Personally Speaking...

Being Okay With Solitude


I’m the type to let minor inconveniences make a big impact on how I feel, most days. Today, I sit here at my desk during lunch break, feeling neither content nor pissed off, with a serious desire to go home, all because I still have to share a computer with my colleague because his is not set up, and I don’t have my own work email. Small shit like that. Now I feel like I hate everybody, I want to go home and sleep for the next three days and I don’t want to talk to anybody or even see another person for the next three days. Because right now, people annoy me.

Seeing as it seems like the IT people are taking their time to come and set our profiles up, plus get a mouse for my colleague’s computer, I feel cramped at this small desk with him. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t want anybody (except my son, mother and boyfriend) too physically close to me, and so my limits are being tested. I can’t be a bitch and tell him to move a bit to the edge, nor can I be a passive-aggressive loser and post myself at another bare desk because I need the space so badly (though I do). So I suffer in silence.

Part of me wants to find whoever is supposed to help us and demand that they help us out (which may have the undesirable effect of making the IT department think I’m haughty), and the other defeatist part just wants to sulk, keep it to myself (but keep it firmly plastered to my face) and wait for them to decide to make my colleague and I a priority. Perhaps the latter is not something I should do; they might just sit on it today, tomorrow, through the weekend and then only decide to come by on Tuesday.

While I decide how to go about this, I’m gonna be sitting here until our manager calls for us. I’ve foregone lunch because that requires going into the canteen, which is full of people, who are beings I don’t have the energy for, right now. So my lunch will remain, cold and disheveled, in its container in my bag and maybe I’ll think about eating it later, if I can finally have my desk all to myself.

It seemed that it’s quite a sight to see two people sharing a desk and computer, so much so that a woman passed us earlier this morning and said, “Oh, we’ve got a two-to-one seater here.” Small comment, but I felt really silly and from there — coupled with being unable to do anything except read a book on my Kindle app — how I felt about the day just got worse.

I’m not going to try to vocalise how I feel, because I have this feeling that nobody would understand. They might say “if you’re going to act anti-social because of one small thing, then you’re in the wrong profession”. The only remedy to my mood is to leave work and go home, which I won’t be able to do for another three hours. Once I get home, I’ll be quiet as my family is now used to and I won’t be asked “Are you okay?” because I don’t want to lie to them.

Tomorrow, no doubt, I’ll feel a bit better. This is just something that happens a lot. I may appear fine one second, then the next, I am quiet and reply to whatever you say with hm’s and “Okay”. It is nothing against whoever’s trying to talk to me or is near me, but there are times when I need to be alone, to (here goes) center myself. I cannot talk forever (literally; my larynx isn’t built for that) and if I don’t, I will be absolutely still and absorbed in whatever I’m doing.

It’s amazing (and by ‘amazing’, I mean stank and unfair) how most people find it difficult to wrap their heads around the concept of somebody not needing to speak to anybody for the whole day and being okay with that. Hell, even not needing to speak to anybody for a couple of hours. “Humans are social beings” Yeah, okay? I am social, but selectively. I think I made this clear in my previous post. The emotional labour of having to portray this feeling of being content, and greeting everyone you meet plus making small talk with people at the office, is real.

There is one person that I’d never fail to give a smile, I think every office has one. That person who greets EVERYBODY when he’s walking through a room, with such gusto and genuine concern. “Good afternoon good afternoon, my wonderful brothers and sisters, how are you?”


I think he’s great. I hope people here don’t JUST tolerate him, but actually like him.

I know it’s not easy to work with someone who doesn’t speak much, but I’m not mute. I just am not going to say something for the sake of filling the air with words. Even when communication matters, I tend to stumble because I’m trying to sound like I’m sure of myself but I’m unsure of the words coming out of my mouth.

My colleague once said that he has worked with me for a month now but doesn’t know much about me, meanwhile I seem to know a lot about him. I told him I don’t say much when I’m not yet comfortable around someone or something. I guess he understood that.

What I neglected to add to my response was that “You tell me things about yourself that I really don’t need to know. Also, it’s not like I don’t tell you anything, I do, but I am allowed to reserve parts of my life that, if told, would be deemed as ‘oversharing’. You feeling unsatisfied about your relationship with your girl because she’s more concerned with raising y’alls child than having sex with you, then saying you feel tempted to cheat? That’s not my problem, and why would you think that’s something to share with a female colleague you’ve only had for 4 weeks?”

Even a guy who I’ve known for years has no business telling me about stuff like that. It’s not that I don’t want people to confide in me, but there are certain parts of one’s life that I don’t need to be privy to.


But back to this. Since I started work, I told myself that I wouldn’t try to get caught up in anyone else’s drama (be it at work or in their own lives), for I have my own trials. I just want to keep my head down, focus on work and try to get on with as many people as I can, as long as it helps to get the job done. I think about family members who have esteemed careers and are professionals and I think “that’s what I want to be”, so I’m prepared to work towards it. Anything to land me in a place where I can listen to Beyonce’s song 6 Inch and think “now I know she talking about me!” (without the 6 inch heels, because gravity).

I guess my relationship with solitude developed as a result of constantly being left out of things, from high school into university. In high school, my biggest obstacle was my mother because she didn’t know the friends I wanted to go out with and so she rarely let me. And if I did go anywhere, it had to be during the day and I had to come back before 5pm, otherwise there would be a fight. So, I developed from having the worst case of FOMO (which I do struggle with, still) to finding things to do in my own company.

At university, I finally had the freedom to move as I pleased and I exhausted it for a year and a half, then after I broke away from the friends I had during that time, I didn’t have anyone to socialise with and I became very withdrawn (also fell pregnant; probably was also very close to getting depression). I began going out again, hard, a year after my son was born, but by 2015, the time I met my boyfriend, became infatuated with anime and dubstep (again), I didn’t feel the need to go out much. A good night was one spent under covers, high out of my mind and listening to music or watching Castle (until the show jumped the shark), while eating snacks.


When we did step out, I cherished it. The balance I managed to keep with school and my social life held me together and I felt like everything was okay.

I knew once I moved home, university life would be far behind me. Now, I can’t go out because I don’t have the money for that, and I understand that financials at home are unpredictable, and it’s okay. I’ve accepted it. But, let me put this out there: if my manager takes us out for drinks, I’m going to file that under “work-related”.

I’ve had years of practice in embracing my own company but there are times when I do like to be around people. Solitude can turn into loneliness, and it does a lot. I wish I could have it all: have the freedom to be alone when I want to, and also be able to escape the confines of our house and be around people my age who are not family. But it’s not possible because of how salty my mother tends to get when I go somewhere.

And then she has the nerve to ask me why I don’t have friends. Well, friends that she knows of. She makes it seem like such a crime for me to not tell her about the people I hang out with. She’s gonna judge them anyway, so is there any point?


I am a confusing one; how can I desire and appreciate solitude, but the next day, crave to be around people? I don’t know, but that’s just how it is. Maybe the craving for company I get sometimes is merely just a need for new, meaningful relationships with other kindred spirits. Yes, I used that term. I’ve come a long way in my personal growth that it’s not easy for me to align myself with someone who is not on my level or higher.




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