This last weekend I attended a wedding rehearsal, a wedding rehearsal dinner, a wedding, a Sunday church service and a graduation party.  I also hosted old friends in my home, friends who were visiting from Colorado for the wedding.

In all the social groups I was in this last weekend, I consumed a few sumptuous eats — yummy tacos, savory hamburgers, spicy spinach salads, tender grilled veggies  — laughed several delicious laughs, drank IPA’s moderately, guffawed considerably, confabulated consistently and semi-solidly connectified — modestly.

My friends and I talked about home flooring, Ferraris, Paris, a cat’s ability to recognize individuals, other people’s girlfriends and our favorite European cities.

Thus, I am a known collaborator and identifiable social accomplice. I am a knownificant. I am a partakiphant. I am a card-carrying memberaphile of a group bonded by God, church, friendship and family.

As a result, I see myself through the lens of the normalized socialized collectively identifiable.

This is all fine, but sometimes it feels just weird to belong —  and yet to not always feel like you belong —  to feel a part and apart.

I think you know what I mean.

Last weekend I spent a good deal of time alone, I ate cold cereal alone, I finished up two public speeches on my laptop — alone, I watched a B rated western on my iPad — in bed —  alone, and I drove alone to the events I attended in my car. I also stayed one night on my side of the bed — alone — because my wife didn’t feel good.

I am a known alone.

I am socialized.

And I am a hermit.

I love people.

I love solitude.

I love to read, eat, think, write, wash my cat and hang out with her —  alone.  In fact, I often prepare for being in community by being solitary, and yet not completely because when I am alone I am often thinking about what to say to them when I am with them.

And yet, skin — it is a wall, a file folder, a divider. I persist as a bag of skin, meeting and greeting other bags of skin. We are separated from each other by skin, hung on bones. We are autonomous skin-and-bone bags, variously greeting and meeting and eating with other individuated skin-and-bone bags.

Even when I am with you, I sense that I am not you. I am walled within my skin, I am walled within my experience, I am corralled within my emotions, I am high-fenced within my perspectives.

Who am I?

Who are you?

We are shards — struck from the same vase, but we have fallen into different places on the ground.

We are connected.

Many things unite us, food, faith, fondness, family.

We are alone.

Many things divide us — food preferences, types of faith, lack of fondness, family conflict.

I am both connected and alone. You are the same. We are one. We are not.

I am thinking about it. I exist severally and jointly, even with the human being that I am the most one with — my dear wife.

And yet, all this considered, I want to be more so —  connected and individuated  — bothly.

I want to be better with people — my wife, my daughters, my friends, my church community, the whole world.

I want to better be alone, with me, not them, just me, not them, good with me, nothing to do with them.

What about you?

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