Monday, September 15, 2008

Thinness of Existence

Monday, September 15, 2008

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments. (Oriah Mountain Dreamer)

With the bulk of my everyday life conducted in solitude, I think of my friends who are alone—or who feel alone—like me. There’s this friend of mine who hates to go home to her empty apartment. I wrote a post about her before. Another dear friend, who once called to pour her heart out, said in a mournful voice: “Pasensiya ka na ha, wala kasi akong makausap dito.” And then a few days ago, I received a message from another close friend bemoaning that until now she is still not used to being alone despite her living in a foreign country for quite some time now.

Solitude, and my love-hate relationship to it, is one of the recurring themes of my writings. I realized that that it is not simply the manner of my being but of others’ as well. Have we all become atomized individuals, living a thin and solitary existence as described below?

“When you live alone, your furnishings, your possessions, are always confronting you with the thinness of your existence. You know with painful accuracy the provenance of everything you touch and the last time you touched it. The five little cushions on your sofa stay plumped and leaning at their jaunty angle for months at a time unless you theatrically mess them. The level of the salt in your shaker decreases at the same excruciating rate, day after day.” (Zoe Heller, What Was She Thinking? [Notes on a Scandal])

Quoting from a previous post, “being alone does not indicate thinness of existence.” The moments that we spend alone are never empty. “What we do in solitary gives color, vibrance and texture to our existence. Our capacity for solitude is what sustains our ability to deliver ourselves fully to another person.” If we cannot learn to be alone with ourselves and learn to like our very own company, who else will?

For my friends and I, it is not that we have been disconnected and deprived of meaningful ties to the people who mean a lot to us. The separation is simply physical. The ties are still there, incessantly providing meaning to our otherwise thin and empty existence.


Kayni said...

Hello! I like the new look. I couldn't see the motif at first too.

Well, I think that I am almost getting comfortable of being on my own. I can say that for now because my Mom's still here, but let's see when she goes home next month.

Angeli said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Angeli said...

hi kayni.. there are still a few missing autumn leaves. :) almost there is good. i'm almost there, too..

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post...I was comfortable in my solitude a year ago but since then(you know when & why jill), i feel like things have gone downhill...Now, i think I'm going to die or evaporate if I'm without company.I used to be able to eat, sleep, live alone... I've realized how needy and dependent i have become. Now is the time to restore dignity in my solitary state...Today starts my day of detachment...hopefully, freedom from my self-imposed bondage.

Angeli said...

mare, we all go through that stage, believe me. hindi ka nag-iisa. as one said, the common wisdom is that people in seeking love, risk losing themselves. and the irony of it is that if we don't take a risk, we'll end up with nothing.

hang in there, mare..

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