Recently I was in Ibiza and there really is no better place that brings up all of my issues.
Sitting on my favourite beach Cala Benirras, I wondered what draws me to this place, especially given that I’m not a partier so the usual Ibiza trappings aren’t my scene. And I realised that it’s this place that makes me feel my most insecure and loneliest, but that it’s sometimes necessary to be in this place in order to figure out what I want and who I am.
I lived and worked here for summer/ autumn 2015 and whilst there were many wonderful moments, for much of the time I was depressed and anxious.
One of the recurring themes of that summer that is still coming for me this morning is not fitting in. I spent yesterday evening at a fun sunset rooftop party hosted by a record label. I was with one of my best friends and the music, views and vibe was fantastic.
And yet. When I was engaged in conversation by others, there seemed to be a disconnect. I’m not ‘cool’, I have no desire to be, nor any pretension about being ‘cool’. I don’t do banter. I am quiet. I don’t simper and flirt nor am I overly loud. No I’m not interested in how drunk/ high you are and neither am I going to congratulate you for being so.
Most of the time I’m really happy being this way. I deliberate seek out people who are similar and who like my qualities. I want true connection and intimacy, and I struggle to find that through banter and jokes and alcohol. In fact, I find those things are significant barriers to the things I crave.
However, when I’m in a situation where my quiet, uncool, serious self is somehow not enough, that’s when my insecurities come up. I was basically ignored by several of the people in my group, despite my even coming out of my shell and making conversation. One person who was there the entire evening, didn’t even ask me one question about me – it was like I was I was invisible to them. Maybe I was.
I’ve realised I’m a quiet, shy, introvert, who prefers serious conversations to nonsensical banter – but that as fine as I am with this, it is not what society and many other people expect. Especially as a woman, I am clearly meant to fun, flirty, always smiley. And I’m not. I had to go and sit by myself all day to process this, and it was pretty uncomfortable. I had to process all the feelings of inadequacy, plus acknowledge that sometimes my default settings don’t always help me, and actually accept this.
Ibiza will always be part of my life, for the simple fact that it makes me visible to myself. It’s not always a pleasant experience, but the rawness of facing who you are – and the fact that this is OK – is what Ibiza does.
I’m not invisible here. Not to myself
By the time I left the beach, 5 hours later, I felt better for having had this meeting with myself. The parts I noticed were important, were observation: really paying attention to what’s going on in ourselves, and paying ourselves attention. We pay a lot of attention to other people or to our external appearance, but rarely to our inner landscape. The second component is space – I needed physical space alone to process whatever was going on for me, away from distractions, and other people. And finally I needed really good self care and self love: this took the form of swimming in the sea, eating nice food, and then going to spend time with some good friends who appreciate me as I am.