I recognize my need in the past year or so of moving inward, self-retreat, isolation, and being alone. I have fought and struggled against it, as my personality is one of expansion and moving outward. It is strange and difficult to want solace inside, by myself. I've always enjoyed times alone; craved them in fact. Finally, I can see that this move inward, especially the past year or so is to find security and safety in a world that seems to threaten my very existence: this world has made me question both my ability and desire to continue in life. How I wish I had a mentor along this path to show me that this transition is normal, to teach me to welcome it, even! I have had to learn this on my own and it has been a strenuous, life-sucking, energy-sapping journey to make all alone. If only someone had told me! And yet, in my truth--that I only just recently acknowledged--I realize (now) and can accept, that I needed to find my own path, otherwise my growth would have been cushioned and retarded.
In my past, when I sought security and retreat, when I had a deep inner need to hide and isolate myself from the world and its demands and its stresses, I simply gained 10-30 lbs. My poor body image then validated the reason to stay inside and hide and succor myself with sweetness through food (sweetness sought from others or life or myself, that I had not received). I was unconsciously seeking solitude, yet refused to give myself permission to do so. Perhaps, however, I did not know that I was "allowed" to retreat; that this was an "okay" action. I learned to rationalize my choice to hide from others because I was (reality: not "was", but "perceived myself as") "overweight" and "unattractive" (translated into the branded-on-American-womens'-souls cultural message: "unworthy").
Currently, I am learning to retreat from the world with awareness. Ending the struggle makes it soooooo much easier! The most recent epiphany I had was that I can retreat and go inward, hide and isolate, be safe and secure in myself and in my solitude without gaining weight! I now give myself permission to hide, and recognize the need. I no longer "need" to gain 10 lbs., feel bad about myself because "I'm fat" and "unattractive", and then assume everyone else in the world thinks the same, and so stay home and hide my "unattractive" and "shameful" self from the public! In the past, I forced myself into retreat by increasing my weight and subsequently, hiding from the world the best I could. Now I can move inward without offering excuse to the world. I am coming to accept that this is part of who I am, and that there is nothing wrong with it. I am learning, that perhaps I AM NOT just the fiery, expansive, social woman who changes the world. I am also the quiet, introspective, flowing, silent, inward-turning hermit who hides from the world. I no longer have to struggle against the contradiction and dichotomy; the reflection of darkness to light; the expansion and inhibition. I am all of it. I now give myself permission to be "unsocial", to decline invitations, to submerge in the depths of a book or movie--repeatedly and for nights on end--to do "nothing", to "be nothing". They are all Me. If I want to hide from the world, it is my gift to myself. I have always been the Strong girl. I don't want to be that all the time, anymore.
And so in that awareness, I learn that perhaps I am not One, but Many.
She saw it, and it was Good.