14.11.10

on being alone




Last Tuesday I was invited to a special event: Breakfast with Mother. It meant crossing London, to the East End, for 8:00 a.m., and the journey brought me back to my NY days, when I had a similar commute - from Manhattan's Upper East Side - to Wall Street, to work in the art department of a large bank. I'd emerge from the World Trade Center subway stop and walk with the other people, alone, observing. There was also a similar contrast in neighbourhoods: right near NY's 'City' was an equally wilderness, a creative incubation area of downtown-ness: Tribeca. Increasingly, over the years, I'd work with really arty people doing fun arty things. I'd choose my work by the people I worked with. People who inspired and challenged me.

But always, I cherished my time alone.







I found myself leaving the event at 10 and walking through Shoreditch back to Liverpool Station. This was the halfway point between arriving at work and the rush that would flood out of these offices - the little creative places of Curtain Road, the huge money making factories of the City (where it feels that they are, literally, making money), and the cold, bone chilling damp misty rain of the day added to that feeling that we are, ultimately, alone.





And that it isn't such a bad thing. I felt the presence of God that day. It's hard to explain, but it's been my plan to do this post - little bits of Poppy Red - for today, Remembrance Sunday. Then in a strange coincidence, I woke and clicked on The Photodiarist's gorgeous post ('on being alone') and planned to only post photos, and ask you to read her words instead.





But here's the contradiction that is me: I am a person who never uses six words when 56 will do. Brevity is not my strong point (hence waiting forever to finally join twitter). It is absolutely exhausting being with me, especially the first few times, because I never shut up. (Those that stick with me past the first few times discover that I do, eventually, calm down). The reality is that I come from a long line of loners and need to be alone every day, to quiet my mind and start to really see. And luckily, I am married to a man who feels the same way.




We're about to go on a walk and an adventure today, like we like to do. I'm sure we'll talk at times but we'll also be quiet, alone in our own thoughts. And I, for one, on the day that Aung San Suu Kyi wakes to her first day of freedom in many years, will be giving thanks to those brave men AND women who have given their lives, and continue to, so I can walk free.

11 comments:

E is for Eleanor said...

This post made me really think. Thank you Jill. I too, have never been scared of being alone. For me, time alone to think is a luxury and I will never take advantage of that.

Pearl Westwood said...

Lovely, lovely post x

daisychain said...

this is such a thought provoking post,

there are no words for quite how insightful you are Jill

x

LADYPLAY said...

very cool blog ;)

Vanessa said...

What a great concept and sensitive approach to human existence.

Vanessa

Miki's scrapbook said...

I really like this post. I'm a loner myself, too; a happy one. At times, I feel that I enjoy being alone like too much; but whatever, I don't want to change that. Oh, and I wish I were able not to shut up! On the contray, I rarely open my mouth when surrounded by strangers ... I hate that about myself.

styleeast said...

What a great selection of shots, really sum up the journey through the City. And I think your approach to time and to talking is exactly right, there's a time for being alone and a time for revelling in having someone to talk to. I, like you, just need a bit of both! Save up some chatter for Friday as I'm very much looking forward to hearing it...!
xx

the style crusader said...

beautiful post jill. am so glad you didn't keep it to just 7 words. completely agree that there is something so peaceful and calming about being alone sometimes. i think, too, when you know there are people that really care for you being alone doesn't seem so daunting or scary.

love what you said about yourself - that brevity isn't your strong point! so true, but wonderful! xx

cococollage said...

Nicely said.
I guess its part of the London "curse" too. The crowded streets and tall building blocks always remind us of how small we really are.
Its humbling.

Anonymous said...

In this age of Twitter, Facebook and smartphones, I feel like I'm never really alone, because there is a piece of me out there in the cyberspace that people can constantly access... Sometimes that makes me feel violated and exposed...

adrielleroyale said...

Great line "I am a person who never uses six words when 56 will do." I feel that in this we are the same. :)) Yet as you do, I need my me time - without it I become the opposite of who I am and who people know me to be. It centers me, as I'm sure it centers you. Awesome :)