By Sophie Tarnowska
What I love being, often.
How I’ve felt most of my life.
How I brought up my daughter, almost.
What I used to hate.
What I see too many people suffering from.
Alone is the word I’ve had the hardest time recovering from. It’s my wound – the one that summarizes my childhood traumas, and I believe, the traumas of people who came before me, which were passed down through my cells – because epigenetics. Yes, the traumas of your ancestors are passed down for up to 3 generations (-> Mark Wolynn).
I’veresented the word so much. And at my lowest, when I try to do too much – like launch a petition to make our government admit systemic racism – it’s the word that describes my most childish self: Why am I the ONLY one feeling/saying/doing_something? Not only am I not the only one, but I didn’t have to do it alone (this image is what happens when I do this, so I’m still learning how to kick the dark side of Alone out of my adult life).
Mostly, I have. This weekend I fled the city and am blissfully, quietly ALONE, with nobody to pleasetospeaktolistento.
I am alone, in the best, most beloved sense of the word. Much of the pleasure lies in the choice – I chose to be alone, yet many many people don’t. I gave a workshop to 30 employees of an agency this week, and guess what they miss most? Small talk. It’s an antidote to the dark alone.
So today, my alone feels good, but that’s partly because I am privileged enough not to be truly alone in my everyday life. I have a daughter and boyfriend I adore. And a cat who meows like a strangled lemur.
And my increasing love of being Alone reflects privilege: I had years of therapy. Which means I had the money and time to give myself space to heal. It’s also a reward: facing myself is not natural to me, or to many of us. I worked hard for this gift and will continue to do so.
This good Alone has broken my heart open with care. I send a deep awkwardlylonghug to anyone reading this who is in the Alone they didn’t choose and struggle with.
May your alone be temporary and somehow, useful to you.
(I’m here if anyone needs to have a conversation and not lose their mind, truly).
Sophie Tarnowska is a ‘fun-raiser’ and the founder of WeDoSomething Mtl, a non-profit organization whose objective is to be an antidote to powerlessness.
She has lived and worked on five continents in a wide range of industries, from standing in a field selling TV advertising to a cow farmer in the Cayman Islands, to crafting marketing strategies for l’Oréal Canada. She has interviewed lepers in Calcutta and world-class thinkers here in Canada, traveled to Thailand as a brand builder, and to lac Mégantic to help build a public art installation to commemorate the explosion of 2013. Today, she is an impatient idealist who believes it’s time for a new way to give, in order to bring people together and connect them to causes and communities that need support.
WeDoSomething Mtl allows her to use her unorthodox background to do something good about bad news, one event at a time.