This pandemic has taught me a lot about myself, like how much I miss people – but also, how much I like being alone. Turns out I’m a blast to hang out with. Just ask me.

This typically social butterfly is actually quite content in her cocoon, in frumpy clothes, doing whatever makes me happy in the moment, and on Saturday nights, being a comfortable chip-devouring caterpillar.

I confess that in the depths of the lockdowns, I enjoyed coming to work on Mondays, having colleagues ask me what I did on the weekend and saying “nothing much.” They would have the same response, because for more than a year, nobody else did anything much either. There has been zero pressure to have had an epic weekend for a really long time. This is my comfort zone.

But now that people are venturing out again, events are happening, celebrations are celebrated, and trips are being travelled, I’m back to feeling like I need to make up something wild and wonderful about my weekend, when my social life is at an all-time low. And I’m kind of okay with that. Sort of. Sometimes.

You see, as life slowly returns to our new normal, one important thing has changed for me, and it’s a game-changer: I will no longer apologize for how I spend my time.

This social butterfly needs to cocoon on a regular, yet unscheduled basis. It’s not anti-people. Okay, sometimes it’s anti-people, but it’s not personal. Okay, sometimes it is personal. Look, I want to be invited, but I’m still not likely going to show up if I’m feeling overwhelmed. This is about making self-care a priority. I reserve the right to determine my capacity for socializing.

I’m an all-or-nothing sort of energy. I am quite the extravert. I like people. I like to get out and mix in. I have missed social gatherings, seeing old friends and making new ones. I like to be a part of the community. Social butterfly.

But I’m an introspective introvert, too. I like to throw on pyjamas and stay inside. My best friends are fictional. Books count as self-development time. Turns out I’m worth the investment.

Either way, I won’t fake energy I don’t have to fill someone else’s agenda. Been there, done that. No more. No apologies, either.

I will continue to have conversations with myself, because I have a wealth of wisdom to share with myself and nobody knows me better. I’m also a great listener. A lot gets sorted in a conversation with myself. If I could just remember not to have those conversations out loud, it might cause less alarm when people see me talking to no one. But I am a someone, so everybody calm down.

This pandemic has shown the ugly underbelly of our society. I am often overwhelmed by the anger and aggression, all rooted in a fear that, if we are honest, we all share, whether we agree with vaccines or not. The divide has the same roots. And I can handle it. I will handle it. But I need breaks, often. I make no apologies for that.

I reserve the right to cocoon whenever I need to.

When you honour your own boundaries, you honour yourself so you can fly when ready, on your own terms. But first, chips.

WriteOut of Her Mind