When you are face to face with yourself on a deserted island and the daily noise is shut out, you learn a lot more about self-acceptance.
Why are you alone?
- Are you an introvert?
- You are a loser with no friends.
- You are lying, you are with someone.
- None of the above.
That was the constant question I got before, during and after my solo trip to the Seychelles. What was interesting to me were the reasons people made up as to why I found solace in being alone to enjoy my own company. Was it because I would lack entertainment or as someone else mentioned: how will time pass for me?
Time did pass and I enjoyed every moment of it and the thought of being alone on an island surrounded by honeymooners, families and empty nesters never crossed my mind.
The first thing I did upon arrival was taking off my watch. Time on this trip did not matter, unless of course it had something to do with not missing out on feeding hours (aka breakfast, lunch, and dinner). I made a conscious decision of choosing to be connected because I wanted to, even though I left my mobile in the room and limited to using it within my sea-view villa. As I lounged on my hammock, many thoughts crept into my mind of things back home, worries, concerns and insecurities. I didn’t even try to shut these negative thoughts out. I decided to hear myself out, something that for a very long time I had preferred to neglect. This time, how I felt was a priority and everything I ever thought of on this trip was to be acknowledged. I did not attempt to resolve these thoughts; far from that, I simply decided to acknowledge their existence in my head.
For starters, I noticed a few things: my thoughts turned darker closer to lunch time, and I was full of creativity right after breakfast. I liked to daydream after lunch and before dinner was the best time for writing. I also decided to stop criticising myself through voices of others and my own. I substituted it with a new attitude: OK, so what if I am what I am, maybe that’s who I am?
This: “Who I am”, developed into me not trying to change myself into a better version and easing up. Who I am became someone I have known for years and like a friend whom I accepted the faults of and got used to their peculiar ways, I gave myself that same courtesy I would give my friend.
I accepted myself. I accepted that I am weird, that certain things just light my world and that I am passionate, and how difficult I find to follow processes and procedures. I also accepted my views, that I can be contradictory at times and that deep down I am a romantic. I thought about how I love artistic experimentation and welcomed ideas such as experimenting with video logging and thinking of learning how to sing my own lyrics. I laughed with myself and shared secrets of how I really viewed people and things in my life. I did this without restraining myself to forcefully being positive and well-behaved in my thoughts. I let myself run loose in my thoughts on an island that echoed my wildness.
At the end of the trip, I was very much at ease with myself and who I was at that moment, and coming home I was no different than who I was going. All that changed was that I now accept myself and believe I am enough just the way I am.
Al Shamsi’s recently published book Alayah by Sail Publishinghas been awarded the support from Dubai Culture part of their printing and publishing movement “Reading in Arabic Challenge”.