Notes from the Wastelands: On Hermits & Resilience

Have you every been at that point in your life where you stop and berate yourself for missing your old self? That self who was unafraid to take chances, go out and mingle, step up to the plate and bat the bejeezers out of any opportunity? Social distancing and isolation have truly and unequivocally screwed with my mind but it has been a time to retreat inward and take stock of my goals and ambitions. Some years ago I wrote an entry about wants and needs, and I recently revisited the concept. Interesting how much has changed in four years for me in terms of needs and I suppose hitting rock bottom in every sense of the word does that to you.

I don’t miss too much of my past personas because they seem to have merged into the woman I am today evolving from a prickly hedgehog to a FrogDiva and then some. Fundamentally, I miss the gregarious social butterfly who was constantly surrounded by people and engaging in numerous activities – out on the road for several hours, attending this that or the other. People who knew me then and see me now often have trouble reconciling the recluse I have become, and believe me when I say, so do I.

Faith and Courage have never left me, my two unwavering pillars of the soul. But Resilience has joined the party and is here to make a difference. Again. After a very enlightening therapy session two weeks ago, I decided that it was high time to bid adieu to my hermit life. Last night, for the very first time in 18 months, I met a friend for dinner at a restaurant and had a lovely time – albeit mentally cancelling the appointment at least 25 times. The fear and horror of stepping out of my home and comfort zone are still there, and I struggle with anxiety the closer the appointment approaches, but I have to start somewhere. I’m not at the point where this could be diagnosed as agoraphobia, although I have always been petrified of crowds and large gatherings (hence my inability to ever partake in a concert or sit in a stadium), but more often than not I wonder whether I am being my own worst enemy.

I promised my therapist that I would put in more effort to engaging in social activity beyond the realms of virtual reality and last night was a game changer. It horrifies me to contemplate how different I am now, but it really felt good to be back on the saddle. I was unfortunately seated at a table where I couldn’t ogle too much, but I still had some interesting characters to observe in the neighbouring tables. This is Berlin after all, so you are guaranteed to be surrounded by at least three languages especially if you choose to eat at a rather seedy looking place.

The train ride on the way home was a welcome breather. I loved the anonymity blanketed by a dark rainy night, giving myself a mental pat on the back embracing resilience. Then I remembered the three videos earmarked for a blog like this one:

The best part of the night? Getting off at my train station and standing under my umbrella (cue Rihanna please ) and taking a photograph. Perhaps I should have been in a hurry to get home and make a dash for the loo, but the need to indulge my soul under a streetlamp and find myself again superseded everything else.

Soul Nights ©FrogDiva Photography

It’s still raining, the swans have passed by, I have Sia blasting in the background. Yes. I can feel the hermit self making a move to leave.

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