Between what was and what next.
Routine cradles me, secure,
Against the uncertainty
That swirls, outside, always.
I control the climate in here,
Even if the cost might be higher than I’d like sometimes.
I can afford the isolation, the desperate detachment,
The yearning that no-one hears silently echoing off the walls.
As long as the swirl stays out there.
You see it everywhere, the dead gaze and vacant disregard.
It’s hard to care, so you can hardly blame them.
Just looking directly at someone feels risky,
Like ‘dangling both feet over the cliff edge’ dangerous,
Something from which no good can come.
It’s just not worth it.
No, I’m not hurting, don’t be silly!
I really enjoy the ‘me’ time,
Really helps me to recharge,
Gives me a chance to think.
Actually I really needed it to be honest.
Seriously, don’t worry about me.
Then a flicker of light, occasionally,
Blinding for a moment, a memory
Of its brilliance the only trace,
Of the opportunity that exists
Outside. What might it be like
If you could find a way to tolerate the brightness.
Though it seems to be dark all the time,
Or is that just me?
That make me feel alone. I moved to Australia when I was 30 years old. A difficult age to start a new life, meet and make new friends and I am single. Although I have my closest family here with me in the most isolated city in the world I still feel very alone at times.
I would go, as far as to say it’s been the loneliest time of my life.
I do however enjoy my own company but that has come with time. I feel I may have been forced into that through spending so much time alone due to the isolation of where I have chosen to live.
I wasn’t very comfortable being alone in the beginning because then life became confronting. Isolation brought time on my own to reflect on my life and where my future was going. Being alone unsurfaced past traumatic life events, followed by negative emotional behaviour and withdrawal from society itself, making an isolated city even more isolating.
Where I am comfortable with silence and almost crave time on my own.
I now make a point of arranging time for myself to be alone as it helps me recharge my energy and gives me more clarity.
I don’t fear that time alone any more.
But a canyon lies between you.
You are alone.
The healthy distance,
The freedom that felt expansive,
Is an impenetrable gulf
Physical intimacy, no tonic.
Perhaps it does more harm to taste the sweetness of each other’s fruits now they are not ripe,
They will make you sick,
The canyon deepens
Lonely agony descends into despair.
Impossible to contain,
Contents pour out.
Tears fall and fall
Paths cannot be realigned.
You will each continue alone.
It is a strange thing, how,
At that acknowledgement,
A door opens,
You find yourselves together again.
A beautiful purgatory,
Before you step back into the world
More intimate than a courtship,
Emotion pours freely,
No value in concealment.
A visceral vulnerability takes hold.
Is it cruel,
We are most connected,
When we are leaving one another?
Perhaps it is a summing up of high emotion,
In something so beautiful,
We shall never forget.
To make what I love a reality for myself…
And I regret that all the time.
Alone, but not lonely.
I do feel lonely sometimes at night, at home, when I would like to share evenings with a partner.
I enjoy my own company and need solitary moments to feel balanced. I like to meditate in the morning.
I don’t feel like I need to cope with being lonely. When I do feel lonely, I write or call a friend or family member, or keep busy with reading, going for a walk or run.
Tearing through heavy autumnal clouds, and blustery moorland, initially. The landscape becomes more urban, more populated. The train is hauling me into a place I shouldn’t be. It’s a visceral feeling, a deeply troubling anxiety. An exasperated inner voice says, ‘No..’ but I hold my breath and the train glides me towards it anyway. Like a child led in to the playground of a new school, hand gripped firmly by parent. The playground is full; children shouting, screaming, laughing at games that she’s not part of, doesn’t want to be part of. Hand is released and moved to her back, a gentle but firm forward motion propelling her further into the playground to take those first steps alone, to endure those first painful interactions.
First days and weeks back in the city. I want to cocoon my mind and body, to release myself from the relentless stimulation. Messages from old friends irritate. ‘Welcome back!! Must catch up!’ ‘Dinner this week?? Free 16th and 17th after 8:30 or between 5 and 7 tomorrow! Let me know when’s best for you!’ ‘Glad you’re back, shall I pop round tomorrow? So much gossip to catch up on!!’ I groan. Can’t you leave me alone? Every buzz of my device, an unwanted invasion of my personal space. An irritant fly that won’t go away.
Converse I also feel empty, lonely. Disconnected from the big, brash and busy city around me that doesn’t care whether I’m here or there. In London, life charges on, people come, people go. The city doesn’t stop. It doesn’t open its arms to me, to anyone. My hometown observes returners and newcomers with a reserved curiosity. London will snatch you from the train platform with barely a greeting and move you along. An impatient, mischievous and rather eccentric aunt - ‘come on, time to get back on, the ride isn’t going to stop…’
Months later, the dust has settled, I am calmer. I have found a place for myself amongst the chaos. The city holds me. The isolation and the loneliness have eased. Constantly surrounded but also anonymous, I am calm, small, and at peace with my insignificance. I am not lonely. I write this sitting alone, at my kitchen table. In the soft evening light, I listen to the sounds around me. The birds outside; the cuckoo softly signalling the end of the day. My pen scratches across the page. The overground whistles, neighbours murmur. My breath has slows, deepens. A deep contentment drifts over me. Life is happening all around me, the city is full of tantalising possibility.
When I am happy in solitude, but when feeling lonely I subconsciously listen to music that has memories for me.
Was more difficult than I had anticipated, as it forces you to consider emotions that people rarely seem to talk about and often feelings that people seem to suppress.
Being alone gives me the opportunity to spend some rare time to think, and to spend time doing solitary hobbies such as singing or reading.
Therefore I feel that being alone is not always a negative thing though it can often be seen as such.
Scolds her tear-stained cheeks as she pushes gently through the rush hour crowds, hoping to be able to catch her breath just ahead.
The anonymity of these busy streets is so welcoming. This whole trying day an exercise in stiff upper-lipped restraint, of smiling through meetings and reluctant coffee break conversations.
Her phone buzzes insistently in her bag, each vibration quickening her steps towards home. If she can just reach the embrace of her empty flat, within the silently protective gaze of the four walls, she’ll be fine.
But the first words that spring to mind are a person’s ability to be alone.
This in itself raises many different topics such as loneliness, isolation, state of mind, happiness, peace and choice.