I have spent most of the past few months looking for things to hold onto.
There has been so much rapid change that it has felt, at times, as though I fell down a gap somewhere along the way. The points of reference keep shifting and I have found myself waking, at three in the morning, wondering where the hell I am.
I have been talking about this with my friends. A lot. Asking what they anchor themselves to. Wondering how they manage when the touchpoints suddenly disappear or prove themselves to have been illusionary all along.
There has been one resounding answer. “You have to start holding onto yourself Issa. You are your own point of reference.”
The concept has fascinated me.
Holding on to myself sounds so simple….and yet it is, in reality, incredibly hard.
I have been trying to figure out exactly what “holding onto myself” would look like. To understand why it is as important as everyone seems to think.
I got close, a few nights ago, over an Eternal Mist cocktail, with a great explanation from one of my friends. We were talking about ups and downs, about the unpredictability of it all and how we are constantly moving from one place to the next. “Imagine”, she said, “that everyone else is going through this movement. How difficult it is, in those circumstances, to keep holding onto someone else. And that’s before you even factor in the other things that can suddenly change.”
Yes. I can see that.
I have been trying to reconcile this theory with my ideas around how we connect to other people. With my conviction that it is these relationships that make our worlds, and the knowledge that, often, it is my friends who are there to pick me up when I stumble. I realised, as I was falling asleep last night, that there is a difference between anchoring yourself to people (and things), and forming connections. That there is a network, certainly, but the connectors are not iron chains but soft links; and the stability comes, not from the links but from how strongly we position ourselves.
There was one further conversation that has helped me to reach this point. It was a reminder of something that I had written, some time ago, but lost sight of. It was about being your own best friend. About fighting your own corner. About treating yourself as you’d like to be treated –
And about understanding that it is through these actions and this relationship that we hold on to ourselves.