Living alone can be a blessing or a curse. For me, it is pure bliss. I have spent most of my childhood alone, away from kids my age. I used to spend time reading encyclopedias, playing with barbies, cars, and painting. But that time faded soon. During the first wave of the covid-19 pandemic, I spent my time with my family which created mixed feelings in my mind. Before the second wave could stop me, I moved away to live on my own.
Why Live Alone?
I have been independent for most of my life, mentally and otherwise. But there was something lacking, a sense of independence blended with responsibilities. Yes, I run my organization AIQA, I have my youtube channel, I have my blog, I have authored two books while pursuing a PG Diploma and then a Masters’ Degree but I needed to grow up or I can say, grow as a person. For most of our lives, we as women are never alone. In a patriarchal society like ours, we move from one house to another and this transportation of women is often done via marriage. I am privileged enough to move out without getting married. As an asexual woman who is tired of finding someone to grow old with, I realized one thing- I might need to be alone by myself for a while. Not only women, but a lot of us spend our lives finding the right one or thinking that being alone is a scary void full of darkness and a sad place to be in.
But the reality may differ from what we are taught to believe. The reality could be totally different for each individual. As a communist and extrovert, I thrive when I am around people, especially my comrades. The pandemic last year took a toll on me not just with deaths and loss but with the sense of loneliness that I felt when I was unable to meet people in person or talk to them. I realized that I was actually never alone, I always had my family, friends, and comrades by my side no matter what happened and it made me completely dependent on people to find my happiness. I needed to learn responsibilities, I could take care of others but how well I take of myself? Figuring it out is a journey. Over the years, I have gone through a lot, abuse, defamation, slander, and worst of political drama. I absorbed everything inside me quietly and the last time I moved out, it made me realize my life’s calling, my purpose. No, I did not read any magic or secret or any of the LOA stuff. I stayed alone for few days in a place that was silent, I was at a job that I could do easily but I was a piece of me missing from the whole puzzle. Then a call from my people, my queer and communist people woke me up from a deep sleep which made me realize where do I actually fit in. It is that calmness and silence that made my thoughts louder than before.
Living alone can be individualistic if you ignore the happenings of the world. I understand all the miseries that are going on right now, the losses, the decaying bodies, the grief, and the constant struggle that we have to do to make sure that more people do not die not just of the diseases but also of starvation and sadness. Last year, with empowering the queer project, My organization focussed on helping my people to survive not only the pandemic but the constant homophobia, transphobia, and violence that is done by their birth families. In order to be there for others, I had to be with myself, contain my grief inside, wipe my tears and delay the mourning for maybe months because neither I nor my community could bear another loss. This year is the same, or worse in many cases. This year what I changed is my approach to deal with life and tragedies.
In order to be strong, I have to be alone and vulnerable. It is overcoming fears and challenges that make us strong. I had to talk to my demons and make peace with them. I often went through hell and I went through it alone but it does not have to be like that always. However, back to independence, I have to learn basic survival skills which were becoming impossible to learn at home. Cooking, cleaning, taking care of a human being by yourself, budgeting (which I have done for others but suck when it comes to me), driving, and swimming to name a few. At least it is a start, I may delay driving and swimming because it is a health hazard to go outside right now. But living alone taught me a lot more than just skills. It taught me self-defense both mentally and physically.
Prioritize things the right way
One cannot just say- Okay, I am moving out!! That is the most impulsive decision ever! This is for those who are stuck with abusive family and partners, I see you! Make a plan, keep your documents handy, try to save, and seek help financially before moving out. If you are a minor, contact a child helpline or NGOs that could help you.
I left home to be independent but many leave home permanently due to different changes. Feel free to make your decisions but with better planning. Decide where you want to go, calculate the costs and unexpected expenses while seeking help. It is a long road.
Why women are not left alone but they should be
Women are often not left alone. It comes from the patriarchy that they should not be left alone otherwise they will become their own person. This is why it is a struggle to travel alone or even go for a protest or go out alone. They are told that they will be abused if they are alone, that it is not safe for them to be alone and being alone is something they should avoid as much as they can. But the reality is, being alone could help them discover their interests, beliefs and help them become a person in a better way. Women are tied down in the domestic sphere to the responsibilities of household to shackle them and to keep them busy doing tons of unpaid labor. This has also prevented them from entering the public domain for centuries.
Leave Your Queer Children Alone
Often we see the right wing’s homophobic rhetoric, “This is what happens if you leave them with communists” blah blah and blah. It is as if being queer or being communist is a curse. Funnily enough, there are plenty of queer right-wingers existing and shaming others for their political choices. But the worst comes from home when parents do not understand that a queer child is better than a dead child. Pandemic has made the whole community realize that the struggle is harder than we think. Many are in the closet to be safe while those who are out and not accepted, face abuse from their families constantly. This is the time when most of the community is trying to think about how safe is our people, all the intersections, caste, class, gender, how safe are our community members? How many of them are tortured? Dear Parents, leave your queer children alone, stop harassing and bullying them into silence, stop conversion therapy and forced marriages.