Monday, January 24, 2011

Loneliness


I sit alone in a coffee shop, eating my way through a warm cinnamon bun with cream cheese frosting dripping along its top. I watch the steam rising from my macchiatto, my eyes passing over the sweet caramel crisscrossing the foamy milk froth layered on top of the espresso. My mind is taken over by random thoughts, and in a few quick seconds, my features run the gamut of emotions usually reserved for exciting conversations. Flights of fancy or existential musings, my brain has decided to think wildly and freely, and the end result of my intellectual meanderings are usually as unusual as they are surprising.

I do not understand why some people can be so scared of those few instances they find themselves alone. Perhaps, in that rare moment where their thoughts are allowed free rein; where, in a way, they are forced to engage in a "conversation" with themselves, they realize something they do not want to admit. Maybe, for them, loneliness is an enemy they must overcome with overflowing scheduled commitments, boundless enthusiasm for random activities, and countless, countless acquaintances and friends. Maybe, in that small period of loneliness, they realize how afraid they are of the darkness it represents.

But I've learned, even at a young age, that the darkness can be a friend. It isn't always, and sometimes the darkness can consume you and bury you in its endlessness. But I've always relished those moments when I can engage in those thoughts we usually can not access unless we have dealt with each of our own individual brands of loneliness. Through that darkness, I've discovered pain, and sadness, and beauty. It is like a patient lover, always waiting to accept me in its embrace.


Photo taken here.

42 comments:

  1. I loved the imagery and feelings that this post conveyed...I have always loved being alone with myself and my thoughts. Not to mention....that cinnamon bun is making me hungry!!

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  2. See, being alone can be a fulfilling experience! People shouldn't be afraid of it! It helps us grow and stay grounded sometimes ;)

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  3. I also love the imagery. I am sitting in a coffee shop as well, and it really made me want to go get a cinnamon roll :)

    I also need that quiet alone time. To process and just be. This is the only way I am every really ready to engage with others, is after I have had a good amount of quality time with myself.

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  4. I'm the only child, so I'm used to being alone. I actually enjoy being alone more at times.

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  5. I hate being alone, but ironically I feel alone all the time. Even when I am around others.

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  6. Of course, that doesn't really work if you're alone a lot to begin with.

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  7. Being alone gives you more time to yourself, to make yourself happy and ready to face the world. Being alone is a launch pad for your social life. You need time alone to refresh yourself.

    http://brownbugz.blogspot.com

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  8. i totally agree. i come from a big family so i had no concept of "alone time" till i started commuting in high school. it's a liberating feeling and every now and then, i need to retreat to that solace to regroup.

    interesting post, fickle cattle. :)

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  9. I'm all fr some 'me' time...however in the long run, I would like to have someone to talk to!

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  10. Being alone doesn't necessarily mean being lonely.

    I agree with you that it's good sometimes to spend some time alone. It gives us a chance to think without interruption, and to examine our own state of mind.

    Jai

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  11. that was a beautiful piece of writing, I almost felt like I was sitting alongside you in the cafe discussing the subject.

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  12. being alone is the only way to be with one's self,to check on the things he did and should do. but it can be a choice or an imposed situation. if you choose it, then, it's gratifying, but if it's imposed, that's time it becomes scary, because it means you're not supposed to be with other people..

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  13. beautiful i like being along i guess that comes from being left alone so much but i like it. this was a very good post. thank you

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  14. same with Gasoline dude, i grew up being alone kaya i am used to it already....
    cinnamon bun yum!

    :)

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  15. When I'm alone I feel I have to watch where my mind wanders because it can and has drifted to those dark places, but it can and has also left me in a content, relaxed place I enjoy being very much.

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  16. Nice post. I used to hate being alone but when you have kids you kind of relish those alone moments...

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  17. We are born alone, and will die alone. We have to learn to embrace it between those two, and in the long run learn the efficacies of using solitude to extract the essential. To those who are bothered by the thought of loneliness, the needy intoxicating spell of being in a group, know that the people around maybe there physically, but they too have inner struggles they deny by distractions.

    That is why everyday after work, I like to stroll at Makati alone. It's the only time I can process things. The coffeeshop imagery is well described, caffeine (and nicotine too) helps me get into an introspective mood.

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  18. Very pretty! Ever read Viktor Frankl's "Man's Search for Meaning"? He was a Holocaust survivor and psychologist. The book will forever change your idea of 'alone'.

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  19. I've tried watching movies, dining and shopping alone. I still had fun. It is my me time and it makes me appreciate myself as a unique person and at the same time appreciate the importance of the people who truly care about me... absence makes the heart grow fonder kinda thing.

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  20. I love those moments, but sometimes when I have been in a down mood it doesn't help me. Lately I haven't had as many dark moments which is good.

    I love being lost in my head.

    http://theadorkableditzmissteps.blogspot.com/

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  21. I don't mind being alone. I think the key to making the most of it is to like yourself and to enjoy your own company. You do not require another person to be "whole" or "complete". You are already whole and complete.

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  22. i think too much time alone is a negative thing. i love the rare moments where i get to eat alone, enjoy a concert or hell, even catch a movie alone. it's a nice time to be with me <3

    ***ladyvader99.blogspot.com***

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  23. I don't like the darkness. I don't like being alone.I also feel the sadness of being alone. But instead of sinking deeper into the darkness, I always try find light in clothes and everything Fashion.

    read me:

    http://themanbeautydepartment.blogspot.com

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  24. I love the darkness of being alone. It keeps me warm and safe because I can 'do' alone. I have no one around me to disappoint.

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  25. Again and again, you're a genius writer.

    And yup, I totally get the "other" people who fill their lives with schedules and useless acquaintances. I see them a lot. When they die, I wonder how they'd feel if they realize that they wasted their lives milling around blabbering mindlessly when they could have, at least for a few minutes, sat down in silence and think of what other possibilities their lives can become.

    Silence gives us freedom while continuous sheep existence just puts us on a production line with the ultimate end of being consumed by others or expiring beyond our usefulness.

    www.vthefantastic.blogspot.com

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  26. It's not always happiness... I guess.. sometimes we should also give way and space in hearts to cry our tears out... in that way our heart will have more space for happiness.

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  27. I understand the feeling of the author and I also understand the out-turns of being alone, either you will learn or you will wish not to be alone ever agin. To my experience, since childhood, I think being alone is a great help to being independent and strong.

    It was a nice post.

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  28. I love being alone. It could be a bit selfish, but sometimes I. JUST. NEED. MY. PERSONAL. SPACE. Maybe it's an "almost" only child syndrome. (My sister is ten years younger... ) Whatever. I just really appreciate the times when I can think and reflect in silence.

    Dare to Follow Your Heart

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  29. Loved the way this post was built up...and agree with what you've said here...for some it can be a blessing, for some a curse...

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  30. i love reading this post. I have a job that keeps me occupied,i have close family ties so i usually spend time with them, i have friends and i am in a relationship. I enjoyed being with them but i have to have some time alone. I feel like i cannot function as usual if i haven't spend just a day in my room doing the things i enjoy doing alone, thinking, reading or writing. It makes me feel refreshed the next day!

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  31. Thanks. Friend's say I'm a loner. I don't get them sometimes. I just like being alone when opportunities call for it.

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  32. "Solitude is painful when one is young, but delightful when one is more mature." - Albert Einstein. Perhaps it is part of growing up that we learn to be alone with our thoughts, and a sign of true maturity that we learn to enjoy it. Thanks for sharing your solitude ;)

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  33. Solitude and loneliness are two very different things. Solitude is something one chooses, loneliness is not. I know of elderly people who go for days or weeks without seeing another human being and yearn for company. That is true loneliness. They are not weak or lacking in wisdom for wanting company we are, after all, social creatures.

    It's very difficult to appreciate the loneliness some people can feel when we are fortunate enough to have never experienced it. It's very easy to be smug and say we would welcome it. Sometimes we really need to walk in another's shoes. Sitting alone in a coffee shop, drinking coffee and eating cake that you can afford, is not loneliness and certainly not putting yourself in the place of someone who is suffering from social isolation.

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  34. @blossom: I agree. But I'm not talking about that type of loneliness in this post, and to assume I was kind of stretches my point a little bit doesn't it? Besides, I did say that the "darkness can consume you and bury you in its endlessness" and that it isn't always a "friend". I find it ironic how you describe my post as smug, and not see how your comment assumes so many things about "sitting alone in a coffee shop" and that that cannot be, as you imply, loneliness. Perhaps you think people who can buy coffee and cake cannot be lonely? Or that old people are incapable of buying coffee and cake?

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  35. In the UK there are plenty of elderly people living beneath the poverty line who struggle to put food on the table let alone eat coffee and cake in a coffee shop. Are they incapable? No, they are just denied the choice through circumstances. I'm sure plenty would dearly appreciate to 'eat out', but would appreciate company more. I wasn't aware that there were different kinds of loneliness, although there are different kinds of 'aloneness'.

    And suggesting that I may be implying that elderly people are incapable of buying coffee and cake is crass of you and is not consistent with the usually wise and sensitive tone of your blog entries.

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  36. @Blossom:

    First, I think you totally missed my point. And yes, there are different types of loneliness. Glad we cleared that up. I respect your right to disagree with me, but I guess you don't respect my right to disagree with you. That is unfortunate.

    Second, I live in a third world country. I know how real poverty looks like. Please do not try to explain to me how poverty looks.My country reeks with it.

    Third, I try to be as accommodating of other opinions as much as I can, but I really dislike being called, what was it you said, "smug" and "insensitive". I refuse to accept your condescension as well as your judgment. I guess you hated my tone. Well, I hate being judged by people who barely know me.

    Fourth, I am not implying that you think elderly people cannot buy coffee or cake. I was pointing out the weakness of your arguments or your point through rhetorical questions. I would try to explain, but there seems to be no point.

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  37. @Blossom: And it's ironic how very easily you can assume that there is only one type of loneliness (to conclude that there are many types of "aloneness") as if you are the only person in the world with the capacity to feel such alienation and isolation. I guess, for you, the loneliness of a child abandoned by his parents is the same as the loneliness of a lover left brokenhearted? Is the same as the fleeting loneliness a mother feels when her offspring all grow up and leave to find their luck somewhere? Is the same as the existentialist angst of a homely man, or woman, who has never experienced love in a true romantic sense? Is the same as a teenager who finds it difficult to develop friendships? Or an old man whose friends are slowly dying? If you cannot distinguish the different types of loneliness in those scenarios I gave, and a million more a million other people can give, then there is no point to this discussion. We simply have to agree to disagree.

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  38. It's safest to be alone. Especially when you have a a warm cinnamon bun to devour.
    Sx

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  39. to me, being alone in my thoughts from time to time has been one of the most rewarding things i have ever done. it doesn't happen often enough if you ask me.

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