“Two is a pair. Three is a crowd.”
That saying might not be true, but I have certainly experienced it at times. Children pair up, having a best friend and sometimes even a second best friend. Girls giggling with others while passing me by, being picked last for a team, roommates making plans while I watched – being alone has been an important part of my life.
It is important because it become an element of who I am. Loneliness taught me to notice the little things: a dandelion growing in the cement, the light glistening on a fly’s wing, a stain on the kitchen floor. Oddly enough, I am also oblivious to certain things around me. Aspergers has a strange way of making some small details stand out while larger elements of life pass by unobserved.
It also taught me to notice the “little” people, those others usually walked past without a second thought. The custodian moping the floor, the overnight trucker buying coffee in the gas station, the teenager taking orders at McDonald’s – I make a point now to thank and smile at these individuals.
Loneliness made me learn about myself. Often, others have noted that I am self-aware. This comments is strange because I struggle with understanding what my body needs. However, my emotions and the reasons why I act are easily accessible to me. In fact, seeing others struggle to know their own motives and feelings confuses me.
Another lesson from being alone is having peace with yourself. Although I struggle with self-hatred still, I am learning to be ok with being by myself. Going off of this, loneliness teaches you not to be bored. My imagination will quickly concoct a story or game out of anything – beads, a deck of cards, fruit, thin air, etc. Boredom is not a feeling that I am familiar with or open to experiencing.
Overall, loneliness inspired my imagination and empathy. It helps me to love others more and might even strengthen my self-compassion if I allow it. Does it hurt? Yes. However, I am thankful for what being alone taught me. These lessons are worth the pain.