The Musings of an Elective Orphan

Sarah Brandis

Don’t Burst my Bubble!

Live in a bubble

Ahhh, peaceful.

Sometimes I wish I could live in a bubble.  Oh okay, most of the time I wish I could live in a bubble.  I am only just now, at 33 years of age, beginning to accept myself as an introvert with a very low threshold for crowds and noise.  I haven’t always been this way.  Or at least I haven’t always allowed myself to be this way.  I honestly don’t know if I had previously been (A) in denial, or (B) have just suddenly gotten old.  I honestly don’t know which it is, or if it even matters at the end of the day.

Since beginning my coaching journey back in June I have been on a huge voyage of personal discovery.  I had previously studied Cognitive Neuroscience, had a fair bit of therapy (years), and published my story of childhood abuse and survival aged 32.  I thought I knew myself last year.  Now I think differently.

It feels like I am only now just waking up from a coma of self-denial.  Authentic me is awake, stretching, and brewing a fresh coffee.  Dun dun DUN!  But what will authentic me do next?  Well, I’m not going backwards.  I flat out refuse to force myself into the unpleasantness (personal opinion) of crowded, noisy places full of drunk people, or live with flatmates (been there, got too many t-shirts), or squish myself onto the tube at rush hour (please get your armpit out of my face).

Tony Stark

Tony Stark – he knows.

So I’m really not claiming to be Tony Stark/Iron Man, I certainly don’t have his budget (or facial hair, thankfully).  But I came across this Tony Stark coffee meme and I thought – aha!  Superheroes are usually mavericks who do things their own way, and have a nice quiet lab (or Fortress of Solitude, if you’re Superman) to do their work in.  And suddenly I felt less of a dork.  Well, for a minute or two.  I have so many projects going on, from my awesome day job to my own writing projects and my studies.  I need peace and quiet.  I crave peace and quiet.  I need a Bat Cave!

Alone time and freedomBut it’s not just about the quiet focus I need for my work.  Silence is golden for a more basic reason.  For many people it is restorative, and very necessary for health.  I include myself in this group of people.  Survivors of childhood abuse are believed to have higher resting levels of cortisol (the stress hormone), due to an over-active HPA axis (um, Google it if you want).  This makes us more sensitive to being over-crowded.

Uh-oh.  I almost went on a neuroscience-based rant about evidence there!  But then I realised what I would be doing.  I would be slipping back into old habits of finding evidence or justification for what I need.  My coaching journey has taught me many things – one of them being that I don’t need to excuse myself for having feelings and needs.

Well, it’s a work in progress.  I have realised that it’s okay to need what I need.  And I am working on feeling that I deserve to put my happiness first.  Once I master this, I might be ready for my Iron Man rocket boots!  Maybe…

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