Solitude

I'm not really a social person. It's not that I don't have the ability to socialize, it's just that it takes work. Like a muscle that I have to consciously keep tensed. For the most part I find myself retreating to the safety of solitude. When I was a kid I had my mom sign me up for little league. I've never been very athletic, which is not a big deal if you're not on the best little league team in what seemed like the history of planet earth. I apparently was. I played the crucial position of inventing plausible reasons for why I didn't catch whatever was hit in my direction. "Agh, man- it's these damn shoe laces!" or "my glove, I think it's broken!" When it came to batting, we'd literally go through the entire team roster- I'd be the first strike out, then the second, then the third. At the post game victory parties at Pizza Hut, I knew what a sham it was that I was even allowed to be in the same restaurant franchise as my teammates, let alone partake in a slice of triumphant pepperoni. They'd be recalling their amazing, instant replay worthy catches and their bat shattering home runs. And I'd be that small voice muttering as the cheers faded "Damn shoe laces." The thing is, the greatest disappointment of it all wasn't really my lack of skill, it's that it wasn't anything like The Sandlot. I had gone into it thinking I was like the shy kid in that movie who discovers not only a love of baseball, but a group of life-long friends who truly make him feel like he belongs. Where he's wanted. What a crock. As I've gotten older I realized it's important for me to feel wanted. Since I have no qualms (and often prefer) being alone, I only ever want to be somewhere if the people really want me to be there. It's not that I need to be the center of attention, it's just that I've spent a fair amount of my life feeling extraneous and vulnerable to one kind of rejection or another. When I'm alone I feel safe. I'm unshackled from self-consciousness and in that freedom, I find a productivity rarely encountered in groups. Einstein once said "I live in that solitude which is painful in youth, but delicious in the years of maturity."  He probably sucked at little league too.