I’ve wanted this for years, at least three now. I’ve imagined and reimagined this moment in my head for so long, in so many different variations, that finally being here is… Everything I thought it would be, and way more that I could imagine.
I finally am living on my own.
I’ve wanted to live on my own for quite a while now, initially with a friend, but later, on my own. I’ve come to realise that, up until I started living at my undergrad hostel, I’ve lived quite a privileged life, and had decent standards for food, shelter and lifestyle. I detested hostel food, I hated sharing a living space with another human in an area intended for one person, and I hated having my privacy taken away from me. ‘Hate‘ is a rather strong word, but as I lie down on my improvised ‘sofa’, I realise how much I disliked it, and with what intensity.
At home, there were pros and cons, as there are in all situations. I had privacy, I had a decent amount of freedom to do what I liked within the space of my own home, and I had a room big enough for two people, which I occasionally shared with my brother but which never felt like an intrusion into my private space. The cons, however, was the constant drama being generated by family members, to the point where I shut myself deep within myself, using this blog as a way to express feelings suppressed deep within me.
The degree to which I had suppressed myself came to my own notice in the presence of my brother. Growing up, we had the love-hate relationship most siblings with a short age gap tend to experience, involving a lot of fighting and boundary setting and boundary breaking. We were antagonistic during a significant period of our time together, but our separate life experiences taught me, as well as him, that there were healthy, effective ways to express our deep affection and consideration for each other that didn’t involve glaring at and bickering with each other.
Said brother and I drove down to the city I have moved to, and he noticed things I’d stopped noticing out of familiarity- the absence of the cheery, bubbly, talkative person I used to be. Having not seen me for a long time, and having not recently interacted with me as closely as we did in the past, he seemed to hold on to a previous version of me – the longest standing version of me, if I may, say so – who he no longer saw. I didn’t talk as much anymore, neither did I smile, unless directly engaged. The more I think about how I was, I can see why how I’ve become would surprise, even concern him – if the loud, fiery, brilliant sun turned into the quiet, calm, reticent moon, it would certainly be a cause for concern. And my transformation, at least to someone who hadn’t connected with me for a while, would have seemed as drastic.
I had to become who I am today for the simple reason that it became a lot easier to survive through the day being this person. It became easier to get through each day when I didn’t acutely experience every single emotion in the world. It became easier to live when I didn’t crave for happiness through people and situations, from kind words and bright smiles. Not being myself made my life easier for me.
But as I take stock of what I’ve lost and what I’ve gained, I’m not sure I want to go back to being who I was. Allowing others’ emotions to influence my own, being empathetic to everyone except myself, and loving to the point of burnout scares me a lot more than being lonely does, at this point, and loneliness must be the thickest root from which all my self-inflicted misery develops from.
For now, though, I’m going to enjoy the well-deserved alone time that I’ve been craving for, along with the life I always thought I’d love to lead. And I hope somewhere, in all of this, I will find the love and the happiness that I’ve missed all this time, in the place I wish to find it the most – within me.