Alone in a Sea of People

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Have you ever heard that you can be alone in a crowd? I heard that phrase and thought it was poetic sounding and meant to be discussed in a philosophy class. That can be true, but it can be a very literal saying that I have learned from personal experience. You can be alone with a hundred people around you.

A crowd does not mean you are connected. That is what it comes down to. Connections. A crowd is just people. They are bodies, many times with no interest in you.

Think of it this way. You are sitting at a family gathering. You are troubled about an issue at work or are having marital problems. It could be depression haunting you. Those around you have no idea about what is hurting you inside. You are alone because no one else can connect with you.

Being alone can be physical and emotional. Alone can be no one around or no one who can understand and connect to you. I’ve felt it way too often.

Hurt is familiar to all of us. Not everyone knows about it. Your pain eats at you, but no one else can see it. It’s like seeing a ghost no one else can. Those around you cannot understand your reaction nor your feelings. You are alone in a crowd.

Most of the time, people don’t want to discuss such issues. To expose our inner feelings, makes us more vulnerable. That is dangerous and uncomfortable to us. We want to avoid those feelings.

I have found that writing scenes that require a character to feel alone in a character can be enjoyable because I have been there and felt that way. An author writes the best scenes if they have experienced the characters’ feelings. The author can make the scene real.

I wrote a novel for my master’s thesis. It turned out to be a very emotional piece of writing as I put so many real events from my life in it. The Black Sheep is a story of a middle-aged woman facing the death of her mother. Not only does she have to deal with the intense feelings within her, she has to deal with family drama which everyone faces at one time or another. The emotions of her mother dying, tension with siblings, and the fear and questions of the past are all from me. That made the scenes harder to write and more real.

Being alone in a crowd is very real. Connection of emotions is what it means. We can’t do it with everyone. Don’t feel bad if you have these feelings. Admit them. You can deal with them better if you do.

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