If you know me personally (or have been reading my blogs for a while) you’ll know that I hate being alone. Not alone in the sense that I panic and think that I’ll be alone forever and never have anyone to come home to after work at night or cuddle after a long day, I mean in a more urgent, present sense.
I just don’t like it. If I want to sit in silence, I’d rather have someone there doing it with me. Even having the mere presence of someone next to me is both comforting and reassuring.
That’s why I talk to strangers. Honestly, it’s ridiculous. I’ll talk to people on the train, at the gym, in the queue at the coffee shop… in some ways I’ve made good friends this way, and in others, people get weirded out and all I’m trying to do is be friendly.
So naturally, being in a totally new country on the other end of the planet, the last week has been difficult for me.
The host family I’m living with live in a suburb just outside the city of Sydney, which means that though I am close enough to go into the CBD a couple of times a week to explore, there isn’t much that is immediately on my doorstep by ways of meeting new people and making friends, and it’s painful. My social skills are beginning to diminish, one smile and conversation at a time.
It upsets me that it takes almost an hour for me to be able to see one of my only friends out here in Australia, as she lives by Bondi Beach, and our days off don’t match up so well so it’s incredibly difficult to find a time that suits us both. It is frustrating that after 7pm pretty much everything in my neighbourhood is closed and therefore I can’t even sit in a coffee shop and strike up conversations with the barista or strangers… does this sound weird? I feel like it does… it’s not meant to.
On top of this, you don’t know sheer anguish until you’ve got something on your mind and want to talk to the ones you love and hold dear and they’re all asleep because they’re 9 hours behind you. Or if you’re awoken in the middle of the night because a family member is on the phone crying to you and you’re not only exhausted, but also feeling like the most useless person on the planet because you’re helpless and cannot do anything to help.
However, and there is a however, because you have to look at the positives of all situations you find yourself in, no?
Being alone could be beneficial. Coming to Australia was me giving myself a chance to focus on myself for once, and being forced into spending time alone could end up being a blessing in disguise.
I have time in the evenings I would have normally filled up with activities with other people- dinners; drinks; watching movies etc- which I now need to fill up with alternative things.
I have more time for reading, writing, watching films that I want to watch, and most of all, not running away from things that are worrying me.
Yep, I use being sociable and busy as a way to keep myself so occupied that anything I’m worried about or that is making me anxious can’t get a chance to be thought about therefore I don’t need to deal with it. Not the best coping mechanism, I know, but we live and we learn, right?
So, even in the last few days I’ve been able to identify and outline various parts of my personal life that I want to change, and how to go about doing it; I’ve addressed certain issues I’ve not had the courage to deal with before, and I’m finally allowing myself to grow as a person, and not rely on others so much.
I’ve always said I’m strong and independent, and laugh at how I don’t ‘need’ anyone to look after me, but the truth is, I always have. I crave company, and in doing so over the last few years, what with being ill and not knowing how to deal with negative thought patterns, I’ve prevented myself from becoming someone who I want to be. Someone who can be sociable, yes, but who can also spend time by herself and not be uncomfortable with it.
Hopefully over the next few months I’ll be able to meet some locals who I have things in common with, but for now, I’m trying to make the most of my alone time, and show myself some love.
Because sometimes, it’s okay to be by yourself.