Being Alone

Being alone is hard.  I do not mean going to Starbucks and sitting by yourself while you read and drink your latte.  I mean the late at night and it is you and your mind alone in a room with nothing but the lamp light.  Of being alone, I think their own active mind is what scares people the most.

Your mind is a catalog of all your mistakes, success, failures, etc. and it reminds you of them when it is alone and there is nothing to get in its way.  Today it is much easier to find things to get in your mind’s way.  Here at the early part of the 21st century we have created many ways to keep the mind occupied so we do not have to feel alone and let the mind wander to those places we are scared to look.

Television is a great time suck and occupier of mental space.  Music and reading are a little more difficult because they both suggest introspection at times.  The Internet, however, is great at occupying the mind.  First, there is always something going on somewhere that needs your attention.  Maybe it is your Twitter feed or your Facebook timeline or it is the latest suggested videos on YouTube or your instant queue on Netflix.  Then there is how the internet does create communities.  If you are on Twitter or Facebook you feel like you are not alone because there is always someone talking.

Television and the Internet are the two newest ways to hide from your mind and its cold stare.  There is always the old faithful of drugs and alcohol.  Those do not allow you to hide as much as confuse and dull.  Your mind isn’t as accusatory when it is numb and unable to connect thoughts.  It is the “click” people are looking for when they abuse.  As Brick says in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof he needs that click.

“It’s like a switch, clickin’ off in my head. Turns the hot light off and the cool one on, and all of a sudden there’s peace.”  — Brick, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Tennessee Williams

That click is the point when you have enough chemicals in your body that your mind says, “Fuck it.  I’m going to sit over here in this corner and be quiet for a while.”

Another way to avoid loneliness is stay in relationships long past the sell by date.  People will put up with all manner of shit from someone else because they don’t feel they deserve any better and they would rather do that then be alone and deal with why they do not feel worthy of something better.  It is easier for them to deal with mistreatment then to inhabit and explore the empty spaces within their own mind.

It is hard to accept yourself and find comfort in being alone.  It is one of the last things that come with maturity.   Even then it comes and goes.  Sometimes you just need to know that other people exist and are worth talking to occasionally.

However, we should not find too much comfort in being alone.  After being alone for a long time it can become some weird combination of comfortable habit and burden.  You can forget that we are social beings and become emotionally feral and almost unfit for emotional human interaction.  One cannot allow comfort with yourself and your demons to turn into isolation.  That may be worse than being an emotional zombie staying in dead relationships simply for the contact.  The balance of being comfortable and accepting of being alone with meaningful human interaction is what we should all strive for in our lives.

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