Operation Hermit

I saw this meme on Facebook the other day and thought about how perfect it was for how I am feeling lately. Hermit Meme

I may not be hermiting (yes, I made it a verb) in the truest sense of the word, as I can't seem to stay away from the mall and/or Anthropologie when it is "Extra 25% off" day, but I am spending a lot of my time by myself, with myself and on myself. Or with my family or my dog.

Most people who meet me think that I am an extrovert. The life of the party, the loud, obnoxious one, the social butterfly. I am not going to lie, I love a room full of people. Conversations buzzing, laughter erupting, everyone connecting and sharing and coming together.  That kind of energy is wonderful and contagious and I get caught up in it and I usually come down with an acute case of extrovertedness at these times.  Promises of "we should do this more often" are made and "let's go for coffee" is said more times than I can count. And then I go home, take some Advil, have a good rest and after a few days of social media love bombs back and forth to everyone, am fully recovered from said attack. I return to my hermit cave (real or virtual) and retreat into myself and my little life and I feel safe. I feel unencumbered, happy to just be folding laundry or reading a book or playing Candy Crush, or doing all the mundane little things that make up my daily life.

My first assignment for the Year or Writing course that I am taking was to write down 20 ideas. It's harder than it sounds, trust me! One of my ideas for an essay or post or poem or something, was this statement:

Alone is freeing.

Maybe it is because I am a mom and being truly alone is often times a luxury. Maybe it is because I come from a family of four kids and I didn't grow up knowing a lot of alone time. And maybe alone is a way to not have to deal with a lot of the often nasty, mean, and bewildering world around me. Whatever the reason, I find being alone, with my thoughts, or with no thoughts, a very peaceful, soul {re}filling, calming way to be. When I am alone, I feel free. Free to figure out what going on in my head and in my heart and free of all the things in life that sometimes weigh me down.

My favourite moment in my days right now is right after I drop the kids off at school. I then head to the dog park with Willow and at that time of day, we are often the first ones there. It is an especially peaceful place right now, in the middle of winter; white and grey, somewhat bleak, not a soul in sight and all I hear is the crunching of my boots on the trail, the running of four legs zipping by me at top speed, and the intermittent knock-knock-knocking of the local woodpecker trying to find his breakfast. I find myself breathing deeper, walking taller and appreciating this space and time away from everything and everyone more and more every day.  I like to think of it as my daily moment of meditation. Me, Mother Nature and my puppy, all together in that moment and yet all alone.

It's not that I don't want to see my friends or be around people. Quite the opposite really, I love being around people. I just like being around people and pretending that I am doing so enclosed in some kind of bubble. I can see and hear everyone around me, but I don't necessarily have to interact with anyone. I can immerse myself in my book or my laptop or in eavesdropping on strangers conversations, while still feeling like I am part of the world. I do this bubble thing a lot. I think it is probably a bit of a coping mechanism. I can truly enjoy a trip to a busy mall or to Costco or the grocery store with two kids in tow, because I enclose all of us in the bubble and continue on like no one else is around and we have the place all to ourselves. I liken this bubble strategy to that scene in a movie when a couple falls in love or has a big dance/kissing scene and everything and everyone else just fades away and the music swells and nothing else matters. If you ever see me out and about and I am in "the bubble", I probably won't see you until you come up really close and actually pop it. I will then be a bit disoriented and likely forget your name and say something particularly stupid and incoherent and then walk away from you while you try to figure out why I am being such a bitch? It's not you, I promise, it's just me readjusting to the sudden shift in air pressure outside of my hermit-bubble. It takes a few minutes...  Expect a text later with an apology for my flightiness. 

Last week I had lunch with a friend that I haven't seen in a long time. It was nice. She is a really wonderful woman, someone I admire and a truly gifted artist. It's sometimes funny how life works. People come into your life when you need them the most and I didn't know it at the time, but I really needed to spend some time with this person. I feel like she gets me on a different level than my other (younger) friends. We talked about this "hermit-ness" that both of us sometimes do and decided that we needed to have a club for all of us "Closet Introverts". After lunch, as I thought about this a bit more, I realized the irony of this plan.

Here's the thing. I know who my friends are. I know that no one is sitting around saying, "Damn, that Natasha is sure being a bitch for not calling me or making an effort lately!". I know that if anyone IS thinking that, then they are likely not really my friend. My friends know that I need to be a hermit now and then in order to get my brain to work properly. My friends know that a true connection is not based on the amount of hours spent together. Like anything really meaningful in life, I firmly believe that friendship is a quality versus quantity thing.

So you know what Internet Meme, NO, I am NOT being a bad friend lately, I am being a really GOOD friend to myself. I am giving myself what I need to live a wholehearted life and what I need right now is to be a really AWESOME hermit! And I thank every one of my true friends for letting me do that and for never judging me for it.

In gratitude,


P.S.  (Update) Look what I found tonight! I do love that Audrey Hepburn gal.