Updated: 5 days ago
“What is a good family? Is it money? Because we had a lot of that for a little while, but my home life was anything but good. Is it having parents who are still married? Because hahahaha. I have known so many people who come from very wealthy families and/or whose parents are still together, but twist! No one knows how to love....”
I am an only child. The way I grew up, without siblings and forced into independence young, had a great effect on my outlook on life and my approach to it. My parents worked late and by the time I was 11-years-old I was tasked with getting myself home from the bus stop, feeding myself, and getting my homework started before anyone got home. My grandmother lived with us so sometimes she’d be home to pick me up or help me cook, but not always. And aside from the general practical care parents and guardians give their children, in the form of financial stability, a place to live, food in the fridge, something just as important is often overlooked if the previous three boxes are already checked: emotional support. My parents had ample salaries, moved us into a bigger house after eight years in the first one they owned, and my mother made bi-weekly trips to the grocery store. Whatever I wanted to eat, read, craft, or wear (within reason) I could usually get just by asking. Without brothers or sisters though, home was a place I had to carve out for myself.
I had a few best friends and strict rules about hanging out with them only after homework was done, so pretty much only on weekends. Taking care of my mental state required a routine of zoning out to music videos while I snacked and getting into bed as soon as I could to read on either side of any studying that had to get done. Looking back it’s likely that I got straight As to have something to do. I was an overachiever not because I was exceptionally good at math or science or English, I just filled my time by doing the work.
Overworked and exhausted by the end of the day, my mom would mostly stick to checking in to see if I had eaten dinner and was ready for school the next day. And my dad would dole out “what’s up”s and much teasing but again the conversations didn’t go very far. If I stepped a toe out of line of their expectations though, I heard about it, loudly and often. First she’d lay out how I was messing up and ask why I couldn’t just do/be X. If I defended myself she’d really start screaming and my dad might step in trying to get me to stand down. We’d all be yelling and throwing things and stomping on the stairs and slamming doors. I can still hear the grating way my mom would whine out “Meliiiisssaaaaaa” before she tore into me–that is why I started going by Mel in middle school, because she never called me by my nickname and there were no bad associations like with my full name.
“We have to erase the idea that if you come from anything less than a Good Family, you are bad. And if you come from a Good Family, you’re good. But we put this bullshit on one another all the time. Everything, culturally, is weighted by whatever you were born into.”
When writer, musician, and author of How to Be Alone, Lane Moore moved to New York City she had to figure out everything for herself. While most people she encountered use their family like Google, (or like “a fucking credit card with every dollar matched by cashback rewards”) calling home whenever they have questions about how to do things like sort laundry, open a bank account, rent an apartment, get back a security deposit—Moore didn’t have the luxury, she only had herself and her wits and her willingness to break into the work she truly desired for a barely existent starting salary. She talks about how we put too much reliance on influential parents when she and others aren’t so blessed, how some people work to “turn out great” despite their family life, not because their parents are their heroes or simply “did the best they could” at the time. Moore admits that:
“It’s hard not to throw everything I’ve written so far out the fucking window right now because I don’t want you to know this, because I don’t want you to hate me for being so sad and not normal, but then I think, what if you know exactly what I mean?”
I nodded fervently along as I read.
To have found someone who was speaking out about the truths of… dysfunctional families was almost painful for me because of how much I didn’t realize I needed to hear it and feel less alone. Moore says that seeing friends and acquaintances address her with queries about plans for her holidays, as they saw a “normal” person in front of them and assumed that she also has a “normal” family somewhere, makes it feel like her history is constantly being erased. And I knew what she meant. I was confronted with a desire that had been percolating for some time, a hope to normalize a world where we do NOT blindly love blood relatives just because we’re related to them. I hate the idea of anyone having to suffer through toxic relationships just so family elders can retain respect just for, what, having sex that resulted in offspring? For choosing to clothe and feed that offspring before throwing them out of the nest? For what exactly?? There is too much that is allowed to go unaddressed just because it happens within a family unit.
I shared a passage of this book with a dear friend because, as I told her, she was probably one of only a couple of people in my life who might also connect with Moore’s story. We commiserated about how our brains had manipulated memories to protect us in our younger years, only to plague us with a hell of a lot of work to do in therapy as adults. We acknowledged the clear generational divides in our families, how older relatives pushed us to simply get over what ails us rather than have open emotional discussions. The respective relationships we had with our mothers specifically have developed greatly, for the better, over time, but not until after much damage had been done. We’d both learned how our time is a currency we shouldn’t invest where it won’t serve us, even if that means not spending holidays with the families we were born into. We agreed that a super interdependent family is an odd concept, nearly mob-like she said, and friendship between relatives out of choice not obligation should be the goal. Letting the youngest family members fly head-on toward independence, in all aspects but especially as it applies to thinking for oneself, should be what we strive for. But we’d spent much time together as the only only children in a wide friend group and we were very much aware of what we didn’t have. We relate to Moore, and I know that’s not common amongst everyone who will read her words.
In my teen years I learned how to divorce myself from the situations I’d get into with my mother, standing my ground, not shedding tears, not giving in to emotions, not even anger, and it drove her crazy. She accused me of being cold. She’d cry for me, shout louder, goading me. She’d send me to my room or take away television privileges, or both. But she couldn’t take away my books and she couldn’t police whether or not I watched TV before she got home from work. As an adult myself it’s clear to me now what she was trying to do, controlling me in whatever way she could in order to fit me into the only kind of life she understood. The means though, the berating I got seemed so unnecessary. If the end goal was to see me do well in school, get into honors courses, graduate high school near the top of my class, and get into a quality college, I did. I was an exemplary student, I was and still am well-read, I had ideas and plans for my future, and I didn’t have any of that because my mother told me to.
I didn’t suffer through the same kind of blatant abuse and fear that Moore describes at the hand of her father, and by extension her mother and other relatives in denial. I had so much privilege and yet of the two tenets Moore points to as being necessary, having money and a support system, for the longest time I only had the one, the financial stability. It helped me get to where I wanted to, but my psyche was lagging along behind me while I kept bringing home good grades and was choosing colleges and always studying or escaping into books. I was depressed before I understood it had a name. I learned how to silently cry myself to sleep. In social situations I was often the quiet one not just because I was prone to introversion but because my self-esteem was fairly non-existent.
So young and so jaded I held on to enough energy to build up a desire, a small fire within, to figure things out on my own, to question everything, especially authority and the status quo, and to have aspirational goals; not fame and fortune, but a bigger world than the one my parents had shown me and chose to stay within the confines of. In all the hours I spent alone in my parents’ house that spark bloomed in my chest, dreaming of the day I might be an interior designer/journalist/artist/free spirit and I could (no, would! I WOULD) travel to somewhere other than Disney World.
In a style of voice much like the wonderful Tara Schuster in Buy Yourself the F*cking Lillies with much of the brusque reality of Alida Nugent’s Don’t Worry It Gets Worse, Lane Moore uses her personal history to pull you, the reader, into the conspiratorial undoing of her insecurities, her “hilariously painful” home life, and her messy long term relationships. Jostling between first and second person, she makes it easy for you to fall into step beside her as she points out all the evidence that proves she knows how to be independent and alone—and how not-great it’s been self-soothing for all these years when everyone expects and occasionally demands (like at the doctor’s office, or at “orphan Christmas” parties) her to just be normal and have family or friends she can count on like everybody else does.
Something I especially loved was how she so adeptly describes the thing we do when we are upset and craft apologies or alternate happy-endings in our heads in place of the conversations that should, but likely won’t, actually take place. I’m guilty of that. Just like the memes say, I tend to open a text or email, go back to what I was doing, respond with various drafts in my head, and let days pass before I realize I didn’t actually respond. Oops! Also, I adored how she admitted to comparing life events to “seasons” of a television show (“Awww we’re entering season 2 of our apartment!”), especially as it relates to the casting of her life and considering if that guy from “season 15” might make a comeback because the audience is getting antsy and she needs a solid love interest already! Having reached season 30 this year I wonder if I can just spend this whole season on flashbacks and pick up 30 again next year (says my denial).
I fell easily for her brutal writing style. There’s so much humor in the self-deprecating delivery of criticism she doles on herself and some bad choices she makes dating much older men when she was a teenager. It’s brutal how she holds nothing back. That’s to be expected of such personal essays of course but it still felt so unique, likely because of how I felt connected to so much of what she was saying about family specifically. Her use of caps lock in general is fire and her brief rant about how women (of any sexuality really) are from a young age bred to “lose our fucking shit if a boy, any boy, has chosen us,” that also resonated with me on a deep level.
I had several unrequited loves in middle school, a couple of which I admitted to even though I and those two boys never spoke about it again. I knew love young. Well, I at least had an idea of what it could be, and I felt it often. And yet when I was in elementary school, maybe 9- or 10-years-old, I was talking to a friend at the after school program I was enrolled in, when a boy I barely knew by name kissed the back of my head. (I’d been chosen!) My reaction was to shove him away and he fell backwards onto a mat that had been left on the floor by the last gym class and he started crying. I wasn’t so much disgusted by him as I was upset that my personal space had been so rudely invaded. The staff didn’t care though. They saw me get physical and make a boy cry, so I was punished. I probably shouldn’t have used my hands over my voice, but we also should have both been punished. What would have been a great teaching moment for him (and, okay, for me too) was wasted and he probably walked away knowing that I was wrong because I should have been flattered and had no business getting mad. Did he even know he crossed a line? Did the adults??
My reticence toward this specific act, being touched, kissed, without my consent still is a problem for me. Moore notes that:
“Human beings are designed to be physically comforted by one another… it’s soothing parental behavior I didn’t get as a kid. So when I get it now, it’s the closest thing I can get to immediate happiness.”
And again, like she already knew my own family and what I needed to hear, I read this passage, underlined it, and set the book down to think. I have always been hesitant to greet either relatives or dear friends with hugs, preferring to have that touch be on my own terms rather than just another performative act deemed a necessity by societal rules. I realized that because it wasn’t a norm in my home, to give or receive such a gentle, soothing touch, I’d have to teach myself how to learn what’s appropriate and change my boundaries accordingly.
It’s confusing frankly to grow up watching idyllic versions of romantic love on television or in teen movies and then not be able to grab on to it. Moore makes a great point about how we tell people to enjoy being single, it’s fine, but if they want the “basic human needs” of physical touch, they have to find a romantic partner or enter into a possibly ill-advised hookup. Rushing into either could be detrimental to a person with a history of trauma, which is exactly why she brings it up. Right now it seems like we don’t care enough to change the way we talk about love and sex, often repeating platitudes before retreating into couples, or warm extended families for those who are so lucky, while many of our friends (especially while public health advisories insist we stay home and away from friends) go back to small apartments, alone.
If women, and pretty much all young people, are constantly being told to be independent and love themselves before they love a partner, and make big career moves before settling down blah blah blah, why does it seem like, above all else, everyone is pushed into being paired off? I’m one-year married but we had a long engagement. I never really dreamed of what my wedding look like and certainly not what marriage would be like. It seemed like the right time for us. The pressure was there, from family members and the ever-present biological clock, but not a lot changed for me, one year into being my husband’s wife. I have someone I get to joke around with, go on dates with, confide in, and love knowing I’m loved back. We had that before we were married. And now we each still require ample amounts of time to do our own thing, alone or separately with friends. That seems like it should be the message we give to 20-somethings, not “settle down,” but find people, as many as you want, who you can feel good doing everything and nothing with. More weight could be put on chosen families than the family you have. In my experience, those which you choose are more reliable, but the most reliable person in your life, should be YOU.
“I’ve traveled by myself exclusively for as long as I can remember, but apparently people don’t do it that often. Movies and TV and friends have made it very clear to me that people travel in packs, in groups, but I never did. I never moved anywhere where I already knew people, never moved to a neighborhood because I had friends over there, never took a Girls’ Trip(???). I never even thought about it. That was what other people with families and normal lives did and I just figured there were no exceptions.”
In the spring of 2017, I made the executive decision to travel abroad for the first time. I’d been working at my job for a while without a vacation and flights were reasonable, I had a tax refund fattening my bank account and I jumped at the chance to get the heck out of America, if just for a week. I chose London for the end of July, with a day trip to Paris via the Eurostar. I told my fiancé about it, knowing he couldn’t afford to come with me and he, who had made a couple of long trips through Europe in his teens, encouraged me to go even if he couldn’t.
I was ecstatic. The afternoon I booked my tickets I called everyone I knew, sharing the news. I’d never spent that much money on anything other than rent and somehow I’d managed to not leave the country before so I was asking for advice on my friend’s favorite places in the city and more generally sharing my joy with them. Even my boss was excited for me, insisting I get myself a ticket to at least one play to see while there. I looked up street tours and found some cheap ones on street art and Jack the Ripper, and splurged on an all-inclusive 10-hour day through Windsor, Bath, and Oxford. I studied the Google map of greater London to get a feel for the Underground and the different neighborhoods, where I might want to go first or not at all. It took shape quickly into what would be, for me, a trip of a lifetime.
About a month out I was scrolling through Facebook and I found this article about the joy of vacationing alone. As I was about to do just that I clicked, hoping for something that would reaffirm my desire to go on such a trip on my own. I laughed and felt seen. I’d waited my whole life for a real vacation equal parts relaxing and exciting. After 20 (yes 20) trips to Disney, including the last one during the week I turned 21, agonizingly full of running around according to a schedule of events and being packed tight around strangers, I was really ready for something else. I knew I was doing the right thing for myself.
Clockwise from top left: Oddbins Leadenhall Market, London;
Stonehenge, Salisbury; Carnaby Street, London; Louvre, Paris, 2017.
In August I came back stateside with a phone full of snapshots, sore and blistered feet from walking upwards of 10 miles each day, and a suitcase bursting with my many book purchases plus a few souvenirs from Stonehenge and Westminster Abbey. I had a marvelous time. The sites in Paris and Central London were astonishing and they stuck with me, but what I retained most was the desire to wander and have more experiences by myself. It’s no surprise that by September of 2017 I started regularly attending book launch events throughout Manhattan and Brooklyn. By 2018 I was going to 2-3 every week, treating myself to a glass of wine or a quick dinner beforehand, happily people-watching or reading to pass the time before I had to make my way to the bookstore. I’d found a new kind of bliss.
“I went to see the Bottle Houses [on Prince Edwards Island], which are a series of houses made out of recycled bottles. And when I went in to buy my ticket, the clerk said, ‘You’re driving around here all by yourself? All alone?’ and I smiled and said, ‘Yep.’ And she said, ‘Doesn’t that feel scary?’ and I smiled again and said, ‘Nope. I’m good.’ Remembering all the times when I was alone before and I hadn’t been good, preparing me for this moment when I was.”
When I thought about planning another vacation I looked ahead to the long holiday break I’d have from work between Christmas and New Year. My fiancé had the same time off so we sat down to talk about possibly going somewhere together. He really wanted to go to Las Vegas but I was itching to go abroad again. It was six months before our wedding so he cautiously suggested he could go to Las Vegas with his best friend as the equivalent of a bachelor party. I mulled over the idea, remembering something a friend had mentioned months before about a “book village” somewhere in England. Could I let him do what he wanted to and have another adventure alone? Sure I could. I told him he should go if he didn’t mind my hopping across the pond to London again. I said I’d even use my miles for his plane ticket since I couldn’t use them for myself. We kissed on it.
I found a well-priced, minuscule hotel room in the hip part of town on the edge of Shoreditch and found a late-night flight leaving on Christmas Day. Again I called my friends, including a pair of sisters, to whom I wondered aloud if they might be able to swing by, one coming from Kuwait, the other from Boston. They weren’t sure but vowed to look into it. Knowing how much fun I’d had gallivanting around England last time I was unbothered by the thought of our meetup not working out, and pondered costs of trains and rental cars, wondering if I was brave enough to drive on the wrong side of the road. I wasn’t sure, but at the last minute, I reserved the smallest automatic car I could find and a room over a pub in Hay-on-Wye for the day after Boxing Day. I’d found the book village. I was going to Wales to see it. I felt invigorated with my decision to be bold, to do what I really wanted to do, even if I explored alone, especially so. I felt alive.
Coco Momo (down the block from Daunt Books), London, England, 2018.
Until I landed. My fiancé and I both started our separate trips with what was likely the same cold. For me, it was mild, at first. I bought some travel tissues with a bottle of wine from the market by my hotel. I walked through the streets in the chilly December air with my coat in hand instead of on my back. I took lots of photos, bought even more books (so many I had to mail home some of them on my last full day), and I shuttled myself through the tube like a pro. I had loose plans each day to spend a couple of hours with friends I never get to see, on top of my college friends, the sisters, who were meeting me late on the day I’d get back from the book village.
I exhausted myself enough each day and my head cold got worse so that despite my best efforts I wasn’t reading as much as I usually manage to. I’d brought at least five books with me, always overly prepared. Then I was accruing a few more each day, dozens from Hay-on-Wye, and still spent most of my downtime at the hotel watching You which had just been released on Netflix, or catching up on #bookstagram. Knowing my limits, I chose to rely on audiobooks. I listened to Ronan Farrow speak on the end of democracy, used a thriller as a palate cleanser, randomly picked up a self-help type on the “challenge culture” in business, and Lane Moore’s How to Be Alone. The latter I borrowed transcontinentally from my library at home because it seemed to be aptly titled to accompany me during my second solo week in London. I started listening as I made my way back to my hotel after a long excursion at the Waterstones in Piccadilly Circus, and let her narrate my path across the Thames to the Globe. I managed to read some Rachel Cusk on the train to Bristol where I picked up the car to drive into Hay-on-Wye, and planned to pick Moore up again but promptly shut off all sound as I carefully followed the GPS instructions instead.
The "book village" of Hay-on-Wye, Hereford, Wales, 2018.
The morning I left Wales I knew I was properly sick, could feel the tickle in the back of my throat was extra scratchy. I drove through the hills back to Bristol and bought some cold medicine at the station. When I was back on the train I laid my head on my folded arms and finished listening to Moore expound. I remember thinking, somewhat ironically, how nice it would have been to speak with her in depth about her book over drinks, there in London. It seemed like something she would have enjoyed.
The next few days passed in a blur, following the sisters (who’d made it after all) and their friends through the Victoria & Albert Museum and back to Shoreditch, taking risks by alternately imbibing cheap wine and paracetamol pills for my sinus pain. On New Year’s Eve, true to Moore’s advice (“Sometimes you just need time to yourself and it doesn’t make you weird or wrong.”) I parted ways with the friends and took myself back to the neighborhood that after five days started to feel like home. I managed to get one really tasty cocktail at a place I’d walked by a few times, got chatted up by a waiter there, stopped by a pub down the block for another, and got into bed with the remainder of a bottle of Malbec and a gallon of orange juice to watch the last couple episodes of You. My fiancé called me at midnight, 4pm in Vegas, to check in and wish me a happy new year.
I got up exactly eight hours later and called him. We were both dragging and looking forward to our getting home that evening. Beleaguered by my stuffy nose, I rushed through packing to run a few blocks over for brunch with my friends before I had to head to Heathrow. It was such a hip place at the top of a skyscraper with a prix fixe menu but I couldn’t enjoy any of it. I thought of an anecdote of Moore’s, when she pretended to be sick with the chicken pox so her parents wouldn’t go out, would stay with her and care for her. I wasn’t faking but I felt that desperation as the morning progressed. On the way there I’d lost hearing in one of my ears from the pressure in my nose and the other was barely hanging on. Taking slow breaths through my mouth I remained silent despite the conversation around me, trying to blow my nose every few minutes as covertly as possible and wished I hadn’t come. By noon the main course hadn’t been served and I had to leave to grab my things from the hotel before they added a surcharge to my bill for a late checkout. I nearly cried as I rushed away, momentarily resenting my being in London, reverting to that childlike desire to just stop exerting myself and let someone else take over.
I wondered if I’d be able to get to the airport on the Tube alone, if I should even try given the state I was in. It would take about two hours which would leave me almost two hours before the flight. I’d only have to make one transfer so I took the chance. When I was eventually seated on the plane that afternoon I hunkered down with all the Valium and cold medicine I had left. We landed around 7pm in New York and I had another two hours and two trains left to Grand Central and back to Connecticut. As I had the night before, 3,500 miles away, I was settled into bed by 10pm.
The first day of 2019 was hell, but I survived. The next day a doctor told me I had an ear infection thanks to the cold that had run rampant through my sinus cavity. I was amazed that the flight hadn’t been worse. But more so, I was again impressed by my own will that had taken me to England and back, proud of my endeavor. Even if flying to another country to take long walks toward quiet literary and historical sights and searching out expensive craft cocktails, alone, seems like a bore of a trip to some people, I’d laugh in their faces and then sigh contentedly because I’d managed to achieve a dream twice over. If they don’t understand the beauty of one’s own company, then they still have a lot to learn.
Clockwise from top left: The Anchor, near Piccadilly Circus, London,
The Commercial Tavern, Shakespeare's Globe, London, 2018.
“Every now and then when my anxiety takes me down the road of what would happen if I somehow lost everything, I remember that I am alive and I am free, even if my mind often makes me feel like I’m not.”
To say I’ve always been able to thrive in spending large swaths of time by myself would be a lie. In the past, spending too long in my own head has driven me toward several panic attacks and depressive spirals, and despite that, I choose every day to do it again.
Nearly two years ago I listened to this book and it was impactful in the few quotes that stood out to me at the time, the few that could get through the ear infection into my memory banks. But, then I never could have imagined how useful and cathartic a book like this would be now. As we enter the seventh month of a pandemic that may not truly end in the foreseeable future, the reread of How to Be Alone was like a kick to the head. I bought a print copy I could scribble on and assumed I would spend two, maybe three, mornings with my coffee and the 210 pages before I had enough notes for this review and I was so wrong.
In the same way that my friend and I had discussed how our brains hid memories for us, as a means of self-preservation, it seemed like that’s what happened to most of the content of this book, that or my illness at the time took precedence. Reading “Emergency Contact Left Blank,” the first essay, just 12 pages, made me so emotional that I had to set it back down for a few days. I remembered the audio making me laugh as I walked through London and I was surprised how hard it hit me the second time around. Moore is a comedy writer. The humor is there and it’s loud and raucous and it’s balanced expertly with the drops of wisdom she imparts on the other side of a caps lock monologue. It’s not a trope to keep you on your toes though, it’s an embodiment of who she is. It’s glorious and heartbreaking and should be a must-read.
Maybe it’s not what anyone sick of self-isolating wants to hear, but as is included in the subtitle, Moore’s pitch is partly to help you, her reader, be alone even if you don’t want to. She and I have a lifetime of experience sitting with the myriad feelings that go along with being one’s own best or only company. That wasn’t enough to prepare me for how the world would change in a pandemic. It’s as if I’m a teenager again, spilling over with hormones and confusion, sadness. The same tactics that worked then, leaning into the emotions before letting them go, finding distractions in nature, at the same beach I’d run away to the moment I had my license, writing it all down, reading late into the night–they all still work, thank goodness, but Moore has more to teach.
She advises the one thing I didn’t think to do until I was in college: ask for what you need when you need it. As she describes in detailing her longer relationships, her family history made it hard to trust. For me, it made it difficult to ask for help. That’s really the best thing anyone could do for themself now and forever. The act of being seen, being held and comforted, being assured you that you’re not crazy, that your experiences are real, and being told and shown that you are loved, you can live that again and again. It will make reaching out so much easier. Right now it’s still mired in stigma but the truth is you aren’t alone even when you’re physically alone. You have to find the strength to admit that you need them, someone, now. Moore says to “be the person you’ve been waiting for.” I’d add, be for yourself the person you wish your best friend had, at their lowest point. It’s probably already you!
It’s possible that the entirety of this short and heavy book could be summed up with an aside she makes (but the innards are pretty freaking great so I don’t recommend only reading this summary and without picking up a copy immediately) when discussing the awful feelings she’s always mired in during Christmas. She feels the way she does because she’s a human being. I wish that every person on the planet with any power or privilege could be slapped in the face with that reminder because I’m pretty sure society would be a whole lot better. And those people, with the power to make the change to better the lives of others, could accept their own humanity and maybe grab on to a little humility too and do some good for their peers/employees/constituents/fellow humans because god knows we need more than a little good right now. The final pages of the final essay were like the warmest hug I could have received, made even better by the facts that (1) Lane Moore is one of the most special and genuine people around and that was so clear to me even just on paper, and (2) hugs are so sought after now when we can’t safely get that close to our favorite people. So, thank you, Lane, if it’s okay for me to call you Lane, thank you for allowing this long look into your personal life. Spending time with your words has done a lot in making me feel validated and capable and strong. Now I feel less lonely.
“Our base nature is to be together, work together, help each other—and it’s only removed once we have been hurt or denied that help from others, or had that desire ripped from us. But I know it’s still there when people smile at you on the street, or hold the door for you when they didn’t have to. It’s still very much alive so if you want to exercise that and feel close to people in a safe and slightly distant way, you can. Right now. Hold the door. Smile even though they might not smile back.... On the hardest, most brutal of days, even the smallest of kindnesses has gotten me through. So when you have the energy, do it. And in that, lonely as you may be in every other possible way, you are connected.”
How To Be Alone: If You Want To, And Even If You Don’t
By Lane Moore
220 pages. 2018.