You know who you are. It’s all fun and games calling yourself independent until you actually have to prove it. No amount of ‘self care days’ could have prepared the notorious promoters of self love for this one. I mean, let’s be honest – did that face mask and new set of acrylics honestly give you a new lease of autonomy? Or did it just provide a great excuse to tap your latest fluorescent claws on every surface within reach, calling yourself a ‘queen’ because Cardi B told you to. Don’t get me wrong, I know the benefits of treating yourself as much as the next person, a trip to the hairdressers can do wonders in temporarily inflating my superficial sense of self. However, we all know that true independence is much more than that.
After weeks, even just days away from your friends, that trusty playlist or 30 minute skincare routine just isn’t quite cutting it like it used to. And are you surprised? Nothing, no matter how many essential oils it claims to contain, can begin to replace the company of your beloved friends. But fear not, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Lockdown has pushed us all into a sealed room with nothing but our own thoughts floating around inside it. I’m definitely not a fan, but I can see how this could be the ultimate test of independence. Isolation has forced us to get to know ourselves again without the relentless external influences that life surrounds us with. For many of us, myself included, plenty of what you can analyse and over-analyse about your true, honest self can be far from pretty… I for one have realised that galavanting around Southeast Asia for months does not in fact make me unique or interesting, but probably does make me a borderline alcoholic.
Who am I really when there is no audience to perform to? Who am I when I’m at my best? At my worst? Who’s company makes me my happiest self?
This time should really remind us all of why being comfortable alone is so essential. Who am I really when there is no audience to perform to? Who am I when I’m at my best? At my worst? Who’s company makes me my happiest self? For those of you who aren’t sociopaths, there are very few legitimate opportunities in life to be genuinely selfish. Boris has made it illegal to see your mates, so instead of counting down the hours until your next poorly connected Zoom call to make laboured efforts to talk over your friends and mandatory jokes about your imminent mental breakdown, use this as a unique opportunity to put yourself first and become your own best friend… yes, I too am wincing over how cringe that sounds. But do try to have kinder conversations with your mind instead of having a go and reflect on the kind of things you want to prioritise when this shit show is over.
We’ve all seen it happen at least once, or maybe you’ve even done it yourself. A good friend gets into an unhealthy relationship and with the flip of switch, starts acting like a completely different person. And no, I don’t just mean that they ditch beer with the boys for paint-a-pot with their new squeeze, no matter how heartbreaking this may be to you. But they fundamentally try to change themselves to fit what their partner needs. They become whoever they need to become in order to make it work, sometimes changing to a scary extent. If you haven’t learnt to have a healthy relationship with yourself, then how on earth can you expect to have one with someone else? However romantic it may sound, I really don’t believe that anyone else should ever have to ‘complete’ you. You were complete already. Learning to become comfortable alone allows you to begin to love yourself first and then focus on only allowing relationships into your life which complement who you are as a person.
Let go of that dependence and take control of your life… even if you do need to get that new set of acrylics or trip to the barbers for a little superficial therapy to kickstart the process.