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No One Is Alone….

Being solitary is being alone well: being alone luxuriously immersed in doings of your own choice, aware of the fullness of your won presence rather than of the absence of others. Solitude is an achievement.” ~Alice Koller

I have a tendency to get overly attached to people. It’s handled in a way that’s mostly positive and harmless, rather than reminiscent of the creepy stalker from “Two And A Half Men”, but it can be said that in almost all of my relationships, and in many of my close friendships, there’s an element of co-dependency. An old friend of mine once hypothesized that my extended period of polyamoury was a choice well-suited to my personality, because I was self-aware enough to know there was not a single person in this world with enough time, energy, money, attention, or any other attribute to manage to keep me entertained, happy, and fulfilled.

I do not know whether or not this friend has a valid point, or is simply mocking some of the quirks of my personality, but one thing that hasn’t changed about me is this: after living on my own for my entire adult life, I still do not like to be alone. Yes, there are times when I want to concentrate and create and live in my own world, and, as a friend would say, I need the world to STFU and GTFO. *laughs* It’s also true that most of my relationships go haywire when the “moving in together” phase kicks in, because frankly, there’s not that many people I like enough to want to be around them all the time. My home is generally my retreat from introversion; I like my own little oasis, and I’m picky about who should be allowed in it. As my Meyers-Briggs profile correctly points out, I am an extrovert who needs time for introspection and quiet,solitary activities.

Yet, I do not like to be alone for long. To say that the past 6 months have been a challenge for me is an understatement, and the challenge is as much psychological as it is physical. Something as simple as gaining 20 pounds because I can’t walk miles each day, and I am constantly dependent upon others as a result, has significantly lowered my self-esteem. It isn’t just what I see in the mirror, it’s the person I see. This dependent, introverted, physically tired person that looks back at me is not the person with whom I identify. The hardest part of all of this has been the significant amount of time I’ve been forced to spend alone, in my apartment…and when the time comes that I am finally able to get out and spend time with others, there are never any guarantees my body will cooperate. Sometimes, I end up back home in bed. It is not something I can control, but it’s been very difficult.

This is something that really hit me recently because, over the past few days, most of my close friends have traveled home for the holidays…and those who aren’t doing so are staying because they’re choosing to spend time with their families. I know that in some ways I will be happier here on my own, than visiting my family, which year after year seems like an obligation—and one that reminds me maybe a visit to the psychiatrist would help me, after all, because my home environment is less than healthy. Yet, there’s a part of me that’s still convinced that any company, even toxic company, is better than being alone.

This part of me is destructive; it’s the one that would accept booty calls from ex-boyfriends who weren’t worth my time, the one that would stay in jobs and relationships with no future, the one that would make it impossible for me to go to a club in my 20′s and end up back in my own bed before sunrise. Things that are not good for you are not a viable alternative to keep you from feeling alone.

Alone doesn’t have to be so bad, and I know that. However, today it hit me: one by one, friends were leaving, my roommate was gone, and my former roommate dropped off her dog so I could dog-sit while she and her husband traveled home to the family (she always does the same for me when I travel, so it works out incredibly well.) And although today was no different than any other day; I still worked inside my apartment, watched some TV shows, tried to make time for artistic projects….it felt different. There was nobody on Facebook, nobody texting or calling me to say hello, aside from my boyfriend, who has seemed busier than usual lately. I should have treasured the peace and quiet, but instead, I felt alone.

I can recall certain relationships in my life where, after spending time together, I’d look forward to the person leaving so I could do all the things floating around in my brain. I’m too type-A to want to cuddle in bed all day; my brain goes on active-mode and starts wanting to get up and do *something*. Now, I have all the space and freedom in my life I could want and nobody to answer to, and I am too ill and too bored with myself to know what to do with my time.

Today, I wished intensely that I lived in a city. I’d have liked to walk around and see Rockefeller Center in a December that wasn’t 20 degrees, or haunt the independent coffeeshops and bookstores of Washington D.C. I’d even have settled for being able to walk to dinner at the Vortex here in Atlanta. I think the suburbs are sucking out my soul, making me feel even more isolated and dependent. And while maybe it doesn’t matter now, when I’m sick and technically supposed to be on “bed rest” (for me, this is bed rest, evidenced by the refusal of my favourite dresses to zip.), I do hope at some point I will be better, and it will matter.

I am comfortable alone, in a city, where I am surrounded by people I don’t know and perhaps with whom I’ll never interact. I am comfortable alone, as long as I get to go out in the evenings and be amongst people, or even have interesting phone conversations and Facebook chats with people who intrigue me, who have interesting lives, share interesting gossip. Some days, I even prefer to stay in alone and watch my reality TV shows, and turn down social invites to do so.

But lately, I am just immensely bored with myself and with all this solitude. There is plenty to be interested in, but nothing excites me, because I want excitement and adventure outside of this tiny little world that’s been my very limited home for months. I hope I’m able to get my medical issues resolved soon, so I can work on restoring a more active and inspiring social life. Or, at least, I can leave the apartment and get sunshine and exercise again, so I can stand to go to the mall or look at myself in the mirror.

Tomorrow, I am going to amuse myself with hot cocoa and chick flicks, and when my boyfriend comes over, we’ll finally put up the tree and the stockings. But, somehow, it just doesn’t seem like Christmas, not the way it normally does. I’m far more excited about ringing in the new year!

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