Sunday, 8 April 2012

Solo Living

It's useless trying to write when I'm ill, even a shopping list is too difficult. I've been holed up at home for days and not able to write because my mind is like cotton wool and I don't have the energy it takes to work at a piece of writing.

I've watched DVDs, slept, felt sorry for myself, attempted a jigsaw and got cross with myself trying to put the sky together because it was just 100 pieces of blue and frankly I don't have the patience for that. I've groaned and sniffed and gargled and nearly fallen asleep in the bath. I've been very poor company for the brilliant friend that came round and spent a whole day with me, patiently shouting out crossword clues as I lay half dozing in bed, making my tea and waiting for about an hour while I painfully tried to swallow it, and listening to me moan. I don't do suffering quietly or well, and my tonsils have I'm sure been the most infected tonsils ever to grace the back of anyone's throat.

I've been stuck in the house since Wednesday and contrary to the Guardian's article on living solo  last week, living alone certainly is not a privilege when you're  ill for a week and not sure who might come round (if anyone) to bring well-needed provisions, medicines and make you a cup of tea..

I think the main difficulty about living alone is that most other people have their own support at home, partner or family or whoever, and so when it comes to being ill, needing help, things breaking down, being responsible in whatever way for home/self/job/life, there is nobody naturally there. I am nobody's number one priority, nobody's most important person.

This is what the Guardian article really didn't quite get around to discussing about solo living, is that no matter how much freedom, space, quiet, or selfishness it allows, it is really a very solitary, lonely state of being.

So, this is what four days of enforced stay at home does for me.

Tomorrow I am going to venture out of the house. I might even grab a cup of tea in a cafe, and possibly visit a friend. It feels a little like being let out of a caged place and I'm not quite sure whether I'll still be able to communicate!


Claire Massey said...

Hi Annie,
Really hope you're feeling better. I didn't think the Guardian article was very representative of what it's like either. Although I don't technically live alone because I have two children, it can feel like I do in the sense of going days at a time without adult conversation and the overwhelmingness of having responsibility for everything and having no one to look after me when I'm ill or give me a hug at the end of a rubbish day. I've stopped being surprised now at the way friends and family don't seem to remember I spend every evening alone. It's like you're just meant to get on with it. And we have to, I suppose. The thing I try to take comfort from is that it gives me time to read and write. I don't know what I'd do if I didn't write. Sorry this didn't end up being a very positive comment, but I suppose I just wanted to be honest and say, yes, I think that too, and that me doing so might help.
Claire x

annie clarkson said...

Thanks Claire,
Yes, I think you're right, other people don't realise. There are times when I really value the alone time, but other times I wish it was different. Thanks for commenting, I appreciate knowing that other people understand... x

Anonymous said...

I would happily come live with you, youre so beautiful and intelligent and unpretetious about it... D