“Some journeys in life can only be travelled alone.” – Ken Poirot
I knew I was the only one who could help myself. No one had access into my mind the way I did – and still do.
It was a Saturday night – the 30th of January to be exact – at 8.48pm when I texted friends telling them that I’ll be turning away from anything social media-related for a week or two or four(ever) … until I felt like my mind was in a better place. A dear Alex told me to “reclaim the space that a digital world steals” and a dear Nicole told me to “try re-reading Your [my] old blog posts for inspiration and motivation because I [she] believe[s] the best person to motivate Yourself [myself] is Yourself [myself]”.
I am a social being, I just need more alone time to regain energy. I really am not anti-social, I know that about myself. I am just not as… gregarious? I can’t explain it, somehow the ease in which I had contact to the outside world troubled me. I felt so anxious, so uneasy, so terrified and so unsure about where I stand in the whirling ways of our souls. I just don’t enjoy being so ‘accessible’.
I don’t remember myself needing this much time away from other souls in the past. I really thought I must have been going through depression or some mild form of it (again). I was scared to admit it to my family. I was scared to admit it to my friends. I was scared to admit it to myself.
Then I came across this article: 9 Signs You’re Becoming A Legit Introvert After Years Of Identifying As An Extrovert
… and it made me emotional to an extent which I’ve not been for quite a while. It assured me that I was, in fact, not sliding into a life of emotional issues again. It’s such an incredible feeling to know that I am normal!! What I’m going through is completely and utterly normal! Oh dear, cue the symphonies for I am perfectly and absolutely… normal! I wonder if this article may resonate with any of You out there too?
Everything I never managed to properly express had been so succinctly listed in this article. This would be the perfect representation of what goes on in my head during my waking hours.
I don’t think the fact that this article was published on my birthday was a coincidence. Oh Rania Naim, You’re a wonderful wonderful writer. Please please never stop writing. Thank You, from the bottom of my heart.
Which pretty much linked perfectly to this: 10 Everyday Things Only Extroverted Introverts Will Understand
I’ve learned that I fall somewhere in between. It’s a confusing mix of being an extrovert and an introvert. A really confusing one.
Then this: Science Says There Are 4 Kinds Of Introverts
No two introverts are exactly alike. In fact, there are four “flavors” of introversion: social, thinking, anxious, and restrained, which make up the acronym STAR.
My result? I’m a social introvert, meaning I spend a lot of time by myself —and I’m completely okay with that. I’m happy with the small group of friends that I have and I avoid large crowds like the plague.
Effective problem solving, self-discovery, improvement of relationships, recharging of mind and body, deep thinking, increased productivity and improved concentration, mood boosts and creative thinking…
Truly, one can’t figure out who one really is as a person if one is constantly with others. Doing anything that gives one the opportunity to spend time with their own thoughts instead of being bombarded by other people’s will help one discover their own inner voice. You may be surprised that You make different decisions/ take different actions when You’re alone and not with a group. French philosopher Michel de Montaigne wisely expressed, “The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.”
You know what they say — absence makes the heart grow fonder. We will come to appreciate our relationships more after we’ve spent time away from some people in our lives. Spending time by ourselves and gaining a better understanding of who we are and what we want out of life will help us make better choices about who we actually want to be around.
I found this to be the perfect representation of how the ease of connection could lower the quality of one’s conversation. Truly, if we have less of something, we’d appreciate it so much more and put in greater effort to have its worth increase just as much.
- Song #1: Mine by Phoebe Ryan
These were my favourite lines:
- I’m holding on to all the pieces of my heart’s debris.
- I found gold in the wreckage.
- I know that it’s mine no matter what I do.
- I’ll pull it together and fix myself eventually.
- My heart needs to take its time.
- Song #2: Catch & Release by Matt Simons
Likewise for this song, a few lines spoke to me:
- There’s a place I go to where no one knows me; It’s not lonely, It’s a necessary thing; It’s a place I made up… Find out what I’m made of.
- Lose every sense of time; Take it all in and wake up that small part of me.
I also came across a poem on Poetry Foundation…
- Solitude by Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone;
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air;
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.
Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go;
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all,—
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life’s gall.
Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a large and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.
“We need solitude, because when we’re alone, we’re free from obligations, we don’t need to put on a show, and we can hear our own thoughts.” – Tamim Ansary, West of Kabul, East of New York: An Afghan American Story
So the plan was to delete all social media applications from my phone. I wouldn’t post on Instagram, Snapchat or Tumblr. I’d only spend an hour every night (8-9pm) replying messages on WhatsApp/ Tumblr. – In essence, I wouldn’t expose myself to the lives of others’ and I wouldn’t contribute to the collection of social media content on the big WWW either. – All I’d be doing is spending quiet heartfelt moments Skyping my family back home in the afternoon, engaging myself in meaningful personal conversations over Whatsapp at night and replying simple questions over Tumblr sent in by sweet sweet readers at night as well. Well I still need to let my family/ friends that I’m still alive and breathing… especially since I’m thousands of kilometres away and getting on with life on my own.
I planned a simplified life for myself, one with which I hoped to achieve a greater sense of self and identity.
Did it work? Yes.
This period of much needed recalibration assured me that I have an everlasting fire in my soul, flowers in my heart and stars in my hair… that life is surmountable with the right relationships in life; relationship with family, with a small group of friends – because that’s more than enough – and most importantly with myself.
Life was escaping me, or maybe I simply accidentally lost my way, but not anymore.
< Credits >
My social media boycott lasted for a week before I realised that social media did add value to my life, perhaps more than I gave it credit for. It kept me up to date with the lives of my precious friends and with news from all over the world, but most of all it fed my need for self-expression and to connect with like-minded people from thousands and thousands of kilometres away.
The little details in life seemed so amazingly magnified during the past week and I noticed so many things the buzz of life used to cause me to miss… but, I’ll leave this for another day. This post will suffice for today. I’m glad to have spent some time away and to have experienced all that I did, but I’m glad, too, that I’m back and that I’ll be able to share the small but significant joys in life which kept me smiling this past week.
“Never keep yourself alone. Keep talking to yourself. And you’ll start feeling better.” – Prerak Trivedi
I must say, I do enjoy living a quiet life in a noisy world.