How do you guys know when summer is over?
For me Nottinghill Carnival on August bank holiday weekend marks the start of a transition. Usually by this point I’d have made use of my pre-summer purchases, seen the people I said I would catch up with, at least started on a few projects and repaired the damage done to my bank account during the academic year.
Whether I’ve achieved these things or not, once the madness of carnival and the extra lit weekend comes to top off what is usually a wild and very extra summer, I start thinking about how to keep the good vibes into the (arguably) slower and colder months.
I’ve been thinking a lot more about balance and what I need to do to achieve my goals. One thing I’ve been focussing on a lot is my time and the way I view myself. Finding the balance between fulfilling my friendship and familial roles and the expectations I have for myself…I really feel like this season might have to be a season of selfishness and getting to know myself and cultivating the three parts of ‘me’.
- A separate ‘me’
It seems almost too easy to become like someone… From make-up to clothes to generally creating an online persona. Who you are can very easily be swayed. Going to university showed me how much I need to have my separate “me”. That part of yourself only you know… Not necessarily a dark alter ego, but your weird and quirky self that is sensitive or messy… vulnerable or a prick. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then you might need to spend some more time alone.
I’m almost certain we all have that part of ourselves and it is that part that can get hidden and lost very easily. This isn’t to mean it’s irrelevant. This part is essential to build from … This raw part’s reactions to things show us who we really are… Sometimes it needs editing, patterning, and to do some unlearning but you won’t know what needs to be done until you really know what is there.
- A me that loves me
The term self-love is everywhere these days… But its prevalence by no means represents the ease of acquiring it. Just because you are a generally or outwardly confident and self-assured person, it does not mean you have accepted all parts of yourself (be it physically, mentally, spiritually or otherwise). It takes a lot of courage say you actively love and admire the parts of you that no-one else cares for… I’m not saying your tendencies to manipulate people (for example) should be accepted wholeheartedly… just that maybe it’s time to stop demonising yourself for it and should learn to accept that that part of you needs attention.
It is radical as it requires us to assign the same time and attention we give to our significant others to ourselves. I would argue that the majority of us need people to some capacity and know how to appreciate those we have around us. However, less of us know how to appreciate ourselves. When we feel our mental health deteriorating or start feeling more tired than usual, instead of taking the time to be ‘selfish’ and figure it out, we continue to sacrifice ourselves within our busy schedules, timetables and promises to others. God forbid if we let our family down… meanwhile, we are (sometimes knowingly) letting ourselves down…
This season I want to learn to love myself properly and pay attention to the parts that need to be worked on or unlearned.
- A me that lives for me
We came into this world alone. We will to some extent probably die alone. So why do we make so many sacrifices and take up so much time living for others?
Simply because, whilst we do those first two things alone, we don’t raise ourselves or grow alone. As we walk through life we accumulate a debt in the form of social contracts often unwritten and at times lacking in some quid pro quo. Those who argue against more individualism fear the reduction of the pro bono stuff humans do. This is a valid fear. However, whilst I believe life is too hard to do alone, it is also too hard to carry everyone else beyond reasonable means and reduce your sanity, peace of mind or imbalance your chakras because someone who is toxic or abusive used to babysit you. Family is family… but you’re also not invincible. If someone is sabotaging your peace, you need to figure out a way that you can be there for them without losing yourself, otherwise you won’t last.
Entering a new season is conflicting and at times painful, but I strongly believe a season of selfishness wouldn’t hurt this autumn.
By Mukosa Tengenesha