On Being Alone

I recently had a conversation with someone who told me they felt funny going to dinner or to the movies by themselves. When I told them I liked being alone, that taking myself to dinner and to a movie was literally one of my favorite things to do, they told me that I was much more brave than they were.

People like to call me brave. But the things it takes bravery for me to do are usually the exact opposite of the things I get called brave for doing. Being alone is an elixir for me. I love especially being alone around people. That’s why my favorite places to be alone are in restaurants or movie theaters where there’s no reason for anyone else to engage me, but where we all sit together, at least for a little while.

Being able to be with people was the skill I had to learn. It’s very important that I did. If you’re unable to be alone, or if you’re unable to be with people, you are missing an essential part of the human experience. Maybe I think this because I went out and learned the one I was bad at. Being with people still doesn’t energize me. I think that might seem weird to people who know me. I lead a ghost tour in the old Portland red light district, my favorite part of freelance life is the pitch (most freelancers can’t stand pitching), I write this blog every weekday, for fuck’s sake. But the thing about those activities is that they are the most lonely ways to be in a crowd.

I like space between me and the rest of humanity. If I stand in the front, that space is usually the largest one in the room. It’s just me by myself here, and the rest of you guys out there. It’s comfortable.