certainly exists but as for knowing all of your own dark corners and secrets – I am skeptical; I believe sometimes those pieces of ourselves are just glossed over.

When you say you know yourself that’s your perception, but we all know that there are three sides to every thought – yours, your audience’s and the truth.  That’s why we will never truly know anything – we are ignorant not by choice but by design.  We can learn, study and travel for our entire lives but never learn it all.  It’s part of this world’s design to keep us on our toes, to push us to form attachments because by having friends your grasp of knowledge grows exponentially and to acknowledge our failings to allow for help from others.

I am alone.  I like it that way. I am not lonely.

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I love to meet people one on one, small groups provide the best opportunities for deep and meaningful conversations.  My small talk consists of the weather and school sometimes.  I am a hermit more often than I should be and I’m over involved with activities when I’m not hibernating.  I am an imperfect person – I know the silly-tired part of me, the serious part of me, the reflective part of me and other pieces of the jewel of my soul besides.  I have yet to name each blinking facet of this jewel because each day it seems that a new one has appeared.

I am imperfect.  That is to say [i’m]perfect.

You are perfectly imperfect too.

Believe it. Live it. Love it.

2 thoughts on “Alone But Not Lonely

  1. Very well said Samantha ! I agree with you, people think I am lonely all the time but in truth I just like spending time with myself 90% of the time! No noise, no drama, simplicity … Priceless!

  2. I really love this post, Sam! I think it is difficult to detach one’s self from the mindset that being alone does not necessarily mean lonely–especially in this digital age where it is so easy to see others’ more together activities, so to speak, so easily.
    I also love that you mentioned Quiet! It is such a great book! I read it several times last year, both recreationally and for a school project. If you haven’t seen Susan Cain’s TedTalk, you should definitely watch it!

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