The Writer’s Reclusive Nature: OTL Lifestyle

Leftovers: California  |  The Fresh Exchange

Recently, I’ve developed a new lifestyle that I’m calling “otl”– short for “on the low.” Lately, I’ve just found pure contentment in being on my own. What’s the big deal?, some may ask… But personally, this is something that I’m proud of because last summer, I couldn’t be on my own. I was in a really rough place in my life at the time, and the only way to get through each day was to fill my calendar up with daily plans, by the hour. I always had to be doing something with someone. I remember desperate moments in which I found myself scanning my phonebook and hitting up anyone and everyone just to have someone there with me. Heck, I can even think back to one particular night this past December and I was having some kind of emotional breakdown and I tried to call as many people as I could because I was so lost by myself. I was in an ugly state of self.

However, the tables have completely turned and I’ve been spending hours on my own. I’ve finally been using up my memory foam mattress to the fullest, contrary to last semester when I would always be out and about, even sleeping over in others’ beds whenever my roommate wasn’t here because I couldn’t handle being in solitude… that just seems strange to me now. I’ve been having this burning desire to venture out on my own and sit down and mull over my heavy thoughts by myself. I have such a surplus of thoughts lately that quite a few people have caught me in my daydreaming dazes. There’s just so much going on in my mind– I’m thinking of both my immediate and future plans, my surroundings, my family, my past experiences, and reflecting on my self. The best way that I can describe it is I imagine my head cut open at the top and all these thoughts are seeping out, overflowing from my brain, and I’m scrambling with a small pencil and a long piece of parchment, trying to retain all those thoughts that have spilled and it’s giving me anxiety because I know I can’t get each and every word.

It almost feels like I crave to push myself away from people and do my own thing because I’ve realized that trust has been hard for me. I give people the benefit of the doubt so easily and I forget that it’s a natural human flaw to err, and I do completely understand that it’s normal and nobody is perfect. So I’ve decided that instead of putting myself in risk of getting emotionally hurt, it’d be best to avoid sharing the deepest parts of me to mostly everyone. I used to be able to open up to people easily and it felt great, but now I don’t find it appealing and I think that’s okay, because there will be certain special circumstances when it would feel natural to do so and until then, I will hold off on it. And there’s just something about keeping my little thoughts to myself that satisfy me in an inexplicable way, and I no longer feel the need to explain myself to anybody. I’m simply all about not getting very emotionally involved, minding my own business, and carrying along with my own issues these days. Ignorance is bliss and my own mind is a plushy couch that I can sink with comfort in.

Amidst all this solitariness, I’ve found beauty. Beauty in solving things for myself, beauty in piecing together fresh phrases for new poetry, beauty in this newfound independence. I’m definitely living life at my own pace and I can do whatever I want to do– eating meals whenever, wherever, and with whomever I want (these days, just myself), going to mass after class on weekdays, having long conversations and hearing strangers’ life stories so that they are no longer strangers… It’s honestly so great. And to top it off, my infamous “treat yo self” lifestyle is directly correlated to this new otl lifestyle… it’s like a subcategory of it. I absolutely adore doing things for my own pleasure because I think I deserve to finally take care of myself after years of neglecting my own importance. I’ve finally recovered what I lost sight of for so many years, and I’m back on my feet, raring to go and take on the world.

I know all of this might sound strange to my friends, but I hope I haven’t worried any of you! I’ve simply really begun to mature as an adult and discovered that there’s so much goodness in being on my own. I am exactly where I need to be– I cannot picture myself not living in the bay area on my own, going to classes that I truly enjoy, and growing as an individual. I love that I am so comfortable in my own skin now, and it makes me so excited for the future when I would like to live in San Francisco and I don’t have to be with anybody to envision a happy me. It’s titillating to picture my young-adult self trying to make something out of my life in the quaint little ol’ city that I call home, buying myself flowers from street vendors and finding inspiration for new pieces as I soak up the ambience of the ageless Victorian homes and the outskirts of Lands End and the infinite ineffability of SF… Alright, enough daydreaming, it’s time for actual sleep-dreaming now.

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