Most people in my life are social butterflies; my mother, my best friends, my colleagues – they all want one thing: that is, to know other people and for other people to know them. For this simple reason, most of those around me fail to understand my frequent, consistent desire to be alone. It is difficult for those whose personalities are socially aligned to fully comprehend the blunt honesty and sincerity of wanting to be alone. Most people, in fact, become worried when someone – that is, someone like me – claims that they like to be alone. This claim is often attributed to depression, stress or fatigue. Some even go so far as to believe they have offended and thus pushed away the individual in question, and go out of their way to get to the bottom of the bottomless question: Why?
I never feel more human – more alive – than at that moment when I’m sitting on my own in my parked car, the Maltese sun beating against the summer-tinged already slightly tanned but usually pale skin on my right arm, which dangles from my open window against the yellow bee-attracting door. That moment easily defines what it means for me to be alive. The heavy humid heat forces my eyes to close and yet they fight to stay wide open to enjoy the different (yet barely discernible) five hundred shades of blue that crowd the summer sky mid-afternoon. Nothing defines true beauty more than that amalgamation of five hundred blues, except the momentary creeping-in of swaying shrubs amid the summer breeze in my unfocused – yet existent- peripheral vision. Then comes the moment I’ve been waiting for; the falling silence. It happens instantly, but I can feel the change in atmosphere. The noisy hum of silence fills the air. I smile as I am finally able to focus on the birdsong I came here to hear. Birdsong. That is one of the main reasons why I like to be alone. I never hear the birds sing over someone else’s breathing. People always have something to say. And when they don’t, they breathe. I like the birds and I enjoy their song. I like the innocence that spreads from spring to summer, drifting into autumn until it slows down into winter. The birdsong never dies; it never stops. The music of the bird is evergreen outside that window in that yellow car with broken springs that goes up hills it shouldn’t even be able to climb. The distant hum of engines in the distance and the silent yet existent moan of tired wheels against slippery tarmac has its relevance in gently reminding me that I am still a part of civilisation; that there is still a world beneath the hill of which I must make part; in which I must drive through endless streams of traffic so that I can go home and then drive back to work and then go home and then drive back to work again.
But for this moment, I enjoy being alone; just listening to birdsong as my stream of consciousness filters through nature’s music, becoming milder, much less critical and much much less offensive – much less (in other words) conditioned to believe that the societal norms of our time are standard and by nature more correct. In this singular moment, my mind is able to roam free; to question what it never could when others are around. My eyes are able to water both with sadness and delight. My heart is able to explore the racing of emotions to and fro, trying to make some sense of the confusion in my twenty-something mind. That same mind is now able to accept without a drop of shame that it is still making mistakes, still young and still so far away from being an adult; up here I can acknowledge and find pride in the reality of still figuring it out. Up here, I’m the free dreamer that is always there beneath the surface, hiding somewhere in between the seams of my eccentric clothing style which no one seems to understand. And when I am alone, I can admit that I do feel a certain sense of pride in being able to reveal at least a part of who I am through clothes that no one really likes or understands; I find a sense of comfort in the fact that I can claim to be myself more than so many others can because while I need this singular moment up among the shrubs with my old loyal friend (my car) to be able to let loose all the crazy thoughts that spiral through my brain 24/7 trapped like birds inside a cage, at least I’m not afraid to be myself.
I’m not afraid to say that yes, I like to be alone.
Yes, in this 2015 world of #besties #friends and (though unspoken) #networking, I am that person in that crowd who turns around and goes back to her car to drive around listening to obscure music in the silent darkened lightless streets at one am, the summer breeze that flits in through the window messing up my unstyled hair, and a still small smile tickles my lips, because I’m in my element.
So, yes, I’ll never claim to be an alpha. I’ll never seek the spotlight in the centre of the stage.
I choose to shine in moonlight, on my own, away from prying eyes. I choose to shine only to those who seek to see the hidden light that creeps beneath the matted coat of this misunderstood omega.
And here, I start to find myself.