Introversion vs the Extrovert. Often we use these words to describe our personalities. But something I have learnt over the last month is that there is major overlap. I do agree that we all have a a way of life, a way of being amongst others and of being alone. But there is definitely space, a lacuna within ourselves that can be filled with experience of the opposite of who we are.
Coming home to Franschhoek after working in Pietermaritzburg, where I was surrounded by an abundance of beautiful friends and social experience on a daily basis has taught me so much. The value of time spent alone, expanding in the experience of yourself is massive. Finding joy within an unshared experience is beautiful.
Along with the benefit of being comfortable without a surrounding assembly, comes self-exploration and learning tons of cool shit. Books and knowledge become fascinating company, new skills and untuned Ukuleles transform into a social compass. A moment of silence with a burning scented candle transforms into the allure of a unsolicited smile from the pretty girl across the room. Music transforms the silence into a space where you can belt out all your emotions, all of your feelings. It becomes the sincere friend who is willing to listen to your days happenings. The growing plants and fresh smell of wet compost speak as loudly as the mildly intoxicated friend who really wants to tell you about the irresistible allure of the cute girl at the bar.
Being alone. Being independent of nothing but your own perspective is massively powerful. With all of this said I do still realise my ignorance to the real struggle of loneliness. It is so easy for me to share my experience, but I do so with the certainty of an incredible and unthinkably supportive mother who resides closely outside my bedroom door. I do so with indubitable love from a family of friends, a community of people who I love as closely as my own family.
As I write this I am aware of the strange butterflies in my stomach as I wait for a message from someone special, I am aware of the smile on my face following an uncertain but somewhat enchanting and alluring conversation with a stranger on social media. I am so aware of the power and importance of my social interactions, and for no moment would I ever be able to give it up. I love people. I love my incredible community. I love to be surrounded by the beautiful uniqueness of individuals and their stories. But now I am also learning to love the silence, the unique empowering feeling that comes from true happiness in solitude.
As a disclaimer I am not posting this as a Corona Virus warning of isolation. But if it does get to that point, at least I know that some alone time will be well spent. As long as I have enough toilet paper.