Navigating solo

It wasn’t a surprise that the world became too loud.

One of my most persistent and difficult symptoms is auditory sensitivity. Sometimes, the clatter of my dogs nails on wooden flooring, distant traffic, the voices of friends, are acutely painful, nearly unbearable. Through necessity, I have learned to love silence.

Silence often requires solitude, and so I have learned to love that too. When I first became ill, solitude was terrifying. It meant loneliness, abandonment, conformation that disability struggles alone. I was used to being around people, a roomful of colleagues, a bus full of shrieking children, friends, lovers, instant messages, emails, phonecalls. Solitude if it existed in my life, was the the reserve of sleep. But as the chatter faded and sounds hurt more than the fear of isolation- I began to explore my inner world. Voids call to be  filled and I began to fill the space I occupy in a way I have not done since I was a child. Reading, drawing, writing, staring into space, dreaming- my bedroom where I spent most of my time began to change almost without concious effort. Restlessly I moved my things around. Tidying a corner, decorating my window with fabrics, creating space for my notebooks. I had never noticed how sterile my room was. Slowly, it is beginning to reflect me.

And when alone, I have less trouble filling spaces than I used to. Pages, canvasses, dreamscapes. The persistent requirement I have suffered from, for another- and environment or job title or person to wrap my identity around is less pressing. I am more alone, but less lonely than I ever was.


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