Friday, 1 July 2016

JUNE : SOLITUDE




We spend our lives staring at screens as we become more dependant on computers, tablets and mobiles to get us through the day. When it comes to nightfall and our work is done, inboxes are cleared, and we can finally wind down and switch off; we turn to our screens in a bid to stay connected and distracted. 
In fact, it seems that anytime we find ourselves alone we turn to our phones. If you are ever sitting in a public area (like a bus stop) you'll notice that each head is buried behind a phone. So why is it that in a world where we are more connected than ever, are we becoming detatched from the physical world around us, people who surround us, and more importantly, ourselves?



In my darkest nights gone by, I felt a crippling loneliness which terrified me. Each day as the sun began to set, I would search for an excuse to be social - head to bars, skype until all hours, or host last minute sleepovers. Anything so that I didn't have to be alone with my own thoughts.
But it wasn't just after-dark when I was seeking a boon companion, I was filling every hour of my diary with dates, meetings and distractions.


I understand now why I was so unhappy in my own company, but I wish I had known the importance of solitude when I needed it most. Distracting yourself with endless scrolling through social media, or socialising for the sake of it (because, fomo?) can be holding you back from understanding yourself, and learning important lessons about who you truly are. It sounds super cheesy, and all soul-searchy and stuff - but hear me out.

How many times have you heard about getting off the grid and ditching your devices for the good of your mind? Well, I was constantly reading about it, and talking with pals who do it on the reg. It seemed like a pretty simple and basic task - just turn your phone off and chill out in the real world, but it was much harder to get disconnected than I could of imagined. I would turn my phone off, but then start scrolling through a tablet without even realising my rookie mistake - but it is an addiction that we all seem to suffer from.
I managed to cut down on social media greatly - I stopped posting regularly and the routine of flicking from one platform to the next, and back again was ceasing, and it was becoming painfully clear that I just wasn't in need of any of it. Don't get me wrong, I found a new distraction in the form of Suduko, but atleast that counts as brain exercise, right? I was spending my time hanging out with my family, working on projects and collaborating with other artists, but also taking chunks of my day aside for some down time. I was less distracted from my days, and more focused on my thoughts and goals.


This month has been one where I have been practicing self-care, meditating and reflecting more than ever by taking atleast a few hours to myself each day. This hasn't always resulted in me sitting on a mat repeating matras whilst reaching inner peace - instead it has been simple ideas such as leaving my phone at home and going a long walk, stopping every so often to take in scenery or to sit alone, or even just as simple as taking the evening to pamper myself. Sometimes I have taken to writing lists about my aspirations as an artist, friend and daughter (okay so this one might sound weird to people, but again, hear me out). Sometimes I find that I can learn more about whats going on in my brain by writing aimlessly, or compiling lists. As I write this blogpost I am referencing bits and bobs that I have written down - there were plenty of little enlightenments had.
I found that rather than being bored shitless, or embarrassed to be a member of one without a phone to hide behind - I was schooling myself on stuff that actually mattered to me. The barrier that once stood tall between the person that I was as others percieved me to be, and the genuine article was crumbling. Here are some of the important lessons I learned:
  • Being alone allows you to let your freak flag fly. You can eat what you want, do what you want and be where you want, how you want. You have ultimate control, and nobody else's concerns to worry about. Being selfish is fun and important. You can't be let down, and best of all you can't let anyone else down. At the start of the month I travelled to London for work and when I arrived I had an entire day in the city to do as I pleased. If I had travelled with a friend I would of felt obligated to go places and make the most of the trip - but I was riding solo, so I was able to call into M&S, pick up a tonne of food and a big bottle of bubble bath. When I got back to the hotel I climbed into a the tub, scoffed my face whilst watching dodgy tele, did a little bit of work, and was out for the count by 8. It was the perfect trip.
  • It is natural that we all want to be liked others, (because who wants haters?) but as you spend time in solitude, you find yourself seeking other's approval less and less, and you become happier in your own skin and begin accepting yourself more. Older people have really got this stuff down, and they seem much more free and happier because of it. If you aren't constantly seeking for validation, then you are more likely to act and think in a way that makes you feel more content! Learning about what you think of yourself is going to be a better exercise than learning about what other people think of you - because at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter.
  • There are good days - walking around, blood is pumping through your body, you feel invincible : no bitches can hold you down. Your creativity and productivity is off the charts, you are a flippin' inspiration to yourself. The world is more beautiful, and you take a few more seconds to breath in the good bits of each day. 
  • There are bad days - no one could ever hate you more than you do. Nothing goes right, and you crash and burn. But it's okay because nobody is witness and you can unleash the bitch beast inside of you.
  • You learn that no one really cares about that thing that you do. That small habit of biting your nails (or whatever that small thing you like to tend to down over is)- it doesn't matter, even though you can built it up to at times. It's such a tiny insignificant speck of what makes you up. 
  • You learn that no one really cares about that thing that you do. Your talent isn't going to be life changing to everyone. You learn to disregard your abilities and push harder to better yourself, even though no one cares, because you do. It brings a freedom that allows you to dive head first into doing something that would normally scare you because of what others might think; like singing in public/on a recording.

At the end of the day, you can choose to be your own best friend, or your own worst enemy. However, when you learn to love yourself and bet on yourself - that's when you stop relying on the validation and love from others and ultimately you can live a happier life. I mean, when you choose to be your own buddy, you're technically never really alone, right?

2 comments:

Laura said...

I loved reading this post because I can relate so much to it.
When I first moved to a different city to go to University, I had no one there.
I was so used to always have people around me that it was such a hard time to
go to classes alone, organize your day without other people or just exploring the new
city without anyone. It took some time to make real friends here and even though I can now say
that I have accomplished this goal, the time I had with myself was such a good lesson for life.
I realized that I had been so dependent on other people because I never expected that I could
do anything alone. I was very afraid of it. In the new city I had to do it and it helped me to understand
that I can trust myself and that me and myself could be very good friends, too. I am now so much more independent from other people because even though I love to do amazing things with my friends, I also know that I am at least capable to do them on my own as well.
Also the pictures you've included here are great. I really enjoy reading your blog.

Laura (la-ailurophile.blogspot.de)

megancaitlindallat said...

Agh Laura,
Thanks for sharing your story. I can totally relate to the whole moving away for university and being totally on your own. I did the same for my first year of uni, but again I think it made me come to the same realization that I actually can go and do things alone. It definitely opened so many more doors for me as I wasn't afraid to visit gallerys or exhibitions alone, and now I pretty much only do them alone.

Thanks for being such a sweetie! I must check out your blog tonight with a cuppa (: xx

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