“When you’re a kid, they tell you it’s all…grow up, get a job, get married, get a house, have a kid, and that’s it. But the truth is, the world is so much stranger than that. It’s so much darker. And so much madder. And so much better.” – Doctor Who (Love and Monsters)
I spend most of my time alone. I like that about myself. I like being an introvert. I like being able to explore the world and find my own view on things. I like to sit alone in corner of a coffee shop and read my book.
There is a point when alone crosses into loneliness. Sylvia Plath once wrote, “And the danger is that in this move to new horizons and far directions, that I may lose what I have now, and may not find anything except loneliness.” I think this is a danger that is not only found in new places. I think this is a danger that haunts us wherever we are, whoever we’re with. We are constantly moving in life and always risk losing something we had before. In these times, alone doesn’t seem worth it anymore. Suddenly, I’m wishing I had all the answers.
When I was a little girl, I imaged growing up to be a lot different. Grown-ups always seemed to have the answers when I was little. Of course, a lot of the time the answers were things like, “Don’t touch a hot stove,” or “Playing in traffic is a bad idea.” Those concepts seemed brilliant to me. I imaged that when I grew up I would have all the answers too. I imaged that I would be able to handle things. I imaged that I wouldn’t have to ask for help. I would wake up and tie on my own super hero cape, and save the day all by myself. I have since learned that this is not the case.
Growing is a lot more about asking questions than it is having answers. It seems so simple when you’re a kid – you grow up, and life happens, beautifully, and seamlessly. In reality you grow up, and life happens strangely, and serendipitously. Life takes you on twists and turns. Some emotions lead you to ask questions. Other emotions, provide answers. Lately I’ve found myself ashamed of the emotions that ask questions. Why is that? Why are we afraid to not have it all together? If I could pick something that annoys me most in my adult-ish life, I think it would be that we can’t seem to not be okay.
It takes a lot of strength to admit you don’t have it all together. More than anything it takes a lot of bravery to ask to for help; to admit that you need other people. We do need other people. When alone crosses into loneliness, we need to know it’s okay to not be okay. When fear twists into grief, we need to know that one day, we will be okay. We need to know that this strange, mad world, can be better than we imagined.