Wandering On The Outside, Occasionally Looking InI haven't always been a loner but I've always had cognitive distortions, odd interests, racing thoughts and anxieties that made me feel a need to be alone.
A therapist recently expressed concern over my lack of social support and attributed to it by discussing my childhood in a family where I often felt like an outcast.
Perhaps she was right, and I am an introvert not by nature but by learned experience.
Whatever the reason, after years of being surrounded by many needy friends, I did what some people only dream of doing. I moved to a tiny island in the middle of the ocean without friends or family and I stayed there for the better part of a decade.
Sometimes the isolation was so intense. I remember a few incidences where I consciously chewed my food well, thinking....if I choke and die, it will be days before someone tries to call me and it will be weeks before anyone finds me, and I will be found by a stranger.
Still, in my chosen isolation I learned a lot about myself. I learned how to be completely alone. I learned that people could survive without me being there to codependently solve their problems for them. I delved into my mind and my artwork, read and taught myself how to do things I never would have taken the time for if I was surrounded by other people. I learned how to take care of myself. I remembered what I liked to do and what brought me joy.
When I left the island a year ago, I moved to a big city with many, many people everywhere. Now I highly value the time I have to myself, my privacy, my hobbies. Sometimes I get protective of my space in ways that I never have before. I have trouble talking to people and meeting new friends. My social skills are lacking and the things I talk about are strange.
I am still in touch with my family and a small handful of old friends from my past life on the other side of the country. I am grateful for them.
I don't know how to conclude this because with the inevitable intervention of change, my loner status is inconclusive.
Still, thank you for reading and best of luck with all you do.