Surrounded Alone

Surrounded by people – yet alone.
Their chatter
a cloud of noise
around me.

Surrounded by people – yet alone.
Seeing wolves,
seeing sheep
seeing them.

Surrounded by people – still.
Their words

Surrounded by people – eyes moving.
Seeing so much.
Them – standing too close.
Her – leaning away.
There a harsh whisper, a flinch.
There a rolling eye, scorning.
Here a pinch, there a wink.

Surrounded by people – I smile.
Hollow, faking it well.
Nodding, “oh yes I see” said.
Inside I hear the stillness in me.
Inside I feel the watcher move.

Surrounded by people – can’t breathe.
The noise, the smells
Their energy.
Unknowing and sucking.
Thirsting and seeking.

Surrounded by people – I slip away.
Within me, the wiring is wrong.
I’m there but so not there.
Not so simple as
wolves and sheep.
It is something complex.

Surrounded by people – unseen.
Learning to be invisible
long ago
serves me well today.

They always look shocked
when I suddenly speak
and appear there.
In their midst – who knew?
Witty, fun, confident,
not like them, exotic.
I shake my head, within me,
Then I slip away again.

Bullying can make us invisible, it can cause us to slip away, sometimes forever.  When someone you know is bright, charming, witty, intelligent, caring and fun suddenly is quiet and seeking invisibility find out what is going on. Chances are they are dealing with pressure, with stress or someone who is acting in a bullying way.  Be there for them! Speak up!


  1. brian miller said,

    October 15, 2013 at 6:28 pm

    my first thought was the lives we live of crowded loneliness…full of acquaintences without real friends….add bullying to that mix and it becomes a really lonely life…i was a target when i was younger, being a late bloomer…life def was not easy…and it affected the other relationships in my life as well…

    • shanyns said,

      October 16, 2013 at 8:38 pm

      It leaves a mark, doesn’t it? And sometimes we learn coping skills that after a while are not helping us but hurt us instead. Thanks for coming by 🙂 and I think you bloomed just fine!

  2. howanxious said,

    October 15, 2013 at 7:39 pm

    I am that invisible person in the crowd… many times it has happened that people bump across me because they did not see me. Hence, I resonated with this poem.
    Very well-written… and I know that feeling of not being comfortable among others.

    • shanyns said,

      October 16, 2013 at 8:38 pm

      You and me both! I think we can become good at it, and that makes it hard to change. Glad you found resonance here, and as always, thanks for coming by!

  3. Glenn Buttkus said,

    October 15, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    A strong plea, well worth the read, as the strength of your convictions shines through. We moved around a lot when I was a kid, so l was always “the new kid”, and I was forced to be able to find my place within the group physically & mentally very quickly; front row, hand held up high, always able to find the bullies alone and retaliate, & this preparation, this methodology harmed me as much as helped, for I became too hard, too aggressive for years; it took the gentleness of a patient woman to hold a mirror up to my fallacies to create growth & progress.

    • shanyns said,

      October 17, 2013 at 2:43 pm

      I hear you Glenn, I was the kid that never fit in. And built those same defenses. And had love temper them. Thank you so much for sharing!

  4. October 15, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    Oh yes. the worst part of bullying is the loneliness inside a crowd.. all against you.. this is such a strong statement.. I have been that person… no longer so, but this is so serious and importanit

    • shanyns said,

      October 17, 2013 at 3:39 pm

      You are so right. Thanks for coming by my friend. And I am glad we aren’t those people anymore, but we remember and that matters.

  5. claudia said,

    October 15, 2013 at 8:02 pm

    love that you tackle that topic… way too many people who really are witty and interesting and would have something to say don’t dare to because of bullying… it’s good when someone sees and tries to help..

    • shanyns said,

      October 17, 2013 at 3:45 pm

      Thank you Claudia! I am so tired of people watching, and saying, Someone should do something. We are someone! We can do something! This is just one small step. Glad you liked it.

  6. ayala said,

    October 15, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    A great topic and an important one. Love the way you wrote this piece.

  7. Tony Maude said,

    October 15, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    At first I was thinking of the person who always appears to be alone at parties; the one who has no-one to talk to; the one who is awkward in a crowd; the one who simply can’t be extrovert enough to get noticed, or who can’t maintain that level of energy expenditure for long – I recognise him.

    Then it became clearer that the poetical I is the one being talked about, over, around; the one being verbally abused; the one being bullied – and I recognise him too.

    • shanyns said,

      October 17, 2013 at 3:55 pm

      Tony – we know them both, well, don’t we? I think sometimes this is me – and in both places. Thanks for coming by!

  8. October 15, 2013 at 9:07 pm

    Strong and emotionally potent, great work.

  9. Sheila said,

    October 15, 2013 at 10:21 pm

    sad, and understood.

    • shanyns said,

      October 17, 2013 at 4:01 pm

      I wish there was more of the latter so we could have less of the former 🙂 Thanks for being here.

  10. October 15, 2013 at 11:15 pm

    I thought it was about solitude because we can still feel lonely in a crowd. But bullying is another case ~ it can make a person feel invisible ~

    • shanyns said,

      October 17, 2013 at 4:22 pm

      Both are true for me, and I think they were both on my mind when I wrote this. 🙂

  11. Mary said,

    October 16, 2013 at 3:19 am

    Before I realized this was about bullying I thought about the loneliness I can also feel in crowds of people. For example at a party when I know very few people, I can feel more lonely than if I am just by myself in my home. Loneliness in crowds can be a very heavy feeling, whether a person is being bullied or not. But probably moreso if bullying is going on, and one feels one cannot speak about it.

  12. ManicDdaily said,

    October 16, 2013 at 10:30 am

    You describe these difficulties well. K.

  13. October 16, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    I love this, I wrote about being in a crowded room recently too yet feeling so alone. I’ve learnt to be invisible over the years . . . not sure if it serves me well. Powerful and emotive piece.

  14. October 16, 2013 at 9:53 pm

    I was bullied – for being the new girl, for having divorced parents, for being ‘clever’, for being me. It was a long time ago, but yes, I remember it well. Very well done.

  15. Gabriella said,

    October 16, 2013 at 10:08 pm

    Alone in a crowd is always more painful than on one’s own, and of course even more so if one is bullied. Very strong and effective words.

  16. Irene said,

    October 17, 2013 at 8:26 am

    The authentic life is to have real connection, which your poem drives home.

  17. Kelly Karius said,

    October 17, 2013 at 2:50 pm

    Great poem Shanyn. We’re glad you’re helping to host the 24 hour bully stakeout, and invite your friends to join us there too!

  18. Laurie Kolp said,

    October 17, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    Well expressed… I so relate to this, Shanyn.

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