Monday, February 7, 2011

Standing by Myself

(photo by Tabitha Bird)

"Feeling unpopular as a child gets one in shape for serious writing. 
Misfits spend a lot of time alone. Future writers use that time to make up imaginary playmates. 
As outsiders, the develop a habit of observing others. 
And being rejected by other kids 
not only fills young authors-to-be with grievances in need of redress 
but it gets them used to being disliked. 
That puts them in a very strong artistic position. 
Putting people off feels like business as usual."
~ Ralph Keys (The Courage to Write)

People have often told me I am intuitive. Now you know why. 

I've spent a great portion of my life observing. After a while I was actually surprised if I fitted in. The edge of the group became so familiar. 

Here's the thing, I've spent so much of my childhood and adulthood being alone that doing things my own way has become second nature. Being unpopular doesn't scare me since it's not really an issue to begin with. I'm already firmly camped on that ground.  

It's not that I don't want to belong, I do. But since I often find myself on the outside of things I'm left to take creative risks with my life that don't carry with them debilitating fear of ostracising myself from others. I am left to be myself in my words, in my writing and in my living. It has served me well. The more time I spend with me the more I find out about who Tab is and what she really wants to say. 
I highly recommend a bout of loneliness for sheer honesty in your writing. Get with you and find out what makes you tick. Find out what you would say if no one else was a round and then... say it. 

In my humble little opinion readers appreciate the authentic writer. Eventually I've found myself surround by others who live as though no one else is watching. There's freedom in that. I get to be myself. They get to be themselves. And suddenly I have a friend, perhaps two or three who don't need to take the social temperature of everyone around them before they speak... or in the case of a writer, before they put words on paper.

What about you? Am I the only loner out there? 

41 comments:

  1. Your words ring true. Sink deep at the same time. No Tabitha, you are not the only one!

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  2. You are definitely NOT the only one.

    I like this part: "I highly recommend a bout of loneliness for sheer honesty in your writing." No truer words were ever spoken.

    I'm glad to read this. Now I KNOW I'm not the only one. :) Wonderful post, Tab.

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  3. No, you're not the only one! But in addition to needing to be alone sometimes, I do thrive well in social situations and the company of others. BTW, and don't know if I've mentioned it, my favorite insect is the dragonfly! Magical.

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  4. I think that loneliness can be conducive to so many things really, like you say, honesty in writing and also honesty in truly figuring out who you are, where you DO fit, even if that category is unconventional. It helps to define us I think and we can draw a lot of strength from loneliness.

    While I am not exactly a loner, I find myself more alone these past years because I want the relationships I have to be real and have depth. I know what I want in a friend and would rather hang out by myself reading a book or something than settle for less.:)

    Lovely writing as always.

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  5. Not at all. And sometimes think that if Goddess wanted to create a poet, my life has been the perfect blueprint to do that, and for some of the same reasons you've named.

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  6. I love being alone, though winter tests that love at times.
    I struggle daily with my relationship with myself, but I'll keep it up!
    "Loneliness is absence of the other. Aloneness is the presence of oneself."
    Thanks for this post Tabitha.

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  7. God, no, Tab. I feel exactly the same way. And so do many other writers. Dani Shapiro (she wrote several memoirs) blogged about it just a few days ago. I think all these things are what makes us good writers.
    Blessings,
    karen

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  8. Definitely a loner here. And a recluse. As a teenager I never felt comfortable with "the group." I was too opinionated , thought too much for myself, questioned things, wasn't pretty enough. I was alone, but rarely lonely. As an adult I'm comfortable in my own skin.

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  9. Lonely and I are well aquainted, and as I've often written, I am less lonely alone, than in a crowd. I understand this quote and have lived it as well...doubled with the keen sense of observation that abuse brings (for the self preservation it affords). But I never equated any of this as being clay that molds a writer. If so, I am glad in all of it. Writing makes me happy now. It's just for me. I don't want notoriety or even to be published beyond something self done for my family to have later.

    I wasn't popular. And like you, find it strange when I'm accepted now.

    YOU GO GIRL!

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  10. I was just talking to people in our small group about this. I've never been afraid of being different. Actually, for me the real fear comes in being too much like someone else.

    Read The Courage to Write in college. A good one.
    ~ Wendy

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  11. You're certainly not the only loner. But the thing with me is, being alone so much of the time, I write most often about loneliness. But the idea of loners coming together to become friends, aha, now that I like. x

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  12. Hi, Tab:

    Your post gives me hope for my daughter (just 14 today), who is always on the outskirts of the crowd, and not really happy there. I've long thought she has the potential to be a great writer, though she doesn't yet have the skills to put it all together. I think I'll read this to her, give her a bit of inspiration.

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  13. As much of a social butterfly as I can be at times, my true nature is being an introvert. I too am so used to doing things alone that I can't even fathom involving other people in anything most of the time. I love my freedom and I love life on my own terms. Thank you for sharing.

    Alex
    Breakfast Every Hour

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  14. Good food for thought. I strive to write in (and read) authentic voices full of honest words. You're not alone. :)

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  15. Never the only one more like one in a sea of many drifters. I think some people (like myself) are just more comfortable being alone. I don't see anything wrong with that. =)

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  16. LOVE this post! The photograph is beautiful and drew me into the text.
    BRILLIANT.
    It's comforting to know that it's okay to be alone- even in a crowd- it's alright...

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  17. I crave my solitude like most people crave another person.

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  18. I love reading your blog, Tabitha. Every time I come here I fall in love with being a writer all over again.

    cheers, Jenn
    Do you have any love to share in 2011? Check out Love Every Day

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  19. You are awesome, Tabitha! I'm trying to be more like this. Allowing myself just to be me. It's scary, but oh so freeing. I'm usually on the edge of the group, but mostly because I'm so shy--scared--and that's something I'm working. That it's okay to be different, and not only okay, but wonderful! Thanks for the beautiful thoughts and the reminder.

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  20. I think I could have written every word of this post. I'm absolutely a lonely writer and I've been using that lately in my writing. I'm surprised by how raw it is and yet...it feels right. It's a new experience for me because I've always been so careful in my writing.

    I love the idea of living like no one is watching.

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  21. You are certainly not the only one. Tabitha.

    Yvonne.

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  22. No, you're not. I've often been a leader, but that's not much different than being alone.

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  23. Yes a loner. Can relate. Blessings.

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  24. Yep, I'm a loner, I'm just not very good at it. I'm also a story-teller and a show off, but those are completely unrelated. I'm not sure why. But I always try to live like no-one is watching. It's not easy but it's a lifelong goal of mine!

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  25. I've been thinking about this post all day...I can relate to a lot of it, though I especially wish I could find more comfort in the fringes. Thanks for posting this thought provoking subject. I will undoubtedly read it again...

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  26. Good words, interesting & comforting. I am now looking forward to some - one on one quiet time away - alone.

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  27. That is so true - about needing to spend time with yourself to truly know yourself. We need to risk feeling lonely to understand what makes us feel connected. Great post. I know what it's like to stand on the outside looking in. Maybe we'd be better served to look out and away?

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  28. Methinks we are a community of loners. ;)

    I used to say I was happy with my own company, and, to some degree, that's true. But I've loved the people like me that I've met in this community of writers.

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  29. Hi Tab,
    Great reflective piece.
    I too was a loner at school, always on the fringe, observing and helping others.
    Bullied terribly when I was younger.

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  30. I used to be very social, but since my husband works so many hours, I find myself alone a lot. I think it's a good thing.

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  31. I was the outsider in my family. As a result became very needy for approval and needing to be liked. Of course I never achieved the approval or have been blessed by being very liked by the adults in my childhood. So I spent a lot of time reading and imagining.

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  32. Hi,
    I can relate, I've been on the outside looking in and I've been on the in. I prefer to be me; quiet time, allows our authentic voice to speak, come through in our writing, art, music, etc.

    I don't mind being alone, in those moments I can hear my intuitive voice, best!

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  33. You're not the only loner out there, m'dear. Which, ironically, means you're not really alone, no? :)

    I might've been alone a lot, but I didn't always feel that way. I had books. They count as friends, too, I think.

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  34. I would call myself a loner - but I have nearly always been on the skirts of a group - or many groups ... which seem to change regularly - I love to observe too.
    I think the amount of time I've spent looking from the outside in ... has given me more inspiration to write.

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  35. So much can come from observation. You beautiful photos, for instance.

    Love all you share with us, Tabitha.

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  36. You are definitely NOT alone.. I think many writers feel the same way and share similar experiences... perhaps this is why we turn to writing in the first place :)

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  37. I was bullied heavily as a child. I sunk into a terrible depression in primary school and as a result have never really learnt to let anyone in, or been brave enough to feel anything. It happened so early and I was SO so young, that it became of extreme concern to everyone, so I was often in and out of loony bins for "treatment", of course making me feel even more alienated and alone.

    I think it really developed my imagination, however; and I'm stuck in the habit of using dreamworlds as an escape whenever I find myself drowning in reality.

    Writing came as a venting tool, of course. As a release and way of immersing myself in my own creation. It's a passion now and I hope I hold onto it forever, even though my life is amazing now and going better than I ever dreamed it would. :)

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  38. David Whyte says we're all outsiders, it's part of the human condition, and it's the thing that makes us be willing to look beyond comfort and safety. If we embrace that rather than feeling other about it, it becomes a powerful tool.

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  39. Came for a re read. Blessings to you TB.

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  40. "Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self." Cyril Connolly

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