Words, especially in the English language, are very elusive. There is a difference in loneliness and being alone. As a writer we must learn to balance our time and actions. We need to be alone to write properly. We do not learn the necessary experience required in writing – by being alone. It is a contradiction.
There are different opinions on the alone concept. I think we have all met people who require and demand the attention of others. The most stated belief is the person needs to learn to love themselves, appreciate their own company and they suffer low self-esteem. On the other hand we have those people who dislike social interaction and want only to be alone. Does this mean that person loves themselves? No – again, in most opinions, it means they have no self-confidence. Let’s consider – if you can’t be alone – you lack self-confidence. If you want to be alone – you lack self-confidence. I have neither problem and I find this confusing. I try to imagine what might be going through my mind if I did.
So – is only those who can juggle the social and alone times properly (confusing in itself – what is the proper times allotted?) are the only people with the required amount of self-esteem?
When I was young, unconsciously I studied people – I think. My dad was my perfect example of being alone in a crowd. After supper – mom would go out to milk the cows. Usually she took the older siblings (there were eight of us) with her to help. That left my dad inside to ‘watch’ the younger ones. Immediately after my mother left – my dad would start reading a book and could actually ignore us completely. We were nowhere near stores and had no candy or pop in the house. So being innovative children – we climbed onto the cupboards, seeking those delicious baking products – chocolate chips and walnuts were a favorite we enjoyed many nights. We had no fear of my dad seeing us. He would focus completely on his book. To this day I admire that quality. My father was able to block everything out in a crowd.
On the other hand – we could be outside helping with the farm work and my dad could be a very good, focused teacher as well. He could advise and often let us do things we thought we could without yelling or showing fear. Sometimes it wasn’t necessarily harmless. You might want to herd the bull into the barn and dad might let me after I insisted – but I learned consequences. And I never felt fear – because my dad was there to protect me. Odd – that which I admire would be looked upon in absolute horror in today’s parenting skills.
I learned so much from my father about being alone. Next, I would have to learn loneliness. Then I would learn to balance the two (coming in Part II of this entry).