Cold Comfort

―“I have never found a companion that was so companionable as solitude.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

I rarely feel the pull of connecting to people in a social setting. I’ve always felt at ease, lost in my thoughts, pondering deep subjects or trivial ones. I enjoy the quiet, I thrive in it. Hour upon hour I can be engrossed in a novel or I can immerse myself in music and drift away. When the stillness of solitude envelopes me, I feel serene, I feel comfortable. My favorite time of day is early in the morning, while the world sleeps, when the silence sings to me, a harmony that soothes my soul.

“I want to be with those who know secret things or else alone.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke

Another tenet of solitude that could be at the root of my anti-social proclivities, people bore me. This is more of an indictment of my past and present tendencies to be more than a little judgemental. I never put enough effort into engaging people that I didn’t view as an intellectual. I can be dismissive and callous at times, not the most attractive of traits. I’m inspired by people that enlighten me or by people that I can learn from, people that create things or have deep insight into a complex issue. Ive never been able to find the balance between intellectual curiosity and the art of banal conversations with strangers.

“being alone never felt right. sometimes it felt good, but it never felt right.” ― Charles Bukowski, Women

With solitude comes much contemplation and introspection. There are times when I question the validity of my reasoning for seeking the comfort of aloneness. Did I choose this path? Does it bring me genuine bliss? Did I voluntarily walk into the dark to escape a society that I loathe at times? Am I normal? There are times times when solitude is a refuge from the chaos, a port in the storm. There also times when i ache for conversation, when the walls around me are suffocating.

“What’s agitating about solitude is the inner voice telling you that you should be mated to somebody, that solitude is a mistake. The inner voice doesn’t care about who you find. It just keeps pestering you, tormenting you–if you happen to be me–with homecoming queens first, then girls next door, and finally anybody who might be pleased to see you now and then at the dinner table and in bed on occasion. You look up from reading the newspaper and realize that no one loves you, and no one burns for you.”
― Charles Baxter, El festín del amor

Well said Mr. Baxter.


4 thoughts on “Cold Comfort

  1. “My favorite time of day is early in the morning, while the world sleeps, when the silence sings to me, a harmony that soothes my soul.” Well said. I too enjoy the same time period (or late, late night, which is tantamount to the same thing). The world is so literally loud that it’s nice to be able to escape from that within one’s own head.

    To some extent, I too share this thirst for intelligence discourse. On more than one occasion, I have stopped talking to people that simply cannot provide that. Certainly, I do not seek ti all the time; I enjoy the frivolous, the goofy, the wild because life cannot be all-encompassing in its seriousness, a balance is required.

    You’re questioning based off Bukowski’s quote is apt. That’s the double-edged sword of being introspective and self-aware: you’re self-aware that you’re being self-aware and introspect may be a bad thing. Consideration is given to every possibility including the possibility that there may be something wrong with us for thinking too much and too alone.

    And I’m sure you know what I thought of when I read “no loves you, and no one burns for you.” Stark and powerful wording. I love it.

  2. Pingback: Don’t surrender! God is your constant companion | Why I Believe in God

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