Alone again

Seems like I can never be happy on this blog, can I? I think it’s because I use it when I’m feeling down. Writing out my feelings makes me feel better, so I end up blogging at low points.

My boyfriend is gone, and I am alone again. Being in a long distance relationship is hard, especially going back into one after a months-long paradise of being together practically every day.

I’ve improved, mentally, so much since last time. Since mid-January when he headed off to Mexico. I’ve improved 100-fold. I no longer feel devastated, lost, isolated. I have my family, however weakly-held together it is, and I have my friends. If I open my mind, I have plenty to do and plenty of people to do it with. I will get crafty, I will knit to my heart’s content, I will clean every corner of the house, I will learn to use a curling iron and learn to crochet and learn to bake bread. I will learn every song in my ukulele book. I will write fiction, I will write articles, I will update my blog more and more.

I will be okay. But now, so soon after he’s gone, so soon after the summer has ended, I feel alone. Not lonely, because of all I’ve already said. Just alone.

In the car, when I was driving away though everything in me wanted to stay, I could still feel the imprint of his lips, the weight of his hands,  the tenseness in my neck from resting it on his shoulder. It’s impossible to think I won’t see him again until Christmas. It hurt me to type that. It hurts me to think that way. So I won’t. I just won’t.

It’s  not bottling: it’s feeling, accepting, and tossing out. I cried long and loud and messy, on the drive home, and now I’m done. I’m done with that feeling. I can do this. It won’t be so hard this time, it won’t be so hard this time, I will chant that like a mantra until even I believe it.

But for now…before I move on, before it becomes easy, before we find our rhythm of when to text, call, Skype, while I can still imagine his voice with clarity, I’m allowed to feel alone. And I do feel alone.

I’m an introvert, I like being alone. I guess it’s a different kind of alone. It’s not a quick aloneness. It’s both longer and shorter than it seems. I’ll be away from him for awhile, but I’ll be with others soon. They will patch the hole.

I will be okay. We will be okay.

I am okay.

Advertisements

Top 5 places for a restless introvert to go alone

Just because we’re introverted doesn’t mean we don’t like doing things! Here is my list of the best fun things to do when you want to get out of the house but don’t necessarily want to talk to anyone.

  1. Shopping. For the ambitious introvert, shopping can be a lot of fun alone. I do my best shopping when I don’t have to worry about other people judging my purchases. Plus, you get to spend as much or as little time as you wish in each store. Shopping is low on the list because it often involves a stressful environment with a lot of people, and there’s a high chance of running into someone you know. However, more often than not it’s a fun break to do on your own.
  2. Nature. Grab your favorite copy of Walden and spend the day outdoors. It’s easy to feel comfortable in your favorite outdoors spot, whether that’s deep in the woods or your own backyard. Bring a snack, take your bike out. Your heart and your soul will thank you for it! Just remember to stay safe when alone in the wilderness; don’t try rock climbing by yourself, for example, and don’t get lost.
  3. The Movies. I know, it seems lame to go to the movies yourself…but think about it. What is social about going to the movies? If you’re going to sit in silence for two hours, might as well take away the social stress of being around people—and yes, there will be others in the theatre, but they’ll be quiet and ignorable. Plus, you get that whole popcorn to yourself.
  4. The Gym. Though not my personal preference, the gym can be a great way to get yourself active without being bothered. Plug in some headphones and enjoy some music all while getting that blood flowing. Many gyms also offer calm classes that involve little interaction, like yoga. The best part about the gym is that if you run into someone you know, there’s no obligation to talk to them. A quick smile and wave and you’re back in the zone.
  5. The Library. Many of you may be saying, duh. The library is practically introversion incarnate. Well, yes, it’s great to curl up in the comfy sofa and read a rented book, but libraries are so much more than that! They offer art and cooking classes, book clubs and author readings. They give discounted passes to local museums, they host farmers markets on the front lawn, they have cafes with rich coffee and scones. What’s not to love about a library? Whether you go with a book and a chair in mind or you go looking for inspiration for another activity, the library is the top hub for people who want to do things but would prefer to go alone. And the best part? Quiet is mandatory.

Those who prefer the mountains

I recently found this article in the Boston Globe discussing a study that found those who prefer mountain vacations tend to be introverts, and those who prefer ocean vacations tend to be extroverts. As a person who grew up going to both, this strikes me as both true and false at the same time.

First of all, the obvious fact is that not all beaches are packed tight with people, and not all mountains are lonesome escapes. In fact, one of my favorite beaches is in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont, which hosts about ten people in the thick of summer. Then again…well, it’s in the mountains.

As a kid, I always dreamed of owning a private tropical island in the middle of the ocean and living there completely alone. I know, I’m about a level 100 introvert. I dreamed of a single hammock, a heap of bananas, and a few animal friends to keep me company. Just me in the warm sun, surrounded by parrots and palm trees. As I grew up and fell in love I hesitantly expanded my dream island to a population of 2…maybe. After all, even Robinson Crusoe had a partner.

I don’t think it’s exclusively the place, but rather who gravitates to the place. A private island, sure, no one else can go to it except who I invite, when I invite them. It’s paradise! However, a beach is usually flooded with people who like to show off their gym bodies and set off fireworks after dark. They like to jump in freezing water and play volleyball with strangers before grilling hamburgers and hitting the souvenir shops, casinos and bars.

Disregarding the fact that many mountain tourist spots are exactly the same, they do tend to calm down the further from the freeway you go. Those little log cabins do exist, surrounded by hummingbirds and wild raspberries. The people who go there enjoy skiing and hiking, and don’t mind when it rains because they have a bunch of books to keep them company. They like campfires with a few close friends, they like stargazing without light pollution and getting up early to see the sunrise.

I guess it makes sense for extroverts to gravitate to the ocean and introverts to gravitate to the mountains. But I’ve always found the ocean to speak to me more. Especially after most people have left it…a September evening, walking the empty beach in jeans and a sweatshirt. The ocean is gray, soft, cold. Massive. It comforts you with its largeness, assures you that your worries are small and will pass like the tides. Touching the water is to be connected to the entire planet. The mountains let you hide, but the ocean reminds you that you don’t need to.

5 best quotes for introverts who feel bad that they just had to escape

Hey, every introvert has been there. An overwhelming party, parents asking too many questions, stressful assignments piling up…sometimes, an introvert just needs to escape and be alone. I tend to find a locked room and just sit in silence awhile, enjoying the quiet darkness. Others like plugging into music or getting sucked into a book or movie. Some knit, or play an instrument, or ride a bike for awhile. Whatever your escape, here are five quotes to assure you that escaping now and then is totally okay.

  1. Sometimes when you’re overwhelmed by a situation-when you’re in the darkest of darkness- that’s when your priorities are reordered. ~Phoebe Snow

There are some positives to stress. Many people work better with a looming deadline. However, when it becomes overwhelming, we reorder our priorities by escaping; by taking a few minutes to recharge, we are putting ourselves and our sanity at the top of our priorities list. Sometimes remembering to put ourselves first helps us handle everything else on our plate.

  1. I don’t think we realize just how fast we go until you stop for a minute and realize just how loud and how hectic your life is, and how easily distracted you can get. ~Meg Ryan

Extroverts and introverts alike can benefit from taking a few minutes to breathe. It’s helpful to remember that everyone, not just you, has a limit.

  1. The more powerful and original a mind, the more it will incline towards the religion of solitude. ~Aldous Huxley

There are lots of very smart, very successful introverts. Our love of solitude helps us stay focused on personal projects and achieve more when alone than extroverts, who work best in groups. While I would hesitate to say that either introverts or extroverts are better than the other, it is nice to remember than introversion is not a fault, and can be a trait of a powerful and original mind.

  1. I can only really and truly fully relax on my own. Give me a sun lounger, a pool and a sea view, and I’m happy. ~Miranda Hart

Again, you’re not alone. It’s hard to keep up appearances, to be “on” for long periods of time. And that’s okay. It’s okay to be happiest and most relaxed when alone.

  1. Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it ~Michael J. Fox

Most of all, fellow introverts, I want you to accept yourself for who you are. Needing to leave a party for a few minutes (or not going at all) is nothing to be ashamed of. You’re not antisocial: you’re an introvert, and you’re not alone for wanting to be alone.

Aprons and Marmalade

Aprons and marmalade

Black tea waiting if I stay

Train howls lifetimes away

I won’t be back til yesterday

Leaves your mind—

I can’t seem to find the moon

Could she be looking for him too?

Blank eyes and lips turned blue

Weak legs to carry him through

Unconfined—

Spring Break (from other people)!

This is my second spring break!

The second of which I’ve spent working!

Yes. I know, I’m boring. Last year I spent spring break at Chipotle, rollin’ burritos while my roommate was in Florida, on the beach. This year, I’m at the Globe, but adding onto that I’m living on campus. I’m one of abut 15 people still on the Emerson campus.

And it is FANTASTIC.

No loud roommates! No one in the kitchen! No wait for elevators! Just me and a few other kids in a 12-floor dorm building all to ourselves:) I’ve been playing music, dancing, being as loud as I like, cooking smelly food in the mutual kitchen…Oh, it’ amazing.

Often being an introvert is something we have to do in our own little corners, hidden away from other people alone. But now! I get to be alone in the whole building! I can read in the common room, without other people coming in to talk. I can cook and listen to music. I can leave my door open, even unlocked if I want to. I can be an introvert on my own terms.

It’s great, to not have to worry about bumping into people everywhere I turn. It’s peaceful, really. It’s lovely.

I’m sure this will wear out by the end of the week, and I’ll end up lonely and wanting a bit of company. But for now, I’m loving this solitude. I’m going to use it to let my creative juices flow! And with no classes to run to at night, I have lots of time to do that!

Yes! I dub this week “Happy Introvert Week,” because that’s what I am, and that’s what this is. I don’t even mind if I’m working, or if I’m not getting to do fun spring break things. I get to have the whole floor to myself.  And that’s probably the best working-spring break possible.

An Introvert in Paris

My roommate from last year went on a semester-long study abroad program in Europe. I sent her off yesterday morning and won’t see her until December. It’s a hard hit to take, but I’m happy for her.

Introverts aren’t antisocial, we are just…socially selective, for lack of a better phrase. We, or at least I, have a few very close friends, and not many others outside that circle. I love close relationships and burn out with small talk, so this situation works for me.

That said, my roommate from last year was my best friend in my college life, and now she’s gone for a whole semester. I knew that when she signed up last year, but it still isn’t any easier. She’s an introvert too, but her girlfriend is going as well as a few other friends of hers. Even still, the question remains…how do introverts make friends?

The short answer: I don’t know. Really, I don’t. I try to think back on how I got so close with my best friends from home, and with my boyfriend, and their origin stories are as foggy as trying to remember my birth. It’s as if they were there forever, and even though I can pinpoint the grade in which we became friends I can’t pinpoint the occasion.

I suppose it’s like how anyone makes friends. Talking to people…you see where the problem lies. One cannot overstep small talk, it’s the first step in being friends. You can either suck it up and do it, or be alone in your room forever–which, I know, doesn’t sound too bad, until you actually have to do that.

I wish there were a place where you could go and have deep conversations with people right off the bat, and then just start hanging out, getting ice cream, watching films. Like a dating site for introverts looking for friends. Or a coffee shop where instead of keeping to yourself you were encouraged to discuss the meaning of the art they hung up along the walls.

This post is kind of disjointed, but its disjointedness represents my feelings on the subject of how an introvert makes friends. There’s just no easy solution.

Either way, my roommate is probably just arriving, unpacking, breathing in the air and kissing her girlfriend under the Eiffel Tower. I hope she doesn’t spend too much of the semester alone in her room–although, I suppose she’s probably hoping the same thing for me.