Solitude has always been a subject of interest for me, for I believe wholeheartedly that it carries with it great amounts of importance. Solitude feeds creativity, it allows our real selves to break loose and wreak havoc, which may be needed more regularly than we’d expect.
May Sarton wrote: “The value of solitude — one of its values — is, of course, that there is nothing to cushion against attacks from within, just as there is nothing to help balance at times of particular stress or depression. A few moments of desultory conversation … may calm an inner storm. But the storm, painful as it is, might have had some truth in it. So sometimes one has simply to endure a period of depression for what it may hold of illumination if one can live through it, attentive to what it exposes or demands.”
I only recently came across this piece of writing, an extraction from Sarton’s Journal Of Solitude, and I felt an immense sense of connection to it instantly, as I feel that I long for solitude more when there are certain deep, dark thoughts on my mind that I feel I need to figure out, and I believe that some such thoughts can be figured out only when we’re alone. It may be difficult to do so, because running into parts of ourselves that tell the uncomfortable (and sometimes ugly) truth is not something most, if any, of us long for, but it’s a necessary evil. Figuring out who we are and how to bring our true, full selves to fruition is a lifelong process and darkness plays a big role in it, and though we long to run away from our own deep ends, we mustn’t. Sometimes we simply have to stand tall and take all that is thrown towards us from within, to learn, for progress and the beauty that will come at the end of it all.
After a weekend full of live music-induced sudden realisations I spent Monday in Utrecht, a bigger city near to where I live, on my own, in a fashion similar to my way of living back in London: walking around, browsing bookshops, talking to the odd stranger, writing pages upon pages of notes, having dinner on my own in my favourite cafe in town, reading Hemingway and daydreaming of all that may come. And though it was a wonderful day, it brought out some darkness that I is now on the forefront of my mind, ready to be dealt with and undoubtedly here to be learnt from, which’ll be a slow and agonising process that brings out the side of me that longs for solitude, quietness. And though this brings discomfort at times, it’s okay, because the process is one of progress and that is what I, as many others, strive for. The tunnel may be dark, but at the end there is light and who knows what we’ll find once we come out of it, the world will spread open and we will find new challenges to conquer, new dreams to realise, new ways to grow.
So, next time you feel the storm coming up and your instincts tell you to run like hell: don’t. Stand your ground, try to get to the source of it, take some time to be alone, to be yourself, and work your way through. It will be worth it.
And baby, you’re oh so strong,