This past semester I became intimately acquainted with the feeling of being alone. I spent all my time on the things I needed to get done, with little time for hanging out or enjoying the company of others. On top of the notoriously heavy Junior year workload I was assigned, I had committed to several major projects that were eating away my free time at ever-increasing speeds. It was halfway through January and I was already working myself down to the wire.
My hyper-booked schedule made it incredibly difficult for me to maintain any social life at all. Gone was my presence from my usual haunts, ne’er more could my voice be heard mixing with the voices of my companions. My friends didn’t see me much at all, and I didn’t let them in on what was going on in my life. If they saw me at all it would be for the few brief moments I spent on conversation when I would talk at them about something I hadn’t the time to explain, only to wander immediately off to my next obligation. This kind of lifestyle was hard to maintain. I had no time to address anything except what was immediately ahead of me. When the school year ended I found myself hardly able to remember the last time I’d socialized in person. I was craving human contact, just sitting down and talking with a friend was all I wanted.
But at the same time, I was in need of another kind of isolation. Because of the lack of in-person contact, I’d turned to social media as my way of communicating. I had my nose in my phone all the time, but I wasn’t really talking with anyone. None of my conversations would make it past the “what’s up?” stage. I needed to spend some time present in the world around me before I’d have anything to say. I didn’t just need to spend time with people, I needed to disconnect in order to do so.
Over the course of this month the Pulp Babes have spent time delving into the theme of isolation and what it means to be alone. We’ve shared our experiences with this topic, some of them wildly far apart. Through reading other babes experiences I have come to a conclusion: isolation can be nasty when it’s not planned (and even worse when it’s not wanted), but at the same time it is not something to fear. We all need time to ourselves, be that camping, reading, a day in, a day out, or maybe even not talking to someone for a little while. It doesn’t have to be as scary as we feel it should be. Disconnecting isn’t permanent, and sometimes it’s just what we need to cleanse our lives. And if you’re finding yourself alone or isolated in an unwanted way, remember that this too shall pass.
Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You) by Kelly Clarkson is one of my favorite rocking-out-alone-in-my-room songs, and I think it has some wise words to share in this moment. Take this time to think about yourself in a way you might not when your time is consumed by other people, get to know your likes and dislikes, what gets you up and what gets you down. Sometimes what seems like the end of the world can be a new beginning, and isolation is not exempt from this trend.
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