In Good Company
I jokingly asked a friend recently if they were the weird kid at school, and he said ‘Well yes, but isn’t everybody. Nobody feels like they fit in at school.’ Perhaps this is true. As a child, I didn’t really know or care if I was the weird kid, but I certainly had a few imaginary friends. In fact, I would sometimes walk around my garden, circumnavigating my house, just telling myself stories. I had entire kingdoms, dynasties, coups, love affairs. I asked my parents recently if they worried about this monologuing at the time, and they said no, they knew I was just doing my thing.
I carried over this story-telling to my toys – not Barbie (meh) but Playmobil. While others were building castles, forts or conveyor belts with Lego, I had an the 1990s version of Downton Abbey being played out with my Playmobil Victorian home sets. My sagas were rather involved, and usually involved inter-class romance. But through all of these adventures, I was perfectly happy in my own company. Not a loner nor alone, as much as entertained by my own company. Why seek other forms of entertainment when you’re contented with what you currently have (plus clearly my stories were better than what was playing on TV).
And largely, Ive carried this enjoyment of my own company and space through into adultdom. One of the reasons I wanted to live alone after flatting was to have a place in the world that was mine, free from interruptions, noise and emotions weren’t of my own making.
But lately, I’ve been avoiding hanging out with me. Like the friend who you don’t really want to go to the movies with, I’ve been finding excuses, finding other friends, even cleaning, all to avoid an awkward silence should I be force to hang out in my own company again. I don’t mean I’ve been down or depressed, or even lacking in taking good care of myself in other ways (Im a recent convert of walking/running to work – it’s the best thing ever. I glow with sweat and virtuousness). I just havent been hanging out with me.
Like smelling smoke that’s gliding in from another room, it’s taken me a while to realise that I was avoiding me. By Christmas, I knew I wasn’t #writing and was ignoring that. A friend, an amateur photographer, told me who he had 10,000 photos from a recent trip to edit. I half joked that I didn’t have 10,000 words ‘but they’re all in your head’ he said. Maybe they were there, but nothing was coming to mind when I thought about writing, only that I wasn’t doing it.
In January, I had this day were nothing could console me, until a good friend said ‘are you writing? If you’re a creative person and not doing that #creativity, you will become unhappy.’ And another sign that something wasn’t being listened to was although I was avoiding writing consciously, I was writing this post, about how I wasn’t writing, over and over. Words would creep in at the quiet moments when I was waiting for the traffic light to go green, when I was walking to the gym; little snippets of creativity wanting a place to settle.
I read this post today about being comfortable with being uncomfortable, because that’s when the insight comes. The author writes that ‘When we allow ourselves a moment of pause within discomfort, we can give ourselves the opportunity to stretch and grow as people in a way we didn’t anticipate.
So I’ve after ignoring my own calls, finding other things to do than work out why I wasn’t writing, I finally started to enjoy a bit of quality time with me again, and in doing that, this post finally got from scrapes of thought in my head, into words on the page.