Solitude can be both dreary and blissful. The only thing that differentiates it, is time and experience. I never thought about it before, I was within my comfort zone and could be alone or with family and be equally happy. It did not matter to me, but it wasn’t so anymore. I realized I was running away from solitude, Perfect Solitude. I say perfect solitude because just being alone is not what I mean by it. Although I was alone, my mind never was, it was almost always constantly accompanied by the internet and of what others think and do. So for me perfect solitude meant isolating myself from outer chatters like TV, media, friends, family, etc. and, actually spending time with myself, with my own independent thoughts, which I was running away from.
Everyone has childhood memories of their spend-alone time of either mischief or emotion. I remember I did not require friends to be around all the time. I had numerous moments where I laughed alone or cried alone. I rarely bothered about who was doing what every now and then. Although it is true I needed, and still need friends and family around, the time I spent with myself was in a sense ‘liberating’, which let me be what I was, devoid of what other’s thought. Nonetheless, times change, and as I tick-tocked my life by, the chatter in my life grew louder and louder, driving me away from the solitude I once enjoyed.
Moving to the US, away from family, put me through an awful lot of reflective sessions with myself. I lived with 5 family members, 25 extended family members; whom I met at gatherings every once or twice a month, 2 wonderful friends to whom I could pour my heart out and a bunch of colleagues that made work my second home. And now here I was in the US with just my husband, a few family members, no close friends and no work still. It was hard but I love my husband, so here I was. There were dreary moments when I felt terribly alone. Sometimes scared of knowing what I would reveal next of myself because I was gradually shedding my self-confidence. I wanted to avoid the negative emotions and not acknowledge it. Avoiding it, however, only made it worse. The louder I made the chatter, the scarier the thought of perfect solitude became to me. But as I gathered the strength to think my thoughts, the important thing I realized was, whatever it made me feel, sad or happy, confronting solitude once in a while was way better than feeling lost in the chatter of the world. It gave me a sense of direction.
Let’s accept it, we all have that little corner where we hide our shame, regrets, and limitations. Life happens and everybody has their own side of the story. The issue becomes if we try to ignore it; appear happier in social media, among friends and family, making the noise louder and louder until oneself becomes safely untraceable. A self-defense mechanism, which is easy to build but fairly ineffective in a true sense, because at the end of the day you have to face yourself in a momentary mental solitude before you fall asleep.
I understand that when life is not going the way you want, engaging in perfect solitude is a constant struggle, you are vulnerable to your weaknesses. But as the saying goes, “In solitude the mind gains strength and learns to lean upon itself ”, it did indeed lead me to my creative space. For years and years, I planned to write but it was only in my solitude that I could gain the strength to do so. My writings may be full of errors but the joy comes in the fact that I pursued. No matter what the odds were, my perfect solitude gave me a glimpse of a life I could truly live with a CLEAR thought of my OWN. So it could, to you!
*This is an unedited version of my article ‘Seeking Perfect Solitude’ which was published on August 31, 2017, in http://www.nirakarpoudel.com/500-words-1/darshana-shakya.