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Alone

It baffles how many people are afraid of their own company. How some of us so afraid to be alone. Not lonely, but alone. As in actively taking time to do things alone as opposed to not having anyone to share that time with. How else can we ever fully understand ourselves if we never take the time to sit alone with our thoughts? If you never spend quality time with yourself, doing the thing you love, getting to know yourself better how can you expect to grow or even just form your own opinion on anything? How do you trust yourself or even begin to learn to accept and love yourself for the unique being that you are? What’s even more worrying are the compromises we are willing to make because of that fear of being alone. People end up spending time with people who bring them down, people they despise, and who steal their happy, all because they are afraid of being alone. Where is the self love? And if you are so incapable of loving yourself how qualified are you to love another person. What can you bring to any of your relationships?

I will admit I am somewhat introverted and this might be why I find this fear of being alone so hard to understand. I am comfortable in my own solitude. I love spending time with me. The older I have gotten the more I valued that time I have spent getting to know myself even better. In those moments I allow myself to marinate and play with my ideas in my head. I try to distil truth from delusion. I make a decision and then do the necessary work. Maybe I am being unfair because this comes naturally to me. But I can’t for the life of me imagine allowing anyone to go through that process on my behalf. To think and make decisions for me. I regularly do things alone. And it’s not because I lack company or options. I simply understand the need to cultivate and maintain a healthy relationship with myself. I can go to the cinemas without any company. In fact I prefer it. Especially if it’s a film that I really want to see. Same goes for travelling and my living situation. I have never be one to not do anything because I didn’t want to do it alone.

It’s easy to assume that this desire to be alone stems from underlying social awkwardness. Quite the contrary. I am as sociable as the next person. I am very opinionated, intellectually curious and when I am in my element I am usually the loudest person in the room. Although this might just be that I have a naturally loud voice. Whispering or speaking softly are not exactly my strong points especially when I am excited. Think Kanye when he is trying to make a point he is deeply passionate about.

It is my experience that not everyone we engage with and even the ones that claim to love us always have our best interests at heart. But because we are so afraid of being alone we allow these people into our personal space and we allow them to infect us with their negativity. It’s ridiculous, but we let it happen over and over again. They stunt our personal growth and steal our happy. The main reason for this is that at times because of our insecurities we seek validation and in the process compromise ourselves and end up in toxic and demeaning relationships. And it’s not like we don’t know it or recognise it at the time. We do. But hey, it’s better than being alone … but is it?

I am not against spending time with people. I have actually met people who have been mirrors. They have brought me to my own attention as well as inspired me to change my life for the better. These are some of the most important people I have met. They have succeeded in tearing down my walls and even revealed layers of myself to me. They made me aware of the ugliness that can be my ego. These have been the exceptions. The great loves of my life. But even when our seasons together ended and they served their purpose they left and I moved on, but as a better person for the experience. What I am against is spending time with people who bring nothing but negative. Dream slayers. People who don’t bring any value to your life. Faced with such a proposition, it’s a no brainer. I’d rather just do me.

The best gift you can ever give yourself or your loved ones is spending time getting to know yourself better. Only then will you be able to spend time with and love them in the best possible way you can. I know that I am passionate about a lot of things and this keeps me busy. Maybe it’s these passions and my unfulfilled dreams that even though I spend a lot of time alone I never really feel lonely. And if I ever do I just have to remind myself that I will always have the company of the blank page or a good book. It’s ok to be alone. In fact it’s the only way you will ever be fully able to be with anyone in the future.

Be your own best friend. Look out for yourself. Treat yourself with compassion and kindness. Your future self will thank you.

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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One Day I Will Write About This Place

A wise man once said to me ”Being alone is not the same thing as being lonely” I never quite understood what he meant until I started writing. Okay. There is no wise man, but it sounds more profound coming from said Wise Man right? Or maybe ‘My Sensei once told me…”, but then I would have to be Ninja for that to work, which admittedly I am not even though I often imagine myself as one. I digress. I don’t remember whether I actually read that or if it’s something the aspiring philosopher in me dreamed up. Either way it’s quite enlightened. If I could say so myself.

 For as long as I can remember and well into my twenties I constantly looked for myself in others. In their understanding of me and their interpretations of my actions. With that childlike fusion of recklessness, enthusiasm, angst and blind optimism I set about playing with the Lego pieces I had been handed and tried to build myself into what the outside world thought I should be. But with a child like impatience I increasingly grew frustrated and unsatisfied with this process. I threw tantrums and destroyed that Lego set many times only to try and rebuild it again. It was a vicious cycle.

As I grew and matured I tried to find myself more in other people’s words and stories. I read more. I read voraciously. My reading was eclectic. Still I wasn’t satisfied. So I searched for the answers to who I am on the blank page. I decided to write my own story, a decision that birthed this blog. It has helped me pull myself towards myself. Over the last year I have taken it a step further.

In what might be viewed as a bid to channel my inner Darius Lovehall I started working on a memoir. A memoir I have tentatively given the working title Doing The Write Thing: Moonwalking With My Muse. An ode to my frivolous journey to define myself. The energy I felt has been intense and internal. Far from it being the stereotypical journey of the tortured genius that is the cultural mythology of the writer it has been about exploring the balance between escapism, nostalgia, clarity and inner silliness. My inner child has taken centre stage but I have directed the play. The process has been the biggest learning curve of my life to date. It has been the first time I have taken full control of my story and defined myself for myself. I have sat alone with my own experiences and I have made myself the superhero of my personal ecosystem.

Writing has taught me that there are some things in life that we are meant to go through alone. We must grapple with them internally. Drill down the issue to its root, and painfully tug it from the soil of our hearts until it can thrive no more. Distill cause from the effect, without the biased opinions of those who love us. Those who might inardvently define us. We must wrestle with our demons at night then rest our weary bodies on tear soaked pillows. We must do all this alone.

Being alone has allowed me to let go and to let grow. Writing has taught me that you can be alone and not been lonely. The absence of others definitions, stirred up things inside of myself I didn’t know existed. I found strength in strange emotional muscles, muscles that had hitherto gone unused. I learned to love myself from places I believed were closed. I revisited painful things in my past that I had long suppressed. I examined the baggage I had accumulated in my teenage years in an effort to fit in and recognised the horrible habits that have come to characterise my adulthood as just that – horrible habits. I learned the uselessness of emotions like guilt and shame. I emancipated myself of some of the things that enslaved me. It has been beautiful. It has been ugly. It has been cathartic. It is ongoing.  

I know I still have much work to do, but I can also see how far I have already come. I have learned that I am never really alone. That the light is not at the end of the tunnel. That the light lives in me – it lives on the blank page.

Being alone allowed me to reflect on a bleak, frightening season in my life when I wasn’t sure if I would make it, but somehow I did. It has allowed me to find myself. One day I will write about this place and maybe when you read it, you will say “I had no idea, why didn’t you tell me?” I will just smile back and say “I had to face that alone”

 
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Posted by on March 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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