If you have an art, don't neglect it.

The title of this post comes from a really beautiful video of the poem "How to Be Alone" by Tanya Davis. I'm a happily married woman with two small children, and I suspect that my single friends who relate to the poem as a commentary on, or inspiration to, their own lives doubt how deeply it pertains to me, too. But it does.

In very significant, beautiful ways that I do not take for granted, I am not alone. I don't sleep alone in a big empty bed, lonely for heat and passion and companionship. I don't face my night terrors alone, waiting for the light to break and reassure me that soon others will be up and about, available to talk to, be with. I don't sit to nearly every meal by myself, and have to muster the self-discipline and self-love to feed myself well. Loving my family helps me choose meals that are healthy, and then I get eat that food alongside them. I don't halt before leaving the house to go do something, wondering if I'm going to feel or seem weird going off to do it alone (though I do sometimes wonder if I'm going to seem weird for having brought my children along). When something extraordinary happens in my day, I don't spend even a second wondering who I can tell without bothering them or interrupting their lives. I have lived alone. I do remember loneliness. And I'm deeply grateful for its reprieve in these ways.

But in other ways, which I increasingly pay more than lip service to the truth of, I am alone. And we are all alone. And that is the nature of human consciousness. Maybe we're not truly alone: maybe God is always with us. This is something I frequently feel that I experience and I espouse belief in its truth, though I don't claim to understand what exactly I mean by "God" (especially in a theological sense), nor is it something I uniformly experience all of the time. Far more of the time, there is just me in my head, and so, so much of my reality, really, happens exclusively in my head that much of my experience is of being alone.

And everything in that poem resonates with me, whether metaphorically or literally.

Today the line that prompts me to practice is "If you have an art, don't neglect it." And it is much nicer to live alone with me in my head when I am not neglecting my art. Quieter and happier.

Today, I'm grateful for this outlet.


  1. You have an art. And you are not neglecting. So your post above this one is your practice of your art.