There’s a recurring theme and, like all good things on repeat, there’s clearly some new/old things to pay attention to. So bear with me whilst I unpack.
I was, as a child, an independent soul. I don’t remember much but I do remember being pretty happy as a loner. I never knew the stigma of it until early teens, and by then, I was already playing at being a chameleon so it never burned me. But I would always retreat to myself given half the chance. I read, danced, sang and dreamed alone. I wrote alone. I looked at the stars above from my balcony and the clouds below from planes and imagined worlds alone. It wasn’t then, and isn’t now, that I don’t like people. It’s just that I didn’t rely on them like I relied on me. My life was full of charm and magic, calm and reliability.
To this day, I retreat in when I can. I spend weekend hours just being, not even talking. I wile away hours finding things which sit happily in my brain and my heart that I don’t need to share. I don’t ask for attention and I don’t need it. In fact, I’d actively prefer not to receive any sometimes. I’m comfortable with the voices inside and the vistas they build.
Which is all great except everyone will accept that humans are essentially social and that, no matter who we are and what lifestyles we extol, we still crave connection on some level.
So when I was younger, I completely over-compensated. I EXPECTED connection in relationships, chased attention from points of attraction. I was utterly undone by society’s expectations of how those connections should manifest. I chose to be dictated to by them to a degree that morphed me way beyond my natural state. I look back now and understand now how some of my relationships, romantic, platonic and everywhere inbetween, got so dysfunctional. I learned the hard way that I couldn’t disconnect from myself and attempt to connect successfully with anyone else.
And so still I am learning. That little independent soul who defined herself by only magical invisible friends morphs yet still. Even as a more centred person (relatively speaking), even as someone who prides herself in being open and self reflexive, even I still feel like I need to protect my own sense of freedom by staying within. Even though I’m now growing a bigger and more connected sense of self, I am still choosing paths of least resistance than speaking my truth. I’m still preferring to retreat into my castles in the sky rather than allow to land on solid ground. I’m still preferring to assume at people’s reactions and manage the dialogue internally than let them and myself grow into situations.
It’s a hard one, learning to turn yourself inside out. But it’s become clear that much of what I internalise is no longer serving me as a totally internal conversation and state. So outward I must face, trust that the core of me is unshakeable. Let go of the silent chatter I must, and bravely forward I must forge into new ways to think of realities. It’s the only way any level of relationship remains dynamic, new horizons are effectively opened up and those priceless moments of sharing sparks can happen. It’s exciting and exhilarating but just a little bittersweet as I turn out old habits that served me faithfully for so long.