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Alone Again, Unnaturally

March 22, 2020


Ever since I was a toddler, my main goal in life was to get some peace and quiet. When I was little with 5 siblings and 2 parents in a small house, I hid in the hall closet where I made a comfy nest.

I remember walking down the street at age 8 and crossing the street to avoid someone I knew. Even back then, I thought “This is probably not normal.” Nobody had told me about introversion.

I always lived with someone – family, roommates, boyfriends, more roommates – until I finally got my own place when I was in my 40s. It felt like a puzzle was finally complete – “Oh, HERE is what I was looking for this whole time.”

And then 14 months on the road by myself in an RV. I met a lot of people who said “I could never do it by myself,” and I would think “I could have never done it with someone else.”

But even the lifelong hermit has her limits. I was talking to my friend about the COVID lockdown the other day and she said “It’s like I have lost my identity.”

We all have. We derive our identity from our friendships, our work, our community activities, our clubs and teams and churches, temples, gurdwaras, mosques, ashrams. We want to reach out and connect and hold each other, and we can’t. And we’re all mourning that loss at once. It’s significant, and it’s ok to grieve.

Take some time to process your emotions, to be afraid and sad and let those feelings flow through you. As Glennon Doyle says “We can do hard things.”

Breathe. Write, dance, make art, sing, set up a Zoom meeting. Do what you have to do to survive isolation. But also realize that your identity is far beyond what you do or create.  You were made a precious child of the universe, period. Doing and making are just the icing on the cake. You are you, and that is enough. Breathe.


  1. Gail Munro permalink
    March 23, 2020 07:40

    Sue, wonderful post. I have found that reaching out each day to at least one friend has helped me get through this crisis. And I can be a real loner at times. I have especially reached out to friends who are far away from me. I also found that I enjoy FaceTime, more than just talking!
    Stay safe friend.

  2. March 23, 2020 09:04

    I enjoyed connecting with you for Yappy Hour. Thanks for setting it up. Maybe next time I’ll be able to show my face!
    It’s a cloudy, rainy day in Vegas. The kind of day that makes staying in not seem like such an imposition. It’s also my husband’s birthday. I’m pretty sure I have the ingredients for a peach cobbler so that will have to suffice. He’s not big on birthdays so he’ll be happy with that.

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