Born this way

by Marily Sasota Gayeta

When I was a little girl, our house was a small, narrow two-story structure with not much space to hide. But I would always find that space, that place where I could be by myself. Where I could be alone. And I would enjoy every moment of it.

You see, I was born that way. An introvert.

I am averse to groups of more than four people ( that already includes me ). Crowds and social gatherings exhaust me. I can pretend to be feeling normal, but deep inside I’m suffocating. The talking, the chatter, the proximity of people — they all tire me. School programs  and even conferences suck my energy.  It’s not other people’s fault. There’s nothing wrong with them. But there’s also nothing wrong with me. People are just different from each other.

Solitude is a necessity for me. I need time —a lot of time —to be alone or I go crazy. I don’t need a fancy place at the beach front, though that would be nice if I can afford it. A bare, simple room would be fine.  When I am by myself, I feel re-invigorated. The energy comes back to me and I breathe it all in.  And I am sane again.

Joy. Happiness. Yes, I find them in solitude. And it surprises me that in this century, 21st century, I still come across people who think that introverts are lonely, depressed people. No, I am not. No, we are not. It’s fun to be alone with your thoughts, with no one bothering you.  You are free to think and to imagine anything, with no distractions. If you live alone, you  can play your music with no embarrassment for the genre you choose. And you are spared from other people’s drama and rules.

Don’t get me wrong. I do have friends. It’s a small social circle that’s perfect for me.  It’s made up of people who know me and respect my distance and silence. I go out with them, one or two at a time. Not all of them at the same time, because that would drive me nuts. I find ways to connect with other people, without the intrusion and overcrowding.

True, there are risks in being alone most of the time. I minimize those risks by being alert and careful. I always check out my surroundings when I go out for a walk. I don’t let strangers come within arm’s length. I double check electrical appliances before I sleep.  And I eat slowly because I know, no one would give me first-aid if I choke.

As a foreigner in the country where I am currently working, I still prefer to be alone. Doesn’t the solitude add to the homesickness? No. The presence of other people will not make up for the absence of my family. I would still prefer to be alone even in those times that I really feel down and sad. I suffer alone. I heal alone.

In solitude, I am unchained and unboxed.

In solitude, I am at peace.

In solitude, I am free.

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