It’s no secret that “About a Boy” is a favourite of mine, book and film. In both, Will talks about John Donne’s statement that “No man is an island” and argues with it, saying he can do perfectly well on his own, thank you very much. In the film, he famously and hilariously says: “I’m bloody Ibiza!”
Excuse the language, and of course we all know Will turns out to be wrong—he does in fact need other people, very much—but I think a valid point is made all the same.
Don’t be afraid to be an island every so often. Of course you will build bridges throughout your life, connect yourself to many other islands, and hopefully find that one other land mass that fits in perfectly with yours… of course you need that. We all do. Even the very introverted among us need to socialise and connect in some way, even if only for a short time with a few people.
I come from a large, loving family, and am a very affectionate person by nature. I need to be liked, and I need my friends around me for the good times and the bad. I think that’s true of most of us: it’s what makes us human. But that doesn’t mean we have to live through, for and because of other people. We might be social beings, but at the end of the day the only person who knows how you’re feeling and who wants exactly what you want is you.
The other day I came home from school crying because of nasty things someone had said behind my back… and to my face. Sadly this was not as rare as I’d like.
After several cups of tea and some serious comfort eating, it struck me that a huge part of my life has been consumed by other people of late. I have spent an important year of my schooling—an exam year, no less—either being worried about others, or upset about the way people have treated me.
Don’t get me wrong: I have a lovely group of friends, and my family is the best. I know that I am loved and I know there are people who would do absolutely anything for me. For the most part, others are extremely kind, warm and friendly toward me. I’m extremely lucky and I know that.
But I’m sure you’ve been here before: it only takes one or two bad things to make you forget the good.
I’m not one to compartmentalise. If I’m feeling something, it completely takes over and I feel it with every
single bit of me. That’s usually a good thing: passion, energy and love go into all that I do. But it also means if I’m feeling down or upset—which thankfully is only some of the time—I can’t concentrate on anything properly.
My grades have suffered because of this, and I’m a bit angry at myself for letting that happen. Nothing drastic has happened, my prospects are not totally damaged, but all my focus on others has made me forget about myself and my life, and my studies which are so important.
So for the next little while, as I prepare for my exams, my new adult life, and my new website (yes I did just plug that in the middle of an intensely personal post…), I’m going to try a little bit of “Island Living”.
I need to sort out the Catherine Ann Island before I can voyage to anyone else’s. It’s become a bit damaged recently, so I need to clear away the landfills, tarmac over some potholes and plant some lush new trees.
I’ll keep my bridges, certainly. I’ll travel over to my friends’ islands and I’ll cross the border and join my family on our vast, wonderful continent… but for the most part, I’m just going to be me for a while.
Because you know what? Sometimes, I can do all right on my own.