Writer’s block and being alone

To the girl sitting alone in a coffee shop on a lovely Thursday afternoon:

Hi. Someone once said that the cure to writer’s block is to write letters; write piles and piles of letters, even if they go unsent. Letter-writing is the art of speaking from your heart, it is the un-curated version of storytelling. When we write letters, we allow ourselves to tell someone the truth, the real vulnerable truth as we know it.

This letter is for you.

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I think it is wonderful that you are alone. I feel that we, as people who are always hungry for community, are never alone enough.

I read once that it takes courage to be alone. I’ve gotten to a point in my life where I really can’t agree. I think being alone is natural and necessary, that we resist it for so long because we’re terrified of loneliness. I don’t think it takes strength to be alone. If anything, what it really takes is a little honesty.

(I also think that loneliness, every once in a while, isn’t so bad.)

I like you for that, stranger. That you can sit on your own, in a sea of busy people, and just be. Maybe you’re struggling beneath the surface, maybe the solitude is uncomfortable, biting at your skin like a merciless itch. But if that’s the case, it doesn’t show. I know it’s easier to hide behind a screen or a book or a pretense of sorts … but you’re not budging. You’re basking in this very singular moment, a girl with her coffee and no need for a distraction.

I think that’s awesome. I want to be you someday.

I like being alone. Some people find it strange but I spend so many of my days consumed by the business of people. When I’m by myself, I feel real again. I feel like the trappings of having to perform and meet expectations fall to the wayside. I hear the girl in my head more clearly – when I’m gone from her for too long, I realize that I miss her.

I’ve been single for a long time already. It has been 5 years since I last fell in love. People ask me if I’m lonely. I always look at them, confused. It’s probably not a common thing but I quite like my own company. It’s different from the intimacy you get from holding another person’s hand, heartbeat racing at a quick speed. There’s an unparalleled oneness to that. But try driving down SLEX at 1 in the morning, singing at the top of your lungs, looking really stupid, catching yourself in the rearview mirror, hair messy and eyes wild but not caring because it’s you, just you, and you’re too old to be ashamed of you.

There’s this ridiculous joy in that. You can’t replicate it with anyone. Or maybe you can and I just don’t know it yet.

What I’m saying, quite poorly I guess, is that to watch you from a few tables away is to pray that someday, someone will write a letter to me, saying the same things, knowing that alone is not an escape but a refuge.

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