“Hello! Are you okay?” This question is quite familiar to me. I find it easy to lose contact temporarily with my surroundings. The realization that I have been lost in reverie does not usually dawn on me until I discover that I have no recollection of what has happened in the last few minutes - what music was playing, what people said, whose face I was inadvertently staring at.
I am not merely daydreaming. This is my introverted escape from socialization, which has always been my secret fear. While the rest of the world seeks contact, I withdraw. Even though relationships are important to me, I neither need nor desire the same amount of social contact as some. Instead, I thrive on solitude. The time that I have spent alone has shaped me more than relationships have.
Sometimes it seems as though I have lived half my life through books. Reading has been a passion ever since the revelation that the symbols in my beloved storybooks formed words, and I could decipher the magical code and unlock the mysteries in the pages. I still greedily devour books. The words lure me in and I find myself entering the life of another. Books are my doorways. I can open them at will and in doing so step out of the tribulations of my life into a place distant and foreign. Through this, I gain wisdom I might never have gotten otherwise - at least not without the personal pain that usually comes with the acquisition of such knowledge. Reading has contributed to both my moral values and my imagination.
I have found that some of my best thinking happens just before I fall asleep. The doors to my subconscious are not as tightly shut then, and the things that I was too fearful of while awake are more able to enter my consciousness. I relish the time I am given to relinquish the anxiety of my day and make use of the silence that grants me the ability to hear myself.
Introspection is essential to me; it saves me from when I feel like my outward self is just a clown, dressed up in a way that is both silly and grotesque. At these times, if I can uncover the truth buried in layers of falsity, I can retain my sense of identity. Lying in bed and searching for truth within, I patch together the pieces of me like a quilt. I will never stop stitching.
The more that I become in touch with myself, the more I discover that all my emotions, passion and dreams need an outlet. I have found that through writing, I am able to loosen my creative spirit and let it fly. When I write, my concentration deepens much like it does when I read, though writing requires more effort. But I am rewarded when I see something beautiful beginning to take shape. Even I often do not know where I am headed; inspiration may strike and cause me to veer off my intended course. Writing brings out parts of me that I was unaware of, expresses things I didn’t know I felt, mirrors the mysteries that make up the deepest crevices of my being. By devoting my hours of solitude to writing, I have uncovered some of my own secrets.
I am by nature a solitary person. I have spent a significant portion of my life alone, both physically and mentally, because it frees me from the complications of interacting with others and helps me to understand my personality. Without this time in individual activity, I cannot imagine I would have become the person I am today. That is why when I grow tired of being with others, I look forward to the relief that comes with solitude.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.