I absolutely love this photo challenge from Ann-Christine, and I admire her beautiful post giving us a glimpse into the outer world she’s created to express and host her inner world.
I deeply resonate with the story of finding the significance of Alone Time. When I was young, I didn’t much value alone time – it reminds me now of how being sent to spend time alone in my room was used as a punishment, and felt as such. As one of five siblings, I didn’t get my own room until I was 14. By then, I was ready to appreciate it. I went from a college dormitory straight into my honeymoon apartment, and had four children in the next seven years. As the mother of a large family, alone time became HIGHLY valued, and I found it in solitary walks into the green spaces around our suburban home. I found myself craving time to write alone as well. As my children were leaving the nest, my husband died. Suddenly, I had more alone time than I knew what to do with and the pain that came with it felt very much like punishment again.
“On my own, pretending he’s beside me, All alone, I walk with him ’til morning…” – from the musical Les Miserables
Two and a half years ago, I moved into a studio apartment and began to live entirely alone for the very first time – during a pandemic, which of course added to the isolation. I am emerging from the narrative that frames alone time as a negative consequence and beginning to really cherish the autonomy, the quiet, the slow pace, and the creative freedom that comes with having my own space and my own time. Here in my studio, I explore creative self-compassion with intention in a way I never had the opportunity to do before. I practice music, memorize lines, write, process photos, listen to music, dance, do yoga, meditate, dream, feed myself, read, and learn, alone in this very private 700 square feet of space. Somehow, while photographing it this morning, I chose monochrome. I like the clarity and simplicity it evokes. I like how ‘mono’ means alone. There is a quiet joy here, even if there’s a somberness to it.
I hope, Friends, that this challenge inspires you to invest in your inner life and in the most important relationship you will ever have: the one with your precious and unique Self.