Tales from the Road – #2 Alone

This summer I embarked on a 2 week solo roadie around the East Coast of our North Island. In normal times, this would be an absolute indulgence; but this year even more so. I am very aware of how privileged I am to be able to do this. And I’m trying to fill and appreciate every moment

I also decided to take this opportunity to challenge myself writing wise… and so decided to “freelance” my blog…. Am asking for suggestions for blog topics,  and then giving myself 36 hours to write and publish the blog.

So here we go….

My second guest topic is…

Feeling Alone in when you’re in a room full of people…

Feeling lonely when surrounded by a crowd.

Finding solace in solitude..

The 2 sides of the Alone Coin

Loneliness is a state of mind. In my darkest days, I have felt so disconnected with the people around, that I wonder if I am in the same physical space that they are. I have been to events with dozens of people having fun, partying or at a concert; seemingly having the same good time; when on the inside I feel as if I know nobody there. Its more than feeling excluded; or not belonging; its that almost claustrophobic feeling you get when, for whatever reason you are just not on the same plane as everyone else. We play the game though; appearing to be having the same awesome time; trying to hide the disconnect. Often we drink or do drugs to cover the detachment; Dutch Courage, or just trying to fit in by joining in and sharing the substances on offer..

We live in a society based on inclusion rules. If you are at a party or concert – you must be, by definition,  “having a good time”. This “convention” never takes into account where you are in your life; or even how your day has gone. It is extremely bad form to appear to not want to be there. But what do you do if, on that day, you feel sad; it is a bad MH day; or the event only emphasises a gaping hole in your life? You play along, fitting in, working really hard at “having fun”. It can be exhausting; it is dispiriting..

And sometimes its Social Anxiety at play. Some people are just not wired to be in big groups; all that following convention, reading and understanding nonverbal cues. All those expectations. Whether they are real or imagined, to the socially anxious brain, it doesn’t really matter; all that matters, is you feel like you’re about to fail some imagined test. What seems second nature to most becomes a nightmare to others.. Introverts find ways to cope with these events – clinging to a Side Kick; drinking; offering to help in the kitchen – having a job eliminates the need to socialise; hanging to the outside of a group of people, nodding and smiling – but not actually participating… Going outside for “Fresh AIR”.. All the time wondering, why other people seem to do this with ease…

Or you might be a newcomer into an already tight group of people. You hover on the outside; not wanting to intrude but needing to get a toe hold; find your niche. To the old hands you are probably seen as a newbie, already included, but just needing to find your place. Whereas you are hanging around, feeling awkward; trying to surreptitiously learn the rules and the relationships until you eventually fit in..

I once heard an interview with an old Parish priest. The topic of celibacy came up, as it always does. And in response to the question “was he not lonely living the celibate life?”; his answer caused me to ponder. “In my line of work, I often counsel couples; and have found sometimes the loneliest place can be within a relationship.” The same could be said for peer; work; friendship groups. Just because you are surrounded by others does not necessarily mean you are comfortable.

Perversely; I can be in a zen mood; and be in the very same situation – a room full of people; and still not be participating 100%; but happy in my own headspace; not troubled just calm…

I’m currently on a solo roadie. A lot of people cannot understand it; and think that staying places by myself and not seeing a friendly face will be a lonely trip; but I am enjoying the solitude; moving at my own pace; seeing and doing the things that give me peace feels like the ultimate selfish indulgence… I am however viewing it as a chapter on my path of self-discovery; #selfcare.. I don’t feel lonely, even when in a café or restaurant. I just feel like me. One of the days I had no cell phone coverage for 24 hours – really “cut off”; instead of difficult; it was very liberating! There was no Wi-Fi or TV; forced to just be, entertain myself; write a blog; read a book; just Be…

Feeling Alone or feeling Connected actually does not depend on where you are, or what your circumstance is… Its ALL depends on how you are feeling at that precise moment…

Waiho ra kia tu takitahi ana

nga whetu o te rangi

Let it be one alone

that stands among the stars in the sky

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