Monday, August 2, 2010

Solitude theft.

I started this post a while back after reading about the inherent value of solitude and its effect on the creative process. Originally, it was written on a day spent somewhere inside my head. A place I frequently visit, but rarely set up camp within for a full-on society sabbatical.

I accidentally deleted the draft. Who knows where I was going with it, but I remember complete solitude felt like a guilty pleasure that day. A borrowed introspective indulgence.

There were a million things I could have been doing. Should have been doing. But wasn't.

Instead, I was reflecting on life while retreating from actively living it. Some people fear alone time, but it's something I periodically seek. Apparently, it's just one of the quirks that goes along with being highly sensitive. Many creatives are. Inevitably, we must learn how to leverage the virtues and manage the challenges.

I used to assume I was just shy sometimes. Moving to small towns and being deemed "the new girl," was a bit overwhelming. A somewhat introverted person's worst nightmare is the idea that they are being judged. Too much attention. Cue the anxiety.

I hated the shy tendencies and would do anything possible to overcome them. Pushing myself to excel in sports and grasping leadership opportunities. The older I got, the easier it became. Although, my bold interior personality may never match my calm exterior personality.

The real issue – I was overstimulated by everything. Processing too much from external and internal worlds. Total surrounding awareness amplified beyond normal maintenance levels. It was physically and emotionally exhausting.

Here is where down time and solitude come into play. Highly-sensitive creatives can take everything they have over-experienced – reflect on it, learn from it, and then release a new perspective back into the wild.

“Solitude gives birth to the original in us, to beauty unfamiliar and perilous — to poetry.” – Thomas Mann 
Somewhere in my busy schedule, I'll continue to take solitude when I find it. Even if it's just for a moment and I have to give it back after I'm done.

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