As I move into another chapter of my life and fade out from the comfort I’ve cozied into for the last few years, I have come to realize that some hearts and minds care little for my company. Of course, this feeling is unpleasant but it’s also incredibly freeing.
For many years I felt responsible for the care of the surrounding collective. I believed that I was a temporary checkpoint for healing and refuge, after which those who stayed in my care would move on to the person or place that their new heart was built for. As an adult, I now realize I grew up nurturing a self-sacrificing, martyr wannabe complex. Only, as a poet and dedicated writer, this lifestyle felt normal – expected and character-defining, even. (Time to destroy the lone-genius & tortured writer myths).
Because of the habitual dependence I fostered, I exhausted myself completely. To the point that I wished to be removed from every aspect of the life I currently live. Perhaps wanting to completely disappear was a very obvious sign that I was not happy.
Strange, however, was that when I explained this feeling to others they accused me of being self-important. Often saying things like,
“I hate when you say this! It’s like you don’t think anyone else is important,”
“what about your friends and family? You care so little that you could just leave them behind?”
Another impressively popular comment that often came from this,
“you’re only 22. What have you ever done in this life that makes you think your disappearance would be that important to the world?”
In all the criticism, not a single person was able to reach the conclusion of, “how would disappearing benefit you.”
In brutal honesty, despite the connective nature of human beings, we do not belong to anyone. People leave all the time. People die just as often. Friendships change and end and everything moves forward. In fact, many of my friendships completely closed this year, making more space for me to grow closer with a few very special friends.
My friendship circle is smaller now and semblance surrounds me. However, arriving at this point was not the most enjoyable. I went through a lot of breakups with friends, lovers, and family. I spent weeks completely alone, sometimes startling myself with the sound of my own voice.
Within this silence, I revisited old loves, like fine art and writing. Enrolling in an adult art class, I forced myself to draw seriously for the first time in nearly 5 years. Both my instructors and peers were wildly impressed and this validation from strangers felt foreign, yet genuine when compared to others who lived closer to my heart.
So I developed myself more as an artist, then as a reader, and eventually returned to my home as a writer. Completing the first draft of a novel I’d been thinking about for years.
The result of spending all this time alone has led to the conclusion that I don’t want to belong to anyone else anymore. I love my chosen family dearly and will never truly leave them, but right now I realize that I had to let go of a great number of the people in my life to create room for growth.