Caroline, pictured to the right, is my dear sweet friend, and was my roommate for 2 years. We don’t talk much these days, but a few years ago she was the kind of person who knew every part of me and my life, and loved me despite my darkest places and kookiest quirks. I could be with her and be oblivious to the concepts of “self” and “other”, they didn’t exist. I could cry in front of her and it wouldn’t even occur to me to try to stop. Being with her meant being with someone and not worrying about who I am or how I appear. Being with Caroline was like being alone, only less lonely.
Relationships are exceedingly important to me. If I’m alone for a long time, I start to come apart and it’s hard to get myself together again. But I have come value my time alone, having had my own room for the past 2 years. This semester I have a roommate and the concept of “self” and “other” certainly exist in our little apartment. The experience hasn’t been a bad one, but it has taught me how important my time alone is, and how much I miss having someone I can be alone with.
There have been other people in my life like Caroline, and I know that I still share a bond with each of them and we will always love and accept each other even if they aren’t part of my “self” any more. But right now I’m at a point that feels like the only “self” in my life is me, and everyone else is the “other”, and I worry that it’s part of being an adult and I’ll just have to accept it from now on. I’m scared by the prospect of always being either alone and lonely or with someone and conscious of myself. I can still have intensely close relationships, but the ones with the people I could be alone with were so carefree. I wish I could be carefree again.