I ran across an article not too long ago that talked about people who are happier living alone. These are not people who hate other people. They have close friendships. They even have intimate, sometimes romantic, relationships. But at the end of the day, they prefer to go home to their own little corner of the world, to embrace solitude. I am one of those people.
I’ve never been much good at socializing. There have been times in my life when I’ve tried to be better at it, when I’ve attempted to be more present at parties and other social functions. But my essential nature is introverted and more inclined to quiet observation and introspection. When I was younger, I tended to see introversion as a flaw. Indeed it was a thing I felt needed to be corrected. Partly because our culture celebrates the extroverts among us and partly because most of us are encouraged from childhood to adopt an outgoing persona whether it really suits us or not. Just as we are encouraged to constantly seek a romantic relationship to provide us with a life partner so that we never have to be alone. In our culture, loneliness is seen as a miserable thing and there’s no doubt it can be. But for some of us, it provides a necessary counterpoint to all the noise and activity of the human world that surrounds us.
For me, the solitary life is one that fuels my creative impulse. I do enjoy getting out and about, observing what’s happening out there, spending time with friends and family. I also enjoy my online social interactions. But it is in those still times, those times of quietude, that the words begin to flow and the images begin to form. It is in my still life that I can weave perspective. It is in my still life that I read, contemplate and write. There was a time when a woman like me would have been pitied and referred to as a spinster. There was a time when I thought of myself that way. I’m so glad I have reached a point in my life where I can simply say that I’m happy alone and no longer feel the need to remedy that state.
*Note: I spent quite a bit a time yesterday afternoon trying to set up a shot for this “still life” concept. I had clothes that I thought would work within the image and posed myself as part of some still life arrangement. I hated every single shot. Then after coming home from walking the dog this morning, I impulsively set the tripod up in the living room and took several shots with me kneeling behind this table. Five shots with my hair pulled back and in my ratty dog-walking clothes. This one worked. Sometimes we simply need to be who we are without embellishment.