the solitaire mystery

I've always enjoyed taking walks alone, listening to my music on my long commute home from school or work, and it irritates me when someone talks to me when I'm lost in a book. I never pick up the phone and call someone just to talk when I'm on my own. I even like shopping alone - I go into whatever shop I like, linger over merchandise of interest only to me - it's just such an indulgence to please no one but yourself, just for a little while.

Which is why when I saw this spread in Vogue Paris - shot by Mario Sorrenti - I felt this rush of instant identification -

It happens that I have the house all to myself for the weekend - family is away for tomb-sweeping, I can't go because of work - and seeing Elise Crombez just whiling her night away, unbothered, completely at ease, I just understood.
(Never mind that I do not look anything like her, or wear such gorgeous things to lounge in - old T-shirts and running shorts more like.)
I romanticise the solitary existence. As I walk down a street alone, I detach myself and look at my life and imagine what people think of me when they see me, if they notice me at all. In this detached manner, it becomes possible for me to imagine my life as a sort of adventure, as if I were a character in a book and I am inventing where I am going next. It gives me a sense of optimism, a sense of freedom, the sense that I am beholden to no one but myself.
In that instant, I feel like life is full of possibility and I can create any future I want for myself - an instant burst of confidence.
I think solitude is important for one to get a measure of oneself - having the space to stretch your limbs a bit and figure out your next step, instead of doing things and making decisions based on what others expect of you. I think it's a relief for some people to be needed, and it's not like I'm anti-social - I love having something to share with friends and family - but I really treasure my moments alone, where I can do whatever I want without regard for others.
Like I said, it's an indulgence.
Solitude also has this connation of melancholy and sadness that appeals to the tragedist in me - the feeling of not being understood by people, the fear of not being accepted, the pain of being underappreciated. This Peter Lindbergh shoot beautifully gives life to this idea -

I don't think my everyday life has such a strong sense of tragedy - but I felt a pang in my heart when I saw the photos anyway. Sometimes, I crave for someone to see me and understand precisely what kind of person I am. It's instinctive to want to connect with people.

The downside of solitude is that you might lose your sense of self-worth and that no one needs you. I recognise that feeling myself, and yet I find myself irresistibly drawn to the idea. More and more so, I want to get out of the country for a while, and start a new life somewhere else, where I am a stranger and free to create any impression I want. I want to see if I can truly make it on my own, without the support of the familiar here.

I don't think I can ever adequately explain how I feel about solitude - I just think it's absolutely important that in whatever you do, no matter how much of yourself you give to something or someone, you need to hold on to a little bit of yourself and have the space to be on your own.


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