“Lonely is a freedom that breathes easy and weightless and lonely is healing if you make it.”
This quote is from a poem entitled “How to be Alone” by Tanya Davis, who is a musician and poet based out of Nova Scotia. I discovered this poem in a YouTube video from 2010 that randomly popped up on my feed one day. I finally decided to click on it because it kept drawing my eye, especially considering the fact that the video now has nearly 9.5 million views.
As a total introvert, this poem absolutely spoke to me. In this day and age, loneliness is generally frowned upon. As Tanya mentions in her poem, “society is afraid of alonedom; like people must have problems if, after a while, nobody is dating them.” I personally love being alone, and have no problem doing things on my own that other people seem to struggle with. For example, I’ve seen many people struggling with eating in dining halls alone or trying new clubs by themselves. However, by approaching loneliness with a new mindset, I think everybody could do with some time alone, allowing space for personal introspection and growth.
In the past, I have learned to function really well on my own. As a really weird and imaginative kid growing up, I found myself rather isolated and noticed myself not fitting in at school. However, in high school I really embraced this “not fitting in” thing. I thought it was a lot more fun and interesting to be weird and not fit in as opposed to conforming to this fear of loneliness and isolation we all face. Also, embracing this allowed me to be more true to myself. I didn’t allow space for peer pressure or societal expectations, and it brought forth an entire mindset of not letting myself care what other people think and to pursue things that make me happy.
In addition, I think alone time allows you to grow and change into a version of yourself free from outside influences. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve met a handful of people in my life who have had immense impacts on me, and they have inspired and influenced me in countless positive ways that have completely changed who I am, all for the better. However, one thing I oddly loved about online classes last year was how free I felt from peer pressure. I was able to grow and change in the ways I wanted to without any underlying fear of what other people would think (no matter how hard you try, it’s hard to completely escape sometimes). I felt empowered in having the time, space, and freedom to embrace this isolation and use it to my advantage to work on myself, because let’s face it, some serious growth just needs to happen once high school ends and you start college.
All in all, this poem further allowed me to embrace time with myself, face loneliness with a new perspective, and see isolation more as an opportunity for growth than a lack thereof. So whether you’re an extrovert, introvert, or somewhere in between, I think we can all face alonedom with a new perspective and carry that with us in the quiet moments when we can embrace the company of ourselves.