Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Benefit of Isolation

One of the themes in Of Mice and Men is isolation.  Several times in class we've discussed how one can feel isolated and alone even in the presence of a hundred different people.  It's created some interesting conversation, because the students realize that isolation CAN happen in a crowd, but that goes against everything they know about the technical definition of the word.

It's had me thinking because isolation is my protective language.  When I feel like things are falling apart or I can't get myself together, I tend to spend long hours by myself.  Since Favorite works an opposite shift, it's not difficult to find those hours.

What do I do in isolation?  Well, if I were being less than honest, I'd tell you I take baths and read--which isn't entirely untrue.  I do both of those things.  Sometimes more than once a night even though I could be more productive.  (Honestly, though, I'm a little afraid to hang things by myself in the new house as Favorite is pretty particular about holes in the new walls.)  If I were being completely honest, I would tell you that I cry.

It's a funny thing that isolation affords me.  It affords me the comfortability to feel what I actually try to avoid on most days.  I don't have to be afraid that someone is going to brush me off, move me on, or regard my feelings as "less than" because they are "going through worse circumstances" or because I need to just get over it already especially considering that they have been dealing with their circumstances for much longer than I have. 

And so, by myself, I can feel those things.  Deeply.  Sometimes those feelings scare me.  But for those moments alone, I'm allowed to actually feel them (split infinitives aside). 

In a lot of ways, isolation is a relief.  Particularly from the days when it smothers me and I don't have that time to myself.  Of course, that may change interpretations of Of Mice and Men.

I'm just wondering though.  Maybe there are moments when isolation isn't a bad thing.  Maybe it's meant to be a relief (although, there are certainly people who are a relief to me.  My Favorite.  My brother.  My STBSIL.  My Parents).  And some days, I'm just not sad to be alone.  I need alone...to be sad.

2 comments:

Armanda said...

You know, I think isolation can be a good thing as well. Look at Jesus. He many times would go off to be alone and pray. Sometimes we just need that time to decompress. I know I do and always have just needed a little bit of what I like to call "me time".

Tara said...

Crys, I really feel like you are inside my head lately. I don't like to cry in front of other people. I know it makes them feel awkward. I also know there is never anything they can say to make it better. Inevitably, they end up going the "Just think, it could be worse" route, which only pisses me off. Sometimes people just need to cry it out...alone.