A guide to loneliness

How I Recharge -

As an emotional, and soul-fueled creator, the more time I have to sit down with a pen and paper - or the longer of a roll I get on - the more drained I feel.

I've tried to go into this topic in the past. It really boils down to the way I make things. The head-space I have to be engulfed by in order to produce something I have a connection with. Striving for growth, I've had a lot of conversations with others (writers, painters, etc..) about how they recharge themselves. I get flack sometimes. Actually, most of the time. People "call me on my bullsh*t" that there's truth to the sitting-down-to-work mentality. That for some reason, my inability to contextualize my heart at any given moment somehow makes me less strong of an artist than others whom possess the ability to just sit down and do it. 

I feel like there's a half truth there. Some of my work--the scripted journalism, or features writing--is something I AM capable of doing at nearly any moment. Because it's like speaking. The way I'd tell you the story, is the way I would type you the story. And in all honesty, I wish that worked for every form. It's possible that the limitations I have are my own doing. In a past day, tearing myself down, holding my self off, could have built more permanent walls in my order than I'd hope. But in no case have I ever possessed the "talent" needed to sit down and bleed upon command. 

When I put something out that means something to me, I have to have a very real conversation with myself inwardly. Perhaps--though I'd hate to blindly give credibility to those that put me down--my fluency in "me" isn't strong, therefor there's work to be done in order to have that talk. Perhaps. 

There have been countless times where things get tied up with the clocks, and before I know it I'm struggling through each day, creating less, and attempting to surmount the building pressure in my head. 

So where does one recharge? Some people (a lot of people) find battery-life in other people. Social situations and chatting with those close to them somehow refuel their ability to get things done. As much as I don't understand what that feels like (although I feel like a younger Wyatt was far more capable of sapping life from gaggles of folk), I can firmly grasp why that's needed. For me, and others like me (there are a lot of us as well), being alone is where that charge comes from. 

I adore silence. Nature. The clacking of my keyboard. The spinning of my pen in between my fingers. Not speaking, or attempting to listen and be a part of another's conversation. Just me and my mind--which sometimes backfires--conjuring or conversing within itself. I was surprised the first time I realized that I adored not hearing anyone speak, or speaking myself. Had I come to this revelation earlier, I feel like I would have chosen a muted adolescence. Which could have kept me out of more than a few sticky situations. 

Part of the exploration of this topic is to reaffirm to myself that I can, and should, take this time away.

The 21st century has given us so many things in its short span, but one of the problems that I've run into is this stigma with desiring to be in solitude. 

"Don't you feel lonely?" 

"Won't you be bored alone?" 

"Why are you so anti-social?" 

I'm asked--rhetorically I presume, because they've already decided I would be, I will get bored, and I'm "no fun". 

On one hand, I want to encourage them to gain whatever they desire from life without questioning how I go about achieving that very same goal. On the other hand, I want to vanish them that instant. In a non-harmful way. 

I've experienced three types of solitude, and all of them have been highly romanticized over the past decade of my life. But they all remain with their different flavors of electricity, that each help me feel more like me in time, helping me through the days I have here. 

Here they are. 

Public Solitude

This is very easily one of my favorites, and one of the main reasons why I love living in a large metropolis like Vancouver and the Lower Mainland. This happens when I wander downtown, or sit in place, and I'm surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people, all living their lives, and I couldn't matter less to them. There's an odd greatness in disappearing within plain sight of countless people. Usually, this entails me wearing sound-proof ear-buds, scribbling away in a notebook (I write most first drafts by hand in a notebook, maybe more on my procedure later).

A lot of my comprehension of human interaction comes from studying strangers and their's, and it has come to be a potent skill after all the years being "on the outside" of it all. It's a fabulous way to spend an evening, but I suggest going during a busy workday, or near the five o'clock quitting time for maximum foot traffic, and variety in people watching. 

Natural Solitude

This is something I don't get enough of anymore--which I plan to change in the coming months. It's easy to disappear if you leave the ability to do just that, removing yourself from what most of us call our homes, our towns, our cities. Bigger cities, no matter how unfortunate at times, are the smartest place to live for young people working in nearly any industry imaginable. But removing yourself from the noise equation is a foolproof way to gain solitude.

Having spent some extremely valuable time living in a small town in the north(ish) part of British Columbia, getting "lost" in nature is (or at least was) one of my all-time favorite things to do. BC is home to so much lush forest, quickly accessible getaway locations, and plenty of high-cost quality outdoor gear that would make any weekend--or longer depending on the battery charge--a lovely bit of silence.

Familiar Solitude

I attempted to explain this type of solitude to an acquaintance recently, and it proved to be more difficult that I had originally anticipated. Many of us do not live alone. Whether it be roommates (Vancouver is crazy expensive) or partners, or family, it's rare to come across a person that is the sole resident of a residence here. What I've found works in a pinch, is finding solitude within that familiar place. Spending time in my apartment (which I share with my partner) all alone is very therapeutic. It's such a well known atmosphere that without the commotion, or conversation of any other human being, it becomes lonely. In that prime way.

Granted, at home you must be very particular about what you do. I'm unsure about you, but I've made a habit of buying things to pass the time. Books, games, electronics, etc. They all make a hard work week move on a little smoother. When I'm basking in solitude within my own familiar dwelling, I always attempt to keep the noise off. It may even prove to be a crucial part of the familiar solitude experience. Sitting in my living-room--a room nearly always making noise in one form or another--with a book, a tea, and only the purr of a cat (in my case two) making minimal racket. It's near perfectly, and is readily available. 

I don't claim to know everything about being lonely. In fact, I am not claiming to know anything about it. What I can play around with are my own experiences, touch on the fragility of the idea, and attempt to gravitate towards that which makes me feel more whole. If I can somehow do those things, and dispel a bit of this animosity that myself, and some of my fellow recluse run into. 

There have been a few really strong pieces posted lately that caught my eye, and nudged me to speak into the topic. For the life of me I cannot remember whom authored the posts, and I can't find any trace of my likes, or shares. I need to get more organized when it comes to inspiration, or sources. 

I am always attempting to give the reign over to a part of me that allows for observation, and growth off of that understanding. 

There is something brewing here. As I put the final plans into motion on two, yes TWO large passion projects. One that is in direct correlation with this exact topic. The other is bigger picture. More details will come out soon. Make sure you follow me on twitter if you're looking for faster updates, or just to say hello! - @W_Fossett

Article thumbnail via Jennifer Mattern at QuietRev