The Perceiver’s Vantage Point

tumblr_m3wbh9fPRD1qzjwnko1_500Being solitary is being alone well:
being alone luxuriously immersed in doings of your own choice,
aware of the fullness of your own presence
rather than of the absence of others.
Because solitude is an achievement.
Alice Koller

For a long time the beliefs I carried made Alice Koller’s statement impossible for me to grasp and appreciate. Knowing people who were alone used to bring thoughts tinted with pity, suspicion and sympathy. I was compassionate, but looked at such people as not being whole. Surely there must be something wrong with them. In other words, something would be wrong with me if I was alone.

The glass that life is viewed though is only the perceiver’s vantage point. It can feel true and be far from it. I did not realize my fear of being along drove me from one relationship to another. I honestly thought I was normal and feeling incomplete without a woman in my life was typical for every man. Without any rational examples in childhood of what love between a man and woman was supposed to look like, I ended up believing it meant ‘to be with someone’.

So many people are terrified of their own company. The thought of being at home, by themselves, with nobody to talk to, is debilitating for them. So they do everything possible to avoid just that; they create an overactive social life so that they are always with friends, or they become workaholics so they can drown themselves in their jobs, or sadly many even become alcoholics; but all with the same goal: to avoid the pain and darkness that they feel by being alone.

My phobia of being alone is not unique to me. Many carry the burden with a fear greater than heights, snakes or even death. My irrational fear was based on the belief that being “alone” was like an illness or some other unfortunate condition that happened and had to be cured. It was a great sense of failing; a sort of emptiness when a romantic partner (or several) was not in my day-to-day life.

The shape of my thinking today about being alone is quite different. Not only do I not fear aloneness as I once did, I actually enjoy it a good bit of the time. And that amount seems to be growing as who I wish to be and who I am become more parallel.

The pain in loneliness comes from all that surrounds it, not the act itself. And when you spend enough quality time alone, you realize that it is indeed nothing to fear. You realize that you, by yourself, are happy and are confirmed in life and worth by everything around you. Chelsea Fagen

I don’t love being alone all of the time but find the peace in it more and more. Aloneness is not for the faint of heart for it will twist and wring a person at any point in their psyche where one feels ‘less-than’. Being solitary forced me to wrestle  a long list of inadequacies. The attacks of loneliness I felt were actually those things assaulting me when I was not distracted by a relationship. Being alone was damned hard and the first two years by my-self felt like they were going to kill me sometimes. But I survived and am so much better for it. Will I always be alone? I don’t know and hope not. However, today I am grateful to know alone or not is a choice I can make and not a perceived lack I have to fill.

I don’t want to be alone,
I want to be left alone.
Audrey Hepburn