I was on a nature walk recently when I crossed paths with three elderly people speaking a language I couldn’t place. When they saw me, the lone man raised his fist in the air.
“Good for you! Alone!” He said, smiling and gesturing to our natural surroundings.
I raised my own fist and my boyfriend Camera, in the other. In the eyes of the general public, I was by myself. I’m very lucky that Camera is an understanding sort of partner.
“Yes! Can’t wait for someone…must go!!” I said in broken English, even though I speak perfectly good sentence-wise. I say perfect in sentences. I can get my words out.
(I don’t know why I do this. Must be the decades of speaking to my mom in all sorts of broken up ways so she can understand what I’m babbling about.)
They all smiled at me and headed to a bench to take a break. Their good cheer gave me a boost.
I like being alone unless I’m having dinner by myself at a restaurant. Where do I look? Should I stare thoughtfully at empty spaces so as not to creep people out? Or is this creepy in itself? Is it sad to read a book by candlelight while shoving food down my throat?
I should rephrase: I don’t have a problem being alone most of the time. Sometimes being with my own thoughts is terrifying, but at least it’s an activity that doesn’t harm anyone else.
I get filled up really quickly the more energetic and crowded the situation. I can be as outgoing as the next person, and then my inner timer goes off !ding! without warning. I will start to sag and sway. I elbow myself in the side – yes, this is possible – and say, “You’re done. Better come up with an exit strategy.”
After I say a few goodbyes, I know how to slip away, unnoticed.
I guess once a ninja, always a ninja.
It’s strange to want to connect with people yet need to be alone. Someday I’d like to be in a serious relationship with the right person, yet I also ‘joke’ about wanting them to live next door to me, not with me. I secretly – that is, until now – think this is a brilliant idea.
I used to think this kind of push-pull was terribly antisocial of me, but I now know that there are many people who can relate. For goodness’ sake, even Oprah needs time alone with her thoughts.
We like our feet on the earth and we want to soar the skies. We like you…in doses. We know how to play well with others (this is up for debate) and are fine playing by ourselves. We have a lot of words to share, but sometimes they get stuck on the way out of our mouths. We like to write things out. Can I get a holla??
Oh, I forgot, you’re probably in hiding. That’s okay. I get it. For now, know that I am raising a triumphant fist in the air for you. We solo explorers need to stick together…until we need to go back to our respective hiding places.