magical pain of aloneness

Jarid Altmark
3 min readOct 31, 2021

To feel other than and unlike those around you is normal, but the truth is that is a painful choice. You can choose to trap yourself in a society or stereotype produced box. You can choose to be paralyzed by the pain it takes to be real, or replace it with convention, should and could. You can choose to create boxes for others, without understanding that your ultimate desire is being locked away within the barriers of authenticity you inflicted. Or you can choose to live box-less, with an imaginary toolkit that allows you to build the boundaries of what feels real and whole-hearted to you. I am undoubtedly grateful for the pain of cultivating my own sense of authenticity and, through the vulnerability of uncertainty, experiencing the freedom of choice.

Dropping normalcy and choosing individuality is completely inescapable isolation with your thoughts, awkwardness and residual shame. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy it when I want to decompress an overwhelming interaction, but it’s challenging to look yourself in the mirror and commit to being kind to you and your reflection. I’d be lying if I said I haven’t spent nights staring at myself for longer than I’d like to admit, thinking of all the past times I’ve been hurt, have hurt, felt unworthy of belonging. Yet the mirrored-face staring back at me is intact, unaffected. Even when I feel the walls of society’s expectations closing in, I stare at my reflection to remind myself about the choice to be at peace, not rumiante in self-doubt.

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” — Pablo Picasso

The fear I felt inside the societal curated box was actually self-inflicted. I told myself everything needed to avoid getting hurt and being characterized. Defense is debilitating, I learned I was only hurting myself by avoiding the pain and courage of vulnerability with the guidance of Brené Brown’s purpose and gift. Fear is unavoidable, resilience is practiced.

With isolation, shame is unavoidable as silence is the ultimate climate for self-inflicted hurt. Within isolation though, you can practice labeling of emotions to decrease their power over you, kinder self-talk or even avoid it all by numbing with substances, scrolling, entertainment until you are too intoxicated to remember the pain. It can be easy to distract yourself from what you fear, but maybe what you are fearing is authenticity, the version of you that has yet to be spoken aloud. Comparison is too easy, you will find greatness in believing that you are simply enough just by being yourself.

Once you learn that you are flawed, you will notice everyone is flawed and capable of improvement. Look out for others and don’t hide from yourself, this relationship has the power to destroy the boxes of shame now, in others and in your future. Kindness is contagious, keep doing you.

Jarid Altmark

Artist, Writer, 4x Food Network Competitor, Professional Cake Artist and Practical Overthinker.