Between People and Alone

Being alone. It is something that we all have to do at one time or another. Some people choose it and some people are handed it. Some feel it is a precious gift; a commodity to be bargained and traded for. Others see it fearfully as a punishment for some wrong doing. In this same respect, some people count having lots of people around them a blessing.

To never have to be alone with one’s own thoughts.

For me it isn’t the being alone or the being with people that I find difficult. No, it’s the transition from being in a group to being alone or from being alone to being again, with others, that I find challenging. It’s those moments when you’ve had someone to talk to all day, noise of people walking, doors closing, phone calls being made, and squabbles being solved. The noise of water running, a toe tapping, someone’s radio was left on. Then, everyone leaves and the house is quiet.

Suddenly I can hear the drip of the faucet upstairs, the one that has to be turned just so to make it stop. The floor creaks when the cat walks over it at the right angle, and don’t forget about the hum of the furnace fan as it cools down.

It is the panic of quiet; quiet panic. The fleeting thoughts of “are they actually coming back” and “what now”. The noise of the quiet hurts my head and I have to busy myself until I no longer feel alone.

Then I’m ok again. The quiet doesn’t seem so quiet. I have things to do and the transition has finished. Life goes on and alone isn’t so alone.

By the time everyone comes home, the house welcoming the noise back, I realize the fullness of having people at home was in the way I thought of them anyways.

It’s the transition between two people. Who I am with others and who I am alone. You see, they’re not the same two people. No ones alone-person and people-person are the same. We do things differently when no one is watching. It’s a transition between inner mind and outer mind.

For some, this transition is marked by a fleeting twinge of sadness, then they’re off to their next solo project. For others it is a sigh of relief and a releasing of tension. Notice for yourself, next time, what that feeling is in those moments, between people and alone.

Snow

There’s something about the snow that brings a sense of warmth. I know, I know… Snow is cold and so are the months proceeding, but what I mean by warmth is a sense of settling in. To me, when the snow comes, it covers all the bits of what was left from last year. Leaves fallen, garbage forgotten, flowers rotten. The snow covers it all. The snow brings me a sense of that covering as well. I know the year is coming to an end. There have been ups and downs (and do be honest quite a bit of side-stepping as well). The end of the year (and snow) signifies a change for me. It’s a new opportunity for me to set new goals, let go of old ones. I can reflect on how far I have come, and start to think about what I want to accomplish in the new year.

Once the snow comes, I know that the winddown of time is catching up and getting ready for the countdown for a new year. But really, when the snow comes, we start to count down to the count down. The always waiting for what is going to happen next. The snow doesn’t do that for me. It allows me to take a step back, remember what the cooler days mean (more baking, warm soups, and uninterrupted time with my daughters and close friends).

I don’t usually have the mad rush of gift buying as I tend to shop throughout the year, so I can truly enjoy the lights, the people, the sounds, and the smells. I can allow myself to really, REALLY, be just in the moment. The snow brings that for me. It symbolizes rest, peacefulness, and breath…

Why I Write

For some, pinpointing their passion and what set them off to start their journey is easy, for others it can be difficult, but still, there was probably a clear direction. Some discover their passion early in life, some are late bloomers and float through learning more about themselves before they learn what they were meant to do. For me it was a little bit of both. Reading had always been an escape for me. I remember sitting with my mom’s books and pretending to read them just as I saw her sit on the brown and flowered sofa, cigarette in her mouth, book on her lap, coffee on the table beside her. I’d take this little toy cash register and gently tap the keys so it sounded like a typewriter. “I’m writing my books,” I would exclaim, vigorously making sure to keep typing and checking over my ‘work’.

Writing stayed with me for a long time. I journaled, but hated English assignments; I wrote poems, but despised being told what one meant by my teacher. I knew what I felt and being told what a poem meant felt like a betrayal not only to me, but also to the author, to the poet.

As I said, reading was my escape. It demanded nothing from me but my time; time of which was all I had growing up. Moving around and being the eccentric person I was at such an early age, friends were few and far between. It was ok though. Books didn’t let me down and books didn’t ask too many questions about my life and my past. They were just the right amount of noise for my over cluttered brain.

I knew I needed to write, always wanted to be an author, but it wasn’t until I was 30 that I started to feel my passion well too high to be ignored. It was after my daughters were born and I felt that tug; that need. It literally would keep me up at night, my mind wandering to stories, life experiences, and plot lines. I questioned if what I wrote would even be needed, be welcomed, be adding to the culture of literature. I felt inept to start this journey but knew there was nothing else I could do but succumb to this need, this desire, this burning in my soul.

It’s soul searching and cleansing for me. It soothes the demons that threaten to rear their ugly heads again and again. They stay tamed when fed with words. It staves off my loneliness, it keeps my mind from the darkness that threatens to overtake. I write because I have to share what aches my soul.