Date With Solitude

In her book Quirkyalone* Sasha Cagen says those who seek solitude are “distinct individuals, as complete and potentially happy alone as with our families and loves.” She defines quirkalone (kwun kee. uh. lohn) n. adj. as “a person who enjoys being single (but is not opposed to being in a relationship) and generally prefers to be alone rather than date for the sake of being in a couple. With unique traits and an optimistic spirit; a sensibility that transcends relationship status.”

Solitude. It is a topic discussed before in my writings and a topic I choose to revisit in the form of my “Mystery Date.” I usually treat myself well. I am attentive to my needs and conscious of my desires. Lately I have experienced a stronger desire for solitude. Many confuse solitude with loneliness but they are very different. Loneliness refers to a lack of companionship and is often associated with unhappiness. Solitude on the other hand is the state of being alone or cut off from all human contact. You can be in the midst of a crowd of people and still experience loneliness but not solitude since you are not physically alone. Similarly if you enjoy being alone you can have solitude without loneliness.

What is it that I get from solitude that I don’t get in relationships? The flames of my passion burn in solitude because I am living my life the way I choose. In relationships I try to make my lover’s dreams my own at which point the flames of my own passions begin to die.

I want to be in a relationship with another without losing my own path. When I love deeply, I give up me for the relationship. When I give my being to the relationship, I lose me. I feel completely lost. My soul is not at peace. I feel unnatural, as if I’ m trying to fit my life into some “normalcy” when nothing in my life has ever been normal. I tell myself, “The me I am will still shine,” but he doesn’t. My only salvation becomes time alone.

I strive to not bring harm to anyone, particularly those I love. Love is in its way a protection from harm as much as it is a tunnel into it. So how do I do something for myself without bringing harm in the form of personal pain to the ones I love? It’s not about “others” in any real way. It is about me being me. The me I know me to be. The me who is passionate about this life I so love. Solitude reconnects me with the me I believe in and love. It is a perfect date.

*Cagen, Sasha. Quirkyalone—Manifesto For Uncompromising Romantics. San Francisco: Harper, 2004.