Recently, I spent two straight weeks at my boyfriend's apartment. Though the second closet I have at his place would suggest otherwise, we do not live together. We fell into a routine because we love each other, and when you love someone, you want to be with that person. That's normal, right?
At the end of each long and grueling workday in Manhattan, I always plan to go back to my place in Brooklyn. But my boyfriend and I start texting, and we decide that we miss each other too much and that I should just sleep over at his place in Manhattan.
As much as I love being together, I began to realize that part of my motivation for coming over night after night wasn't just love; it was fear. I was scared of going home and being ALONE.
I didn't want to be in my apartment by myself. I realized that I had forgotten how to entertain myself and enjoy my own company. I had lost the talent of being alone. It was frustrating, because I was once so great at being by myself. I had a penchant for being solitary. It was how I came to love writing in the first place.
I needed to go home and be by myself. I needed some serious "me time." So I trudged back to Brooklyn. I spent three beautiful nights blissfully alone in my apartment.
And I got so much sh*t done.
Sure, I was lonely and I missed my boyfriend, but there is something very liberating about considering yourself, your own needs and wants, and doing only things that make you happy and fulfilled.
If you don't spend serious quality time by yourself, you can't really process your thoughts; you just can't get in touch with yourself properly.
We humans are social beings. We're inclined to crave interaction. We aren't capable of drowning out the voices that surround us. The only way to make sense of your thoughts and feelings is to be alone.
“Me time” is the only way to reconcile with your independence.
As a very independent person, my greatest fear was losing myself in a relationship. While I truly believe that that isn't the case in my relationship now, I need to nurture my independence as much as I can. You need to feed your spirit; if you don't, you'll lose it.
I convinced myself that I shouldn't apologize for wanting to be with my boyfriend every night. I decided that I could be with him every single night. I could do whatever the f*ck I wanted. I was lost in a “we” when I desperately needed to focus on ME.
It's important to be a little selfish sometimes. It's OK to be alone. It's a lost art. We all need to embrace it a little bit more before we lose it forever to our overwhelming need for codependence.
We all need a little freedom.
Spending time alone allows you to revisit your long-lost feelings of freedom. Being in love is wonderful, but self-knowledge needs to be maintained. Cutting off your independence will end up stifling you.
I'm not saying you need to spend a certain amount of days apart or anything crazy like that. You just have to allow yourself some alone time so that you can stay sane.
It can be difficult. It's easy to fall into a routine of constant togetherness with your significant other. It can start to be scary. Being alone is an art that needs constant practice. But the more you do it, the more you cherish it.
Just remember, once you move in with your SO, that's it for being alone.
Just because you're in a relationship doesn't mean you have to be with that person all the time.
We all want to fall in love. We all want someone to hold us close and make us feel loved. And all of this is f*cking great. Seriously.
But what we all seem to forget is that just because we're coupled up doesn't mean we need to constantly be together.
You need to function as two independent people who love each other -- not as barely functioning unit. Relationships should build you up. They should make you stronger -- not a sniveling, codependent mess.
Being alone is not something you should hate; it isn't something to dread. It is something you should never take for granted. You are still your first priority, and your mental health relies on your taking time to reflect, relax and decompress.
Being alone is critical for your creativity.
At the same time that I started having marathon sleepovers with my boyfriend, I began to feel really creatively stunted. I was producing plenty, but I couldn't get inspired. I felt like a writing robot. I wasn't enjoying what I was doing.
I climbed into my big, cozy bed with my laptop and decided to get cracking on some writing. All of that creative drama -- the mental roadblocks that were f*cking my sh*t up -- just melted away. It was a beautiful thing.
I think it had a lot to do with the peaceful, uncomplicated and absolute stillness of being alone. There was no one in my ear, no one near me to distract my thoughts. I was completely and totally alone with my work.
You cannot create if your attention is in fifty different places. You need complete solitude. Your only company should be your thoughts and words. Creating means facing your demons, and you cannot confront those demons without taking off your social armor to face them, naked and vulnerable.
Even though it may seem terrifying, we flourish when we're lonely. The key to unlocking your soul is allowing yourself a small slice of alone time.
"Me time," I love you. And I'll never let your art be lost again.
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