I have always loved to be around people, and thrive on the conversation and laughter in a moderate sized group. I also like people one on one. This is one way that I know that I am maladjusted in Texas is that I tend to be a bit withdrawn.
As a preteen, I lived alone with a single mother who worked all day and went out all night so I spent most of the time for those couple of years by myself. This was especially difficult in the summer when I didn't have at least school to break up the monotony of my days. I was stuck inside and not allowed to go out of the house. I think I got a little glimpse of what it must be like to be in solitary confinement during that time. I wasn't allowed outside, at all. I didn't have any friends. Life was pretty miserable. I think it is why I gravitate to people and relationships - I have almost a fear of being alone.
I just watched "Into the Wild" about a guy who leaves civilization and goes and lives in the Alaskan wild country completely alone. He talks to an apple, and screams his brains out and does a lot of things we might consider eccentric, but he seems pretty content with his life. It just amazed me that someone would have the courage to go off alone into this vast expanse with not another living soul. I noticed that all his relationships (shown in flashbacks) were a mess, and full of obligation, expectation. Some days I feel like I will drown for the heaviness of the expectations that others have of me, and I can't even imagine what it would be like to be free from all of that. But it would also mean being free from their love, companionship, and all the beauty they bring to my life. Most of the time, I would think this is too high a price to pay. One of the quotes he wrote in a book toward the end of the movie was "Happiness only real when shared." This helped me a lot as I sat pining for the freedom and simplicity of his solitude, to realize that the things you go through in life are rather hollow unless you have someone to share them with.
One thing I could totally relate to was the writing. I know that if I had time alone I would write and write and write. It is how this great story was recalled later, through the words of the one who had experienced it. But I also wondered if some would consider him mentally ill, unable to make sound decisions for himself. I wondered how much we have lost or kept others from in this incessant desire in our culture to put labels on, medicate and hold back anyone wanting to do anything unorthodox like taking off into the wilderness alone.
For the first time ever, this year on my birthday I told Travis I wanted a weekend alone for my birthday. That was in February - and of course we haven't had the financial ability to do that. I just want some quiet, a reprieve from the expectations, the noise, the constant asking of questions, the never ending cycle of housework, bill paying and errands. It gave me a thrill to even be able to say that I wanted to be alone - and deep inside it terrifies me. Not necessarily because I'm afraid someone will figure out that I'm all alone and hurt me, but because I fear I will not enjoy my own company.
I am still going to pursue that sweet solitude the first chance I get.