S O L I T U D E
As I write this I am sitting in a big empty house, all of the lights turned off but one, the TV is off, no music playing, just me, this computer and these thoughts. This is perhaps the most solitude I have seen in years.
You all might imagine that living in 90 sq ft with another human and a dog doesn’t often leave time to just be alone. Typical days begin when one of us (usually Andy) wakes up, gets out of bed and makes coffee. By the time a warm cup of joe is sitting on the table next to me we have probably both already taken the plunge into the online world where we are bombarded by the news, emails, text messages, or hundreds of thousands of internet strangers on Instagram. After a cup and a doom scroll, our days in the bus include the well practiced time and space tango…the constant dance around each other’s needs, desires and plans for the day. Who is working inside? Is one of us banished outside during a Zoom call? Is the bus morphing into a jewelry studio today? Carefully crafted and choreographed we move through our daily lives. Once the dance has worn us out and our work days conclude, it’s time for a happy hour, a sunset walk, or an outdoor adventure. And after the sun is down, it’s time for dinner to be shared, and for the negotiation of which show or movie we will watch until sleepily we shut the computer and drift off with all four limbs wrapped around each other.
Andy is good about spending time with himself, even in the above mentioned scaffolding of our routine. Daily he spends time with his journal, his plans and his dreams. He is seasoned at being alone with his thoughts and relies on that time to connect and fan the flames that sustain his work in the world. It’s almost as if the glimpses of solitude he can find in buslife is the very oxygen that keeps his inspiration alive.
As for me, I’ll do just about anything so I don’t have to be *alone*. Solitude and I have an estranged relationship. We actually don’t have much of a relationship at all. I am, by nature, a social creature. One that looks outward for connection and comfort, and that finds so much discomfort when there is nothing but my thoughts to pay attention to. But it’s funny…amidst all of the resistance and fear that surrounds alone-ness there’s also this pull, this palpable desire for it. It’s almost like I can see Andy breathing that oxygen and I too want to know what that must be like.
For the past 6 months or so I have felt very disconnected from myself. Almost like I’m on autopilot…living and doing, but not *being* anywhere. Not feeling fully present and alive. Which, I suppose makes a lot of sense–if you don’t make time to be with yourself, how can you truly connect to yourself? And without connection to self, isn’t my connection to the world around me a bit…hollow, or anemic? I don’t have any answers, just more and more questions. But perhaps all of this is to say that maybe this social creature who has long feared loneliness, and the deafening silence of solitude wants to spend more time by herself.
I suppose I’ll give it a shot.