In which I learn that loneliness is not uncool

It’s funny how events play out like orphaned pieces of music, floating along to find some sense of belonging, until they all connect, quietly, and sing a song so delicately true it stirs that something within you, that you have tucked away into the dark recesses of your mind.

Yesterday, I saw this post, and marveled at how succinctly the words stared back at me. Smack. Raw. And just there. It reminded me of this post I have bookmarked a long time ago — a post I go back to again and again because it could very well have been written by me.

I love it when that happens. When you see something, and think ohmyf*ck, those are my thoughts, pulled out of my brains like slurpy noodles, twisted and knotted as they are, and laid out nice and clean on a fresh plate. I have loved and respected The Restless Quill ever since the first day I discovered her lovely blog. The way she dresses her words so subtly. Like salt and pepper on twisted noodles, and its probably what draws me back to the same old posts, over and over.

It’s funnier still how these posts suddenly came to light because just a couple of days ago, the husband and I talked about how different it is to have me at home now, compared to when I was at home when we first moved to Goa. If I was lonely and unsettled back then. Today I am alone, settled and rather happy.

Even funnier, because of late I’ve been having a lot of debate about what it is to be lonely and enjoy it, to twist it around and make it a happy kind of well-deserved solitude, about timing and place in life, and about being grown up enough to hold on to this loneliness and cherish it, yesterday with an assortment of friends. Assuring them that I am fine. That this isn’t the kind of loneliness that I need to be rescued from. That loneliness isn’t a bad thing. And right after that, I had a fleeting moment of despair. In which, I suddenly felt so incredibly alone.

And in that brief time, I wanted out.

I don’t know if it was the three days of constant work, which is not something I have done ever since I officially quit, or if it is thoughts of the husbands impending travel plans and having to brave the dark alone, or if it was the queer coincidence of a few conversations and those posts coming back to resonate with everything I’ve been thinking about — but for those 5 minutes last evening, I realised I was well and truly alone. I wanted to go out for a breath of fresh air and I realised I would have had to do it alone. I wanted to go get a drink and perhaps dinner too and I realised that it would mostly be alone, until the husband finished work and joined me. Even if I had wanted to sit with a book at home, have some dal-rice for dinner and call it a day, that too would be largely alone. So I called a friend and asked him to join me for a drink, but apparently the hole I chose to go to wasn’t acceptable enough. Its funny how even after I specified that I wanted some company and cheering up, I was still alone.

That is the flipside of closing our world in on yourself. I’ve been wearing my loneliness like a cloak so tight, its hard to slip out of it. I used to be able to straddle both worlds with ease, but as the days pass and I find myself getting snugger in the embrace of this loneliness, I find it harder to come out. Plans to meet a visiting friend this weekend are giving me mini-anxiety attacks. The past few weekends have seen an awful lot more socialising that I would have liked, and it has left me restless and un-anchored.

So last night, it finally dawned on me that this is probably the very first time in my life that I have learned to clutch that quiet, that loneliness and hold it close. I have learned to sit with it. To be in it, let it fill me, my surroundings, my world, my mind and to swim in it quite happily. To look at it for what it is, love it and not fritter it away in some restless pursuit. I am not 100% there yet, because I had that moment of panic, when I felt utterly alone yesterday. But almost instantly, I was okay with it.

I grabbed my book, drove over to the hole I had picked out, sat there with my drink and read, until the husband and some others came along, donning my new favourite cloak, almost as quickly as I had flicked it off.

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14 Replies to “In which I learn that loneliness is not uncool”

  1. ‘I love it when that happens. When you see something, and think ohmyf*ck, those are my thoughts, pulled out of my brains like slurpy noodles, twisted and knotted as they are, and laid out nice and clean on a fresh plate.’
    That is what I am saying, after reading this post! :)
    P.S: Don’t have second thoughts about Delhi, ok? :p

    1. Hahahaha no those plans made so much in advance dont get ditched :) more so when there are hours or chatting about cupcakes metrosexuality and cigarette jeans to go with it

  2. It’s posts like this that make me realize how far I have to go in terms of maturity. I think Einstein was the one who said that solitude is painful when we’re young, but delightful when we’re older. Someday, hopefully, I’ll learn to enjoy my own company, like you.

  3. Ahh it’s a fine line isn’t it? We struggle with the concept so much sometimes and then once we embrace it, that becomes our new comfort. It is a great thing being able to slip in and out of that cloak, but not one that comes easy. In time, perhaps :)

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