I’m good because I value my solitude and time to create.

Lyndsey Ellis - PEERS - Im Good Blog

Lyndsey Ellis – PEERS Programs Coordinator

Before there were in-demand TV shows like Insecure, based off the popular Awkward Black Girl web series (big ups to Issa Rae!), I grew up as one of those little girls who read books to my Cabbage Patch dolls and Barbies. First, I’d pretend to be their stylist: I’d wash and curl their hair while watching a movie or cartoon, re-dress them, and then line my “customers” up for the grand finale: a good story. And, when I started getting really adventurous, I wrote my own stories to read to the dolls.

For me, it was a fascinating way to both learn and pass the time. I didn’t consider it lonely, or pathetic, or disturbing. I had no siblings and simply found ways to entertain myself when I couldn’t spend time with my parents, cousins, or neighborhood friends.

All this changed by the time I entered middle school. Puberty kicked in and I’d outgrown my dolls. Reading and writing was still a comfort but I’d learned to keep that part of me hidden because it didn’t seem cool enough to openly pursue. Instead, I became like most pre-teens around me—obsessed with boys, clothes, and house parties.

The high-strung social life followed me through high school and most of college. Surprisingly, I’d been able to pull off decent grades through the journey, but I’d grown into a person who didn’t feel comfortable being alone with her own thoughts. I always needed people around me, as if their presence and actions validated me.

Even worse, I wasn’t selective about the company I kept. I became so desperate to be liked that I stopped caring if those in my circle even shared my values or had my best interests at heart. Without acquaintances or a boyfriend within arms’ length, I’d come to believe I was just a nobody – a person who wasn’t adding up to the daily social pressures it took to be what I perceived as successful.

It wasn’t until my senior year in college that I started re-evaluating my life choices and how I’d been led off my path as a social introvert. I didn’t change overnight, and there have certainly been hiccups and imbalances up until present day. But, after several life lessons and meaningful experiences, I feel like I’m in the mental space where I happily embrace solitude again. I enjoy an active social life, but know when I need time to re-charge, reflect and/or work on creative projects on my own, without feeling lonely or guilty.

And, the best part about it? I’m not alone in wanting alone time or recognizing the benefits. Here’s some resources on why spending time alone is good for you:

7 Amazing Things That Happen When You Spend Time Alone (Entreprenuer)

15 Reasons Why You Should Spend More Time With Yourself (Elite Daily)

4 Lessons I’ve Learned as an Introverted Black Girl (Huffington Post)

 

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