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).
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!
But 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…