Six years ago, I decided to leave my entire life. My partner of four years had broken my heart, I was in a state of disillusionment and I didn’t know who I was anymore. Thinking back, I had never found out who I was. For some people, they live with their families, then after that, they live with their partners, and they become the person their family sees, and their partner wants. I suppose, for some, this is enough, being categorised into a race/faith/status group, and then being with someone from the same background. Then, you have children, and that’s what they are – stuck in the same place you were. Growing up with the same traditions/foods/thoughts.
When I came here, of course, I made friends, and then I made more friends. I didn’t lose the friends I had, I just made more, and allowed them to open up my world. It took years before I knew me enough to get into a relationship, and my world opened up even more. New people, new foods, a different language, and a whole new culture. Within the relationship, my life grew even more. Somewhere along the way, I discovered yoga, and it was another step in becoming who I am going to become. In the relationship, I changed from becoming a raging alcohol drinker to becoming someone who only drinks at weddings and birthdays. The thing is, by that time, I had become enough of my own person to continue changing without having to make it drastic. I realised that when I actually took some time to go to yoga on a Saturday morning, or read a book while he was doing his thing, it allowed me to be more available, not just to him, but to both our friends and families.
Some women go through life defined by becoming things – daughter, wife, mother, just like my mother. When my father left, she was just so devastated. She had envisioned a future where her house would always be full their younger siblings, relatives and friends, she had bought a bungalow in the suburbs, and she was going to be the next matron after my grandmother passed. When he left, she had to rebuild her future and rebuild her vision of life. She had to find out who she was.
It took me years to get acquainted with myself, and I am still doing that. However, I didn’t really start until I braved the emptiness. That was the starting point, four years ago, when I started spending more evenings on my own watching less TV, and just enjoying silence. Family and friends are great, but they do have their own views about things, and although well-meaning, the views they impose on you are theirs. They are not yours.
Being completely alone is hard, it gets lonely. But from this place of complete silence, you start facing your past, your hurts, your anger, and you learn so much about who you are on your own, separate from everything and everyone else. It helps when friends and family can just let go for a bit, and not always ask you to do things. I think as a friend or a relative, it’s hard to leave someone on their own because you just want them to be happy, but some journeys, people just need to go through alone. And sometimes, you need to pull away so that they can become all they can be.
Sometimes, the question “what do I want?” is not really the right question. Sometimes, the right question is “who am I?” So ask yourself, when you are not with your family and friends, when the TV and radio are off, when you’ve just stopped looking for distractions, and you are just lying on the couch in silence, who are you? Sometimes, you just need to step into the confusion of your brain to start finding clarity. All it takes is some courage.