As much as I enjoy walking with a friend while sharing hilarious conversation, walking in solitude is something I treasure as well. It’s a time for reflection and listening meditation. I’ve found my creativity is stoked by this alone time in nature, and even a short walk outside by myself is at once energizing and cleansing.
As an introvert, though, I’ve learned that seeking solitude can be misunderstood. Over the years, some folks have thought I was stuck up, distant, and/or unfriendly. Yes, we Aquarians can appear aloof, and an introverted Aquarian may well seem to be the last cold-ass bitch in her own universe. But really, we just need our space and time alone to recharge and reenergize, because we find people — especially crowds of people — draining AF.
I wrote in this post about how being an introvert really has nothing to do with being shy. Many introverted people do describe themselves as shy, but being an introvert or an extrovert is about how you get your energy. Do crowds give you energy or take your energy?
I am not shy. I’m good at public speaking. I can and will strike up a conversation with anyone, and truly enjoy one-on-one discussion. But for me, crowds are overwhelming and energy-sapping, and I need to retreat for some solo time to recharge. That can make me look unfriendly but, honestly, my NGAF levels are high enough now that I’m just…”Oh well.”
When I travel, I am not the one you’ll find on the big party boats or on a large group tour. That’s why solo travel suits me perfectly. I can do what I want and not worry about trying to do what companions want, or dealing with sh*tty attitudes if I go off to do my own thing. I’ve experienced what can happen when an introvert’s need for solitude rubs some people the wrong way. Oh well.
Solitude is my self-care and I’m not apologizing for that.
What about you? Is your need for solitude ever misunderstood?
April is National Poetry Month and every Monday this month I’ll feature some of my favorite poems by Black poets. This one, written in 1916 by Irvine W. Underhill, speaks to introverts everywhere.
Oh, solitude, where is the sting,
That men ascribe to thee?
Where is the terror in thy mien?
I look, but cannot see.
Where hidest thou, that loneliness
The world pretends to fear?
While lying on thy loving breast
I find my sweetest cheer.
They do not understand thee, no,
They are but knaves or fools,
Or else they must discern in thee
Dame Nature’s queen of schools.
For in thy care, with naught but books,
The bards and saints of old,
Become my friends and to mine ear
Their mystic truths unfold.
When problems and perplexities
Of life becloud my mind,
I know in thee, oh, solitude,
The answer I can find.
When grief and sorrow crowd my heart
To breaking, with their fears
Within thy arms, oh, solitude,
I find relief in tears.
And when I weary of the world’s
Deceits and cares and strife,
I find in thee sweet rest and peace
And vigorous new life.
My garden never is complete
Without a blooming rose,
Nor is my life, oh, solitude,
Without thy sweet repose.
Credit: This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on August 1, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets. “Solitude” originally appeared in Daddy’s Love and Other Poems (A.M.E. Book Concern, 1916). Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/solitude-1
All photos my own.
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