Mental Health

The Art of Self Isolation: Why I Don’t Bother with People

A significant chapter in my personal journey is about reflection, as many other personal journeys are. I’ve sat down and spent precious time in deep thought, trying to understand what kind of person I am, or what kind of person I have to become. I don’t have a definite answer, and I don’t expect to come across one anytime soon. But, if I’ve learned anything about myself, it’s that while my self-growth is linear, my personality is not.

I have days where I dream to be the bold, powerful female archetype  —  the Queen Bee who can simply command a room’s attention with her very presence and be about her business. On other days, I would rather be or feel like the side character in my very own narrative, having no dominance or control whatsoever, and being easily swayed by whatever is going on.

I’ve assured myself that no matter which way I choose to go, I’ll still feel accomplished regardless. Because after all, it’s more about what you do than how you do it. My goal is to spark a change, but I refuse to sell my soul and not stay true to myself while doing it.

If there is anything I desire to be without change, it is to be real. I’m built from an elaborate fabric that a seamstress made with care and consideration, but I do have some tatters because I came from struggle. I can’t pretend that everything comes easy to me and that I’m always motivated to carry things out.

At the very top of the list is maintaining relationships because of past experiences. Time and time again people have shown me that I’m better off on my own than trying to stick around a group of people who don’t care about me. I used to try to make an effort by showing people that I cared  —  I attended their parties, I told them that they mattered, I gave advice, I listened to problems and most importantly, I offered myself. After a while, it became a chore due to a lack of reciprocation. Hanging out in a group of people caused me to feel empty and I wasn’t getting a thing out of it. I was alone.

We wear the mask that grins and lies,
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes
—  Paul Laurence Dunbar

On my own, I felt more fulfilled than ever. I was less stressed out and I avoided the pointless drama that was beneath me to begin with. I was happier for once. I had to learn to deal with myself before I could deal with anyone else. Being alone doesn’t necessarily make you lonely, it’s really about the time you spend with yourself that makes such a huge difference.

I still find it hard to open up about who I am since it seems like sometimes I’m the only one who will bother to listen. Yes, isolation is a coping mechanism that is often used due to traumatic experiences, but who am I to say something wonderful can’t be born because of it?

Being alone should be normalized  —  we need to get rid of the stigma that is associated with being by yourself. Once I stopped needing everyone, I began to realize that needing myself and myself only was the most beneficial to my environment, rather than waste myself away wanting to be wanted all of the time.

No one person should be putting in 100% effort to maintain relationships when the effort should be split 50/50. People who genuinely want you to be happy will make sure that you aren’t left on your own. If someone is worthy of your time, they’ll rely on actions rather than words. Otherwise, time spent in solitude is time well spent.

As for me, almost every article, poem, or essay I have written has been created through the comfort of isolation. I used to believe that it was dangerous to be left alone with my thoughts because they would eventually haunt me. However, I learned that leaving myself to my thoughts was a way to make peace with myself and let my creative juices flow and give my imagination some freedom. With isolation comes clarity, comfort and independence.

by NeptunesNegress

Maryam Azeeza Muhammad is a journalism student and poet currently enrolled at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She writes pieces about various topics, some of which include personal essays, music, wellness, and culture. Maryam considers herself to be a generational curse-breaker who wants to change the way Black women and girls are perceived in the world through her writing.


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