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  • Kier McDougall

The Solitude of Summer

What is there to do when one is both disgusted by – and satisfied with – their own relentless solitude?

Of course, one would think that the two counteract each other and thus cannot exist in the same mental space. But one would be mistaken.

I am just fine with being on my own. I get anxious for it when I spend too much time around too many people. And after spending a while on my own, I tend to forget how comforted it makes me feel. That’s when I start looking for reasons to reengage with the world, and so the cycle goes. Depending on the time of year, I can go weeks without speaking to people with whom I’m acquainted. My summers are more for work and hibernation than they are for holidays.

But aside from declaring myself a terrible friend, I hope to provide an insight into a deeply personal kind of contradiction.

Because working this contradiction out definitively is not something I’ve yet done, I do not know for certain if I should correct this kind of behaviour. Every time I think I should make a change, I just end up going back to what I know.

I suppose the great irony of writing about all this for an audience is that it continues to represent the problem. A blog is not a diary, but nor is it a banner. It can be approached a bit more introspectively, but it is easy to get away with making definitive judgements.

Ultimately, it’s like a bubble that you, the reader, get to look into from the outside. Front-row seats and all. And there I am inside that bubble, looking down at my hands and then occasionally looking up to acknowledge you. We can hear each other, too. But the advantage of having the bubble between us means we can pretend to not be listening to each other, and we don’t have to worry about the lie.

Does that sound obtuse? It doesn’t really matter. What does matter is the part of me that wants to change is so in balance with the part that accepts the way things are. And any fluctuations to either side just get corrected over a short period of time.

And beyond the push and pull of this contradiction, all I truly want is clarity. To understand where I’m going, where this is all taking me. Then at least I can have some control over my steps. It doesn’t matter to me which I end up with, because either ultimate approach is better than exhausting my mind thinking about the contradictions.

Not that it keeps me up at night. It’s just one of those things I think about when I should probably be writing my manuscript.


This blog entry is part 5 in a blog series by Kier McDougall, titled “Loose Threads".

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