I spend a lot of time in my own mind. Hours, days, weeks amassed, looking at the sky or the ceiling, trying to piece together my insides. I have a very logical approach to emotions I think. I try and map it out, organise it. Rearranging, trying things on for size, annotating and collecting. I changed my instagram bio recently to, I am a historian of my own life. It’s more apt than I realised.
I think the only way we can know another is if we know ourselves first. Why should someone else have to go to all the effort of making sense to the coterie of thoughts and emotions and wants and needs that we are, if we haven’t first done it ourselves. We’re not an archaelogical dig, waiting for someone else to be the first to unearth us, discover us. We are a museum, a gallery. And I have delicately pieced together myself, I stand proud by my discovery.
I recently was in love. It’s a love we have decided not to progress. And part of me wants to pull apart the entire tapestry of our four months together, decide what errant thread led to the disarray. Find where it went wrong. But CS Lewis once said, “to know what would have happened, child? No, nobody is ever told that.” And I am choosing to agree. The first word out of my mouth today was, “don’t.” It broke the silence in which my mind was spiralling. To focus on the what ifs and the whys will only break a heart and confuse a soul, with nothing to be gained and everything to be lost. Instead I choose to delight in what was. I fell in love.
I had stood proudly in the museum of myself. I was thrilled to show someone my discoveries, telling the tales of what had gone into the work. Here is where I came to love myself. There is were I decided that courage is staying soft. This moment is where I realised I was ready to share my life with another. To know oneself is to stand in a room surrounded by your hard work and be proud of what you see.
And it is also to understand that your room and your gallery and your museum is not for everyone. To tie yourself to another is a big ask, and not to be taken lightly. A polite decline does not reflect poorly on you. Instead it is an understanding of the weight of it, the gravity of the request. I am sorry, I cannot do you justice. I have loved your museum and the time I have spent in it. I have marvelled at your discoveries and am proud to have added to your collection. Together we added more rooms. There are paintings of my own in here. But my time is done. Not everyone is forever.
We cannot know what would have happened. But we can appreciate what did. We can take pride in what it brought us, to have the chance to share ourselves with another. To understand what that will look like, and to relish in what others can bring to us, what they can add to us.
To know yourself is to understand the sanctity of yourself.