“Alone had always felt like an actual place to me, as if it weren’t a state of being, but rather a room where I could retreat to be who I really was.” – Cheryl Strayed from “Wild”
An indelible impression sweeps through me by the memoir, “Wild,” written by Cheryl Strayed, resonating in a heartfelt, self-identifiable way. She speaks of “alone” as being a place she retreats to in order to be her authentic self, a concept I recognize and empathize with wholeheartedly. This aloneness serves me in life, sometimes as an escape, but more as a haven of safety, a dwelling of non-conformity, and an enabling of my “self” to remain intact.
To inwardly blossom among the trees that frighten me, and become exactly as they, I retreat into the quiet serenity of myself to a place where the aloneness carries me, gathering my essence of love and self-acceptance. There I sometimes remain, unable to cross into social interaction that threatens exposure, vulnerability, and authenticity. Like walking naked among the woods, the forest feels threatening, fenced in by false bravado and fraudulent exhibition.
Retreating into aloneness quiets the fears and energizes my soul. In venturing outward, I tread slowly, deliberately among a trusted crowd, birthing a path to connect with other’s authentic selves. This enriches my soul, enhances my life, and engraves my inner light to shine brighter. Yet when the world feels overwhelming, exhausting, indulgent in fear, I still retreat into the “alone,” a room that protects and grants me safety to be who I am.