How To Be Alone

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I’m about to get real, folks. Really real.

I like to be alone. I’m not simply saying, “I like my alone time.” Nothing puny like that. I’m saying, “I utterly love being alone.” I take a lot of flack for this — from society, from those whom I love, from therapists around the world spouting “connection” and “human interaction”. I have frequent conversations with myself wherein I ask, “Am I normal? Is there something wrong with me?” When I allow myself to buy into society’s spigot of “norms”, I’m pretty certain that I’m whack. Except then I feel that rush of joyful bliss that makes me giggle out loud when I’m all by myself and all of those theories flush right down the drain.

The How

Make Thanksgiving dinner the night before Thanksgiving because you simply cannot wait and you’re not expecting company anyway. Prepare only the foods you love, mainly those with a sauce of some sort. Prep your $1100 mattress for a canvas o’ culinary goodness and feast on roasted turkey with sage, whipped mashed potatoes drizzled with real butter and smooth, creamy gravy, baked yams with bubbling brown sugar sauce, and Waldorf salad swimming in sugar syrup, minus the gross bananas. Watch Disney movies while you eat and spill blobs of said gravy onto said mattress. Lay there after your gorge, feeling like a sixteen year old boy who just lost his coveted virginity in 3.2 minutes. Sleep in the wet spot.

Let me say up front that I love my friends and my family and I realize that, at their hearts, they really just want to spend time with me. I should feel honored and I want this too. In theory. I love the idea of gathering with friends, catching up, breaking loaves, laughing at memories. However, when it comes down to the actual leaving of my apartment, that joy deflates like a broken condom. I want to read. I want to work at the jobs I love. I want to plot my future on my vision board. I want to write. I want to lie in bed and snuggle with the most glorious pup in the land – my lil So-kr8z. I want to eat directly from the fridge with the door propped open. As you can imagine, this does not go over well for the folks I disappoint.

The How

Shower with a purple loofah, shave, wash your Egyptian cotton sheets and make your bed with them. Find your softest silk pajamas, put them on, grab a cup of steaming cocoa (always with bits of hardened marshmallow for some chew), and turn off the ringer on your phone. Get in bed at 6:30 p.m. and smell the hints of lavender & vanilla from your laundry detergent. Have your puppy lie heavily on your chest, sneaking a lick of your face with his Gene Simmons-esque tongue every few moments. Laugh from your belly because it feels as if you’re getting away with something in your secret paradise. Read a great book, wipe the puppy slobber from your cheek with the sleeve of your silk jammies, eat pumpkin seeds.

Let’s not get it twisted. I understand the value of relationships. It’s just that right now I don’t want to be in any relationships. Why? I don’t know. I do know it’s not because I’m scarred or scared. I know it’s not because I lack wonderful people in my life with whom to get out and about. I know it’s not because I dislike humanity or am suffering from disappointments. What I do know is that being alone feels stupendous and that, for the first time in years, I’m enjoying the company of me, myself, and I. Adding one more person to the party (pups don’t count) just feels crowded.

The How

Study Native American spirituality for a decade. Discover that everyone has animal spirit totems that help to guide them; animals that reside within and around them that carry the same attributes as themselves. Learn that your personal “within” animal is Bear: Introspection. Relate to that, not to the claws and a penchant for raw fetid meat, but realize that you are deeply introspective just like Bear. Guffaw when you recall that bears hibernate which feels exactly akin to what you’re doing at present. Allow your Self to be filled with Bear’s attributes and hunker down in your darkened cave to dream. Store your fat for winter.

Do I have agoraphobia? No. I’m not afraid to go out, I don’t mind a crowd, I just don’t want to go out. Since I took a leap of faith eight years ago, leaving my marriage and moving across country, I have spent seven days a week for the past seven years out amongst people — buttloads of people.

The How

Pee with the bathroom door open while playing Elvis the Rubber Chicken with your puppy. Only flush after #2’s and five #1’s to conserve water. Turn up the volume when Etta James or Van Morrison, start crooning and dance with your dog, dipping him every so often as if you’re Fred Astaire. Play hide and seek with your mutt and be sure to do puppy calisthenics with his bouncy balls, giggle at his pirouettes. Try one of your own. Fall. No one will see.

So there it is. The real me. I’m not sad. I’m not depressed. I haven’t fallen out of love with the folks in my life. However, I have fallen more deeply in love with myself and I want “our” time together to be abundant, meaningful and full of self-discovery.

How ’bout you? Do you listen to the joy within or the masses? Do you “buy” and read the DSM-IV-TR or will you write your own diagnosis of pure bliss?

13 replies
    • Melanie Bates says:

      Mick… So sorry to miss you while you’re here but rest assured it’s not that I’m eating turkey and spilling globs of sauce. Travel safe.

      Reply
  1. Dianne says:

    Mel. I loved reading this. I am going through the exact same moment in my own time. I am riding solo and loving it. I miss you and love you. I am glad you are happy.

    Reply
  2. The Indian says:

    Its interesting how uncanny this read was, i just told a friend about this very thing i love being alone its not that i dislike people i just love my time alone, however i like a natural settings over a room they seem to be a bit more threating if you get my drift to my mental ability’s of coping and so its a challenge i love. odd so odd i never thought i would read something about me from some other…e-mail me your adress i have a Totem gift to send to you..thanks

    Reply
    • Melanie Bates says:

      Indian, There’s no better feeling than reading something that resonates. Blogs, articles, books – I always find these at the exact perfect moment in my life and they always tend to validate something within. Perhaps you are Bear too eh?

      Melanie

      Reply
  3. DeAnna says:

    Wow. I’m envious of where you are, and am just remembering who I am again as I’m now flying solo after a recent break up…what a gift you have just given me. I’m smiling inside because of your words and excited to rekindle the love affair with the best parts of me. thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Reply
    • Melanie Bates says:

      Dear DeAnna,

      Isn’t it funny how we come upon things just when we need them. I love how that works. I’m excited for you too, to rekindle your love affair with Self.

      xoxo
      Melanie

      Reply
  4. Christi Love says:

    A word to the wise…once you’ve experienced this blissful freedom, you’ll be loathe to give it up…not that I consider that a problem…just thought I’d mention it in case you’re thinking it merely a post-relationship phase…I’m about 15 years into mine and have given up trying to explain to the uninitiated…Cheers!
    PS: Works just as well with a cat with a few minor tweaks

    Reply
  5. Fiona says:

    Ah, being alone:

    * watching back to back episodes of “Game of Thrones” – no guilt, no explanation
    * indulging my inner sloth and or slovenly self – no guilt, no explanation
    * not having a plan, allowing the day to unfold – no guilt, no explanation
    * and so on …

    It took me a while to feel OK about not speaking to a living soul for the entire weekend. And then I found out people pay good money to do that!

    And, space and time allows ‘arising’, which is my favourite part of the whole process.

    F x

    Reply
    • Melanie Bates says:

      Ah, Fx, I love this! And a HELL YES to back episodes of GoT. My favorite insights are “no guilt, no explanation” and the “arising” – those are huge, right. Thank you, love.

      xo
      Melanie

      Reply

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