Friday, January 13, 2012

solitude: a change in perspective

For some time I've equated not being with people with loneliness. Now I realize it's not always loneliness; it can be solitude.

I don't know why but I feel like the obvious things are the hardest to learn.

Like I posted here earlier, I'm going to be adopting zen in order to improve the quality of my life. One of the first articles I read was The Lost Art of Solitude. Here's an excerpt:

The Benefits of Solitude
The best art is created in solitude, for good reason: it’s only when we are alone that we can reach into ourselves and find truth, beauty, soul. Some of the most famous philosophers took daily walks, and it was on these walks that they found their deepest thoughts.
My best writing, and in fact the best of anything I’ve done, was created in solitude. 

I thought that this part was the most important, because I really care about my writing/art etc and every day I feel like I should be doing something productive/creative instead of, you know, slacking. I also realized that, yes: the best of everything I've done has also been created in solitude. What's more, it's not been the oh-I'm-alone-and-on-the-internet type, it's been the sit alone and think type of solitude that's best.

Do you ever go to restaurants alone? If you want to go to a poetry reading and none of your friends want to go with you, will you go?

It's interesting because I actually know people who don't do the things they want, like attending plays or shows waghaira just because they don't have anybody who will go with them. Really, why do people do that? Why would you sacrifice something awesome just because you're afraid of what people will think if you're by yourself?

I'm the kind of person who asks friends if they want to go but I'm fine with going alone. Still, sometimes, I feel odd when I'm out alone; like I should be doing something/looking busy. I thought about why that may be (well, clearly, it implies that I do care a little about looking like a weirdo, even if I'm perfectly content being alone) and then I decided I have to overcome it. Honestly, if I'm spending time worrying about what people think then I'm never going to be happy.

Some time back I had a kind of a love addiction? I don't know what it was. Anyway I used to frequently fall for/get obsessed with people. And then I decided enough was enough and that it was utter bullshit to deliberately hurt myself by liking people who were never going to like me back. And then, I felt bad because after that I felt like I couldn't ever love anyone ever again, like I'd broken myself somehow, and I panicked for a bit. The reason I mention this here is because after cutting away the feelings I had there came a time when I didn't feel anything...and then it was all right; I went from kind of tying my self-esteem to other people to slowly, gradually, learning to not tie it to them.

I also learned that the one thing all these people had in common is that they knew how to be alone. It sounds strange, but I'm actually most likely to love somebody who doesn't need other people (or me) to be happy i.e. someone who is unashamed to show up alone; someone who does silly things, but not only for other people.


So, yes, loving yourself comes first. It's a long and hard road to be on, and if you try to explain it to anybody you just sound sad and forever alone to them. Ignore that shit. I've found that the more comfortable I am being myself, the happier I am, and the less I care about what other people think. I hypothesize that ultimately most people have wanted to do something for/by themselves but haven't because of how they think they will be seen by other people. Seriously, just ask your friends and the futility of the whole exercise will be apparent.
"You're either vastly weird or painfully boring when alone. You're going to learn this The Hard Way."

I am totally the vastly weird type. The hours I've spent in my room doing weird shit from making guitar picks to practising my TED talk (one day!) to laughing my head off (my family is awesome about this. They don't come running when I literally fall off the bed laughing because of something I read) to making a small paper bathtub for my wall to burning my old shit...I've had some great times by myself. And as I think about it, I wouldn't be the person I am without the hours I have spent being on my own. 'Being on my own' sounds like 2-1=1. That's dumb. Being with other people is 1+1=2 instead. I'm glad I've realized this.

I've never really thought about living alone. Now I'm considering it as an option. I'd actually really enjoy it because being alone at home makes me pretty happy and I dance around everywhere and sing really really badly and Find Inner Peace. Of course, being alone at home is one thing and living alone is another. But the more I think about it, the better it seems. Maybe for a year or two if not forever.

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