The Politics Of Being Alone

I found this quote on women being alone recently:

In popular culture we have “the bachelor pad,” and “the bachelor lifestyle,” but no such phrases for women. Women who live alone are objects of fear or pity, witches in the forest or Cathy comics. Even the current cultural popularity of female friendship still speaks to how unwilling we all are to accept women without a social framework; a woman who’s “alone” is a woman who’s having brunch with a bunch of other women. When a woman is truly alone, it is the result of a crisis—she is grieving, has lost something, is a problem to be fixed. The family, that fundamental social unit, dwells within the female body and emanates from it. Women are the anchors of social labor, the glue pulling the family, and then the community, together with small talk and good manners and social niceties. Living alone as a woman is not just a luxury but a refusal to bend into the shape of patriarchal assumption and expectation. 
- Helena Fitzgerald, The Fierce Triumph of Loneliness

It made me have some THOUGHTS because I have always felt strongly connected with being alone and with myself. When I started school I was reluctant to play with the other children and share toys. I was probably already used to my insular world as an only child. I had probably already developed my own particular sense of humour and thought which somewhat excluded others. Later on I identified with the Bart Simpson brand of class clownery and coolness denoted through sunglasses and skateboards - also an interestingly gendered idea when you consider that often you can be either a Bart (charmingly disruptive boy joker) or a Lisa (nervously conscientious girl creative). I was both, in many ways, but I saw myself more readily in Bart, especially when my age matched his.

When I was seventeen I read Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse and found myself gasping and astonished at the intense level of myself I found in its protagonist - a lone man whose existential wonderings are the focus of the novel. I liked relating myself to the romantic concept of wolfishness - having a fierce, animal, outsider place inside my aloneness. It was around this age that I really began to love being alone, relishing in time spent with myself.

Of course, I'm not alone in that I have relationships with people. I don't live alone, I live amongst constant noise in a busily arranged area in a dense capital city. I talk to people every day. I have all sorts of different friendships and connections to different people. Yet my time to myself is precious and important to me. It's my natural state. It feels like the right way to be, always.

I notice an attitude to the concept of being alone that confuses me, because me alone is me at my most comfortable. My most tranquil, awake, focused, alive state. I love being alone. I love other people, but I love my space, I love my world, I love my insularity. There's nothing like it.


  1. This is a very interesting subject. Mostly I love to be alone, although I live with my boyfriend, but we let eachother live in freedom and respect eachothers 'space'. When I'm alone I can create and think. Thank you for sharing this. Love.


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