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Readers Are Never Really Alone

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Years ago, I got into the cycle of making everything “Facebook official.” If I didn’t post about birthdays, holidays, special events…did it even happen? That was back when everything social media was shiny and new. 

These days, I try to be present in the moments of my life…and typically forget to write an email or post on social media until after the fact. 

I’m a solitary person by nature. I used to call myself an extrovert because I was good in social situations. It wasn’t until my late forties that I realized being good at something doesn’t mean it’s your jam. 

Because I prefer being alone, I’ve slowly isolated myself over the course of the last decade. When my third divorce was finalized in 2016, it was like this strange bubble of expectation popped…and I didn’t have to keep up the “always happy to be here” persona I’d cultivated for so long. 

It was the first time I’d tasted true freedom to be by myself and not care what anyone else thought. 

Admittedly, there have been times I’ve taken it too far. If not for my adult children, I might not speak to another individual face to face for months on end. My best friend (and business partner) and my darling Jana Bobanna hear from me most days…but that’s it. 

I don’t mind solitude. Many people need regular (if not constant) interaction with others but (as I’ve written recently) I’ve made it my life’s work to be 100% self-reliant due to past trauma. 

While it does have drawbacks, I feel more my true self now than the first forty years of my life. 

Many people find solace, comfort, and companionship through television, movies, books…and I know fictional characters (my own and others) have saved me in that way since I was a girl. 

I used to think you needed lots of friends and activity to be “happy.” I’ve had that repeatedly in my life and it didn’t make me even a little bit happy. Sometimes, I felt like I was outside my own body/mind observing someone else’s life. 

In a room with 10, 20, or 100 people, you can still feel very much alone if you’re not living as the person you truly are. 

Last year, in the dumpster fire that was 2020, I wrote I’m Here: Stories from Isolation to encapsulate things I was seeing and hearing on social media as the COVID-19 virus exploded around the globe. 

Incredible, debilitating loneliness was evident from average people like you and me to celebrities to individuals with big families or massive social circles. Loneliness is not selective and so many fell to the pain of it during unusual and terrifying times. 

That collection of short stories made me realize that – no matter the obstacles in my childhood – I was fortunate to feel the loneliness less acutely than most. 

And yet…

I still lean heavily on my characters to fulfill that “something” I don’t always need until I suddenly do.

I hope that you are surrounded by people (whether one or a dozen) who appreciate and accept you in every way for who you are at the core of yourself. If you aren’t, I hope that you have a way to escape loneliness and isolation – even if the world you escape to doesn’t actually exist.

You are never really alone…particularly if you’re a reader.

Much love from my little world to yours,
Shayne

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cutting edge thinking, do better, feel better, get started now, hard times, letting go, life change, personal development, sadness, self help, Shayne McClendon, time to read


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