I always find it fascinating when people say, “I’d rather [have that or do this] than be alone,” because, like my co-contributors, I relish in alone-ness like it is a sacred gift from the world itself. Think about it, every day we shuffle ourselves off into the daily grind. There are people at the bus stop, on the T, at work (if you are employed), at stores, at the park, on the street, in our apartments (some might call them roommates, I call them intruders in my life. Kidding!), etc, etc, etc. There comes a point when you need a break from it all. When you need to sit in your bedroom, hair uncombed, with a bag of peanut butter m&ms, a diet coke, and 2 seasons of Pushing Daisies to watch on your antiquated laptop which barely has the technology to post in this blog.
This is not to say I don’t like people. Well, maybe it is, I’ll be honest, I don’t always like people. But even as a child I constantly plotted ways to escape my extremely nice, non-overbearing, relatively amazing family (in the grand scheme of crazy families, anyway). Whether it was through reading a good book (or, rather, any book, consider my obsession with the Trixie Beldon series. Nancy Drew was too cool for me. Krissy knows what I am talking about) or hiding out in my bedroom or climbing a tree, I found my ways to be by myself.
Now that I’ve grown (up), sometimes it seems I am alone in my desire to be alone. (See how I did that?) I’m just so good at disappearing by this point, I don’t even notice my tendency to going into Lone-Wolf mode anymore. I’ve planned vacations and then clued my family in last minute, as an after thought, because I am sure they’d want to know that I will be in a developing country for 2 weeks. I leave the apartment in the morning, return at midnight, with little to no explanation, instigating concerned text messages on a phone that never has the ringer on. If I am bored with a situation, I leave the room, leave the party. My picture is probably next to the definition of the Irish Good-Bye.
The truth is, it doesn’t occur to me that people would ever want to be clued in on the goings on of my little old life. This goes beyond me not wanting people to cramp my style, I’ve just never had anyone in my life that required me to check in. Even as a teenager, I told my parents where I was going and what time I was going to be back and as long as I stuck with that plan I didn’t need to keep them posted along the way. As depressing as this will sound, I consider myself a disposable friend, here when you want me, gone when you don't need me around. Out of sight, out of mind. I blow in and out of people's lives like tumbleweed. Am I done with these metaphors? Yes, yes I think I am.
As I watch friends jump into relationships, connecting their lives with others in a way that goes beyond a Facebook link, I wonder if I will ever be able to pull that off. When people tell me they hate long distance relationships, I am always afraid to admit I secretly dream for that opportunity. Scheduled phone calls, long weekend visits, emails about hopes, dreams, and muppets... that’s the stuff I can do. But if someone wants to see me every day, talk to me every day, it makes me nervous and I start to make excuses why it just won't work if that kind of togetherness is what the other person wants. It's not me to need that.
It’s taken me a long time to get to this place, but I like being on my own. I function well alone. I am comfortable with it. I like to move easily about the cabin that is life, and when you are attached at the hip to someone else, it can be difficult to maneuver. I just haven’t learned the steps to that dance yet, and maybe it’s because I was never ready for it.
But, behind every loner, there is a closet romantic. I want the white picket fence and all that comes with it. I do want that one special person with which to grow old. [And if he is the right person, he will understand my need for personal space in the form of an office/studio space in a converted carriage house out back.] And a few kids, if the fates allow. Definitely a dog. The thing is, all of these hopes and dreams come with a dose of reality. My life isn't that white frosted fantasy I may have once naively imagined. But being alone for so long has made me see what it is I want and what it is I will need to be happy. And this sense of self is all really one can hope for.