Monday, February 28, 2011

how to be alone

if you are, at first, lonely
be patient
if you've not been alone much
or, if when you were
you weren't okay with it
then just wait.
you'll find it's fine to be alone
once you're embracing it.
we can start with the acceptable places:
the bathroom, the coffee shop, the library
where you can stall and read the paper
where you can get your caffeine fix
and sit, and stay there
where you can browse the stacks and smell the books
you're not supposed to talk much anyway
so it's safe there
there's also the gym
if you're shy
you can hang out with yourself in mirrors
you can put headphones in
and there's public transportation
because we all gotta go places
and there's prayer and meditation
no one will think less
if you're hanging with your breath
seeking peace and salvation
start simple
things you may have previously avoided
based on your 'Avoid Being Alone' principles
the lunch counter
where you will be surrounded by chow-downers
employees that only have an hour
and their spouses work across town
and so they, like you, will be alone
resist the urge to hang out with your cell phone
when you are comfortable with "Eat lunch, and run"
take yourself out for dinner
a restaurant with linen and silverware
you're no less intriguing a person
when you're eating solo desserts
and cleaning the whipped cream from the dish with your finger
in fact, some people at full tables
will wish they were where you are
go to the movies
where it is dark and soothing
alone in your seat
amidst a fleeting community
and then, take yourself out dancing
to a club where no one knows you
stand on the outside of the floor
until the lights convince you more and more
and the music shows you
dance like no one's watching
because they're probably not
and, if they are
assume it is with best of human intentions
the way bodies move
genuinely to beats
is, after all, gorgeous and effecting
dance until you're sweating
and beads of perspiration remind you of life's best dance
down your back like a book of blessings
go to the woods alone
and the trees and squirrels will watch for you
go to an unfamiliar city
rome the streets
there are always statues to talk to
and benches made for sitting
give strangers a shared existence
if only for a minute
and these moments can be so uplifting
and the conversations you get in by sitting alone on benches
might have never happened
had you not been there by yourself
society is afraid of alone, though
like lonely hearts are wasting away in basements
like people must have problems if,
after a while, nobody is dating them
but lonely is a freedom that breathes easy and weightless
and lonely is healing if you make it
you could stand, swathed by groups and mobs
or hold hands with your partner
look both further and farther from the endless quest for company
but no one's in your head
and by the time you translate your thoughts
some essence of them may be lost
or perhaps it is just kept
perhaps in the interest of loving ones self
perhaps all those sappy slogans
from preschool over
to high school's groaning
were tokens for holding the lonely at bay
'cause if you're happy in your head
then solitude is blessed and alone is ok
it's ok if no one believes like you
all experience is unique
no one has the same synapses
can't think like you
for this we are relieved
keeps things interesting
life's magic feels in reach
and it doesn't mean you aren't connected
the community's not present
just take the perspective you get from being one person, and one head
and beauty effects it
take silence and respect it
if you have an art that needs a practice, stop neglecting it
if your family doesn't get you
or a religious sect is not meant for you, don't obsess about it
you could be, in an instant, surrounded
if you needed
if your heart is bleeding, make the best of it
there is heat in freezing, be a testament

-tanya davis

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