I am a loner.
That’s a funny thing to admit when you’re a woman with social skills, a good job, a boyfriend, and seemingly everything else going well. I’m an introvert, true, and I think that contributes. But I also just generally thrive on spending time alone. If I have a bad day or a good one, I don’t text a friend. Most of my friends I rarely see more than once every other week. I know you’ll say, “Well, lives are just busy,” but it goes beyond that. It comes down to be me just being a solitary woman.
Today I went walking with Ru at the Marina near our house on my lunch break. I wore my wellies and the grass was up to my knees. It was windy and a little stormy, and I was just overcome with this intense feeling of perfection. Like I wanted to bottle up that time and place and put it in my pocket and keep it with me always. Don’t get me wrong, I love seeing my friends, but that emotional experience was only possible because I was there, by myself, on that lush, windy hill.
I didn’t choose to be a loner. Maybe we all get to be a little bit more alone as we get older. We all have different jobs and we all have partners and there’s just not enough time in the day to make other people the priority any more. But the truth is, I do have time, and most of the time, I’d rather just be walking on that hill alone.
I recently took a new personality quiz, the Enneagram, and while my results were interesting, most of all I was fascinated to find that every single question that related to, “Do you connect with other people or do you keep to yourself,” I answered that I keep to myself. This was startling, because prior to that, I always thought I was close to others. I certainly have friends who I love and care for deeply. And when I do see them, I feel I am open and raw and vulnerable with them. I’m not a reserved person.
I haven’t had a true best friend in years, and I think that’s contributing to this sense of me being alone. Reg, I suppose, is my best friend and closest confident, which makes sense of a seven year relationship. But most of my closet girl friends have moved on or are wrapped up in their own lives. I have no resentment of course, and if I’m being honest, I keep to myself so much anyways.
In some books and movies, we romanticize outsiders. Holden from Catcher in the Rye. Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower. But in practice, most people just think loners are weirdos who lack the social skills to reach their full potential. If only they weren’t mentally ill, if only they weren’t too awkward, then they could have friends and be happy like everyone else.
It’s not that I’m ashamed or upset that I’m a loner. I know that our society values extroverted traits over introverted ones, and I am a proud introvert, so similarly I recognize that we don’t put a high premium on solitary women, yet that is what I am. Still, I am hard pressed to think of many women as solitary as me, and that makes me feel a little strange. Even more alone in my aloneness.
Are you a loner? How do you feel about being alone?