I have the ability to make myself an island. When I am an island I am apart from others, and their approval, their rejections, their problems and emotions have no bearing on me. I am keenly aware that no one really knows me, just as I don’t know anyone. No person can know another. When others think they know me, it’s really only a creative interpretation of fragmented evidence–actions they’ve seen me do, words I’ve said, which aren’t even a fraction of my lived experience. Even when I try to know myself, I fall short. My memory is limited, my attempts to describe myself biased, inadequate, contradictory.
Being an island makes me tough. When I succeed in my emotional isolation, I can withstand what people say and do, not just to me, but to others. I can stand unmoved in times of joy and tragedy. I can act when fear might otherwise paralyze me. I worry plenty that my boundaries are too rigid, that I’m missing out on the chance to connect deeper with others. Is that even possible? If it is, could it be a good thing? But there is one thing I’m proud of, when I’m an island and far away from regret or longing. It’s the knowledge that no one can tell me who I am, and I will never believe those who try. I will not be manipulated, I will not be brainwashed, I will not fall to pieces because of what’s happening around me. No one knows me.