... want to be alone, it seems, according to some people. They appear to have some difficulty in making the distinction between being alone and being lonely. The minute they find out that you live alone, or spend a great proportion of your time by yourself, there is a tendency to jump to the conclusion that you must, therefore, be lonely – probably because they imagine that they would be, in the same circumstances.
And it’s no good denying that this is the case, and launching yourself into a long explanation as to why you choose to live a solitary life, and how happy you are with your situation. This will simply be taken as evidence of just how unhappy you are: “The lady doth protest too much, methinks,” as Shakespeare put it.
Of course, just because he said it, or, rather, set it down irreversibly on paper, does not make it true. But try convincing my brain, which encases words in blocks of concrete the minute they are set adrift into the cosmos.
Nor should you ever utter the fatal words “I can’t, but I would if I could”, cos this automatically implies that you feel left out, sitting on the outside looking in, like an orphan child longingly watching families together, and wishing they could be part of one of their own.
It’s a totally inappropriate statement which suggests a feeling of deprivation, a state of being which doesn’t exist except in my mind when I drift away from my true nature and allow myself to entertain the ideas that other people have put in my head. How, in the name of arse, do I know that I would if I could when I never have been able to, nor shown any great desire to do so? The only time I feel deprived is when I’ve been told that that’s how I should feel.
Then, of course, there’s the inferiority complex theory. I’ve come across this frequently as a consequence of spending a lot of time in recovery circles, mostly going round in circles. And no, a recovery circle is not a round rubber thing that you throw over your head to save you from drowning.
This theory is usually applied to people who view themselves as loners - the ones who feel themselves to be on the outside of society, not worthy enough to join in. Alcoholics are often in that group because of the shame and guilt associated with their illness. And, as an alcoholic, I of course got clumped in, and wholeheartedly embraced the idea that this was the reason for my preference for my own company. What else could it be? Unbeknown to me I was just doing the autistic thing, and copying. Didn’t know it at the time, but I do now.
And what I know now is that, contrary to all the recovery talk on the subject that I learned, I actually do like being on my own. In fact, it’s the only way that I can live and be happy, and not end up gibbering like an idiot at the end of the day due to overexposure to the world outside and its over-stimulating influence. You only have to look at what happens to me when I let the world out there into my life via the web, to know that there’s gonna be a catastrophe when I have to meet it head-on, in the flesh. As the Boy Scouts say, “Be prepared.”! Unfortunately, I can’t ever be prepared enough to deal with what’s out there.
Why do people think that there’s something wrong with you when you prefer to spend most of your time in your own company, doing things that you enjoy, rather than doing something that we are told that we are supposed to enjoy? It’s as if people expect that, just because you happen to be human, you must have an innate desire to socialise. They also appear to expect that it’s an intrinsic skill that everyone has, and that the only reason I don’t do it is because I am being a bloody-minded, anti-social, miserable grump, and I could if I just tried hard enough.
Well, I’ve tried hard enough – for most of my life I’ve been trying, and it hasn’t got any easier. Nor has it turned into a joyous activity that I anticipate with a frisson of excitement every time I have to contemplate doing it. More on a par with having to go to the dentist to have all your teeth removed. Without anaesthetic.
"Do you believe in Magic?" asked Colin.
"That I do, lad," she answered. "I never knowed it by that name, but what does th' name matter? I warrant they call it a different name i' France an' a different one i' Germany. Th' same thing as set th' seeds swellin' an' th' sun shinin' made thee well lad an' it's th' Good Thing. It isn't like us poor fools as think it matters if us is called out of our names. Th' Big Good Thing doesn't stop to worrit, bless thee. It goes on makin' worlds by th' million - worlds like us. Never thee stop believin' in th' Big Good Thing an' knowin' th' world's full of it - an call it what tha' likes. Eh! lad, lad - what's names to th' Joy Maker."
From 'The Secret Garden', by Frances Hodgson Burnett
"There is no way to happiness - happiness is the way."
The Dalai Lama
"If you don't stand for something you will fall for anything."