June 15, 2009

how to be alone

there's a fine line between being a self-assured stand-alone individual and being a sad lonely old bat.

I have found it. jess' ways to be alone:
1. don’t answer your phone if you don’t feel like it.
2. move to new city.
3. break up with your boyfriend.
4. get your own place, make it beautiful, white walls and low lighting.
5. stock up on very good books.

6. accept all invitations, give every person you meet a chance.
7. intend to go to the gym. a lot.
8. phone tried and tested friends. email the distant ones. forget the rest.
9. build up an amazing online identity.
10. consider buying a vibrator.

11. call your ex a few times to prove you are friends.
12. take your time thinking about what you’ll eat next. then overeat.
13. leave the toilet door open.
14. leave every social occasion exactly when you want to.
15. don’t drink at home. the alcohol is for when you have guests.

16. invest in a friendship with someone attractive but far away (a nice buzz and nothing will come of it)
17. commit to regular random activities (eg. lilongwe writers circle)
18. find local carpenter to tackle your every furniture fantasy.
19. never let your friends housesit, they’ll use your bed for things you don’t.
20. discover bbc worldservice.

21. use endearments on attractive friend, honey, sweetie, cupcake.
22. encourage visitors.
23. be creative.
24. hug often, kiss, handshake, touch people for emphasis.
25. take long baths. with candles. and three refills.

26. talk on the phone for hours to attractive friend.
27. buy lots of plants, water them regularly, wonder whether they are dying.
28. think hard thoughts. start a blog!
29. learn about the concept of boundaries, which protects your aloneness.
30. take lots of photos of all the good times.

31. visit attractive friend. explain your aloneness and explore his.
32. visit closest family regularly.
33. limit movie watching for a braindead weekend of series seasons.
34. pray sometimes.
35. find out that your attractive friend likes the same food as you.

36. read newspapers and establish your own political opinions.
37. spend ridiculous amounts of time painting your nails.
38. realise that attractive friend is your best friend.
39. be peaceful and hear the still small voice in the silence.
40. party. very hard. every Friday.

41. steal best friend’s music collection.
42. learn that there is more to life than being rational.
43. discover that you and your best friend would like to be alone. together.
44. travel across the world to make it happen.

We live, in fact, in a world starved for solitude, silence, and private: and therefore starved for meditation and true friendship. c. s. lewis


  1. Indeed. So very true! Easy to find ways not to be alone. Easy to be alone yet not still. I'm particulallry good at number 44, and number 1! oh and 7 and 24 too... I find sitting on a mountain, breathing, looking at the view helps. ;-) (I suppose that's no. 39) But that option's not always there.

    Thanks for encouraging me to read this. I needed it! I have been alone for last 4 days but been doing lots of things to avoid being alone as well as avoid studying!

    But you missed point 45: reading friend's thought provoking blog on solitude and engaging in cyber chat about said stimulating topic. ha ha!

    Right, back to my books. Away from facebook, the internet and filling my head up with thoughts about why they haven't called me. 'Cos if i get another hours work done i can spend an hour enjoying being alone b4 ed gets home!

  2. 46: Spend less time reading 'how to' books. Believe in yourself and come up with your own 'how to' list. Nice one Jess.

  3. 'To dare to live alone is the rarest courage; since there are many who had rather meet their bitterest enemy in the field, than their own hearts in their closet.' Charles Caleb Colton
    I love your advice on how it should be done.

  4. #45... wake up early :-)

  5. What a concoction of pure undiluted bullshit mixed with a double dose of rubbish! Anyone who comes up with a list like this as a recipe for life not only deserves to be alone, but should be locked up alone, very far away where they can never, never pollute anyone with it!

  6. Mystic Lunatic16 June, 2009 12:19

    It reads like a new foray into breaking down some boundaries and/or allowing attractive friend to come in over present boundaries.

    Could also be interpreted like you have graduated from other interactions into the new one with attractive friend.

    But it also reads to say you are learning to enjoy the pleasure of your own company.

    I do not think its a recipe for everyone. This is like country music. Faith Hill, Mcgraw, Kenny Chesney all write beautiful music and play it like sonic treasures but I dont really like country. But that dont mean I should cuss them out.

    Heck! Acacia I love your brand of bull. You know what I say about life. Life is full of bull but its what fertilizes things to grow so beautifully!

    You can bull me anyday, I will take it with 2 teaspoons of sugar and some lemon juice.

  7. Loneliness is not something that you would typically experience in Africa..? Thankfully in most places you are never really alone and there is always a chance to share a smile a laugh or beer.

    Is loneliness healthy or unhealthy..? depends on whose philosophy you base it on. Or is it like many things in life where balance is best.. moments of solitude.. and moments of multitude.

    I like the reflection and thought that was put into the list..

    In addition to redbull.. I love your brand of bull too!!

  8. we all have our own recipes for how to survive alone...some more flavorful than others. i know where to come when i've run out of ideas.

  9. Not to accept to have to make a choice between being alone and having our personal space invaded is where it's at. The need not look at the two as mutually exclusive is where it's at. The idea that two can be alone together is key.

    It's not unusual to need a therapeutic break away from someone who is not well versed in this concept. Phrases like "I can only take him/er in small doses" or "s/he's constantly in my hair" are often used to describe the ability or rather lack thereof it to be alone together

    The minute we present the choice to either be alone or be in the company of folks who are constantly in "one's hair" we've missed the point.

    A wise quote on the concept of being alone together, "it seems to me the best most respectful most sustainable approach" This is where it's at.

  10. [Extract from 'Why Men Prefer Bitches']

    He must feel that you choose to be with him, not that you need to be with him. Only then will he perceive you as an equal partner.

    The mere fact that the bitch can throw a little weight around or put him in his place once in a while gives him the impression she doesn't need to be with him. She can stand on her own two feet. So, instead of feeling as if he's lost his freedom, he feels as though he has gained a strong woman. The relationship is a contributing force, rather than an obligation he is stuck with.

    this is also why giving him space is so important. It makes you look proud rather than desperate. It enables you to remain a challenge indefinitely. Why? As a person, you feel you are complete with him or without him.

  11. i love the subtlety of this concept 'being alone together'... its powerful yet understated - your use of the full stop between alone and together conveys this perfectly - similarly the use of humor in other areas effectively contrasts the gravity of the message to capture the very subtle nature of it...

  12. Babes, i dont know about 6 & 7 but i'll start trying, starting immediately, though this weekend is looking rather tight, lol!!! Now that U mention, I cannot fink of one friend I have, females that is, who is not a bombshell, I love pretty women (using the terms quite loosely...) somethin i grew up on, i mean loving pretty things. I'll think about politics but i dont really like politics but i guess i can try finding out what's up wit my own country.... so much to say so little time but u get the point...

    hi acacia!
    forgive me for stating your name as acacia. i mean if it is not your name. i hope you are ok.
    i write this mail to thank you for the maturity you show in your composition; especially when it comes in putting together FACE VALUE. through your articles, i really see your face. though at a distance and imaginary, i get the pic of what kind of a woman you are: so sensitive and delicate plus independent yet at cross roads.
    as if that is not enough, i get inspiration too in the articles. me being a guy and so many times with shattered hopes: i recently resorted in creating my small world: that of technology. in it, i confess i do everything. i have those fake friends i have never seen before who constantly give me comfort. yet still, the need pops up now and then to belong to some company: that of friends. to resolve that i have come to patronise pubs. but that is as a means of creating genuine voices within my world.
    continue writing your blog as often as possible: it is always my daily day's reflection. they remind me of those seminary days when we were having inspiration spiritual talks that i hated for being long but loved because of their contents.
    yours ekari.

  14. 'Friendship needs no words - it is solitude delivered from the anguish of loneliness.'
    Dag Hammarskjold

  15. Oh me, oh my. Some points I'd go with, others i wouldnt. I think you're trying to set me up with my 'attractive friend', wont you give me a hint!!

    I think you are right, there is a very fine line between "self assured..." and "sad and lonely"... I hope that I too have found the balance, until, that is, i find someone to approve of what i currently dont need approval for *ahem* (see The Happy Lie!)

    Another great bit of writing Acacia.

    To some this may be bull, and to others inspirational, we can't please all the people all the time, otherwise the self destruct button would soon follow...

  16. turn your tv off and take your headphones out


malawian writers online

Share on Facebook