What Coliving Taught Me About Myself.
This past month has been quite eye-opening in regards to the ways in which I relate to other people, and myself. While I’ve gone to school with, and shared an apartment with other people before, I’ve never had an experience of co-living quite like this. Through the process I’ve revealed a lot of patterns that come up every now and then in my life. While some are nasty, and some are downright embarrassing, I’m grateful for the lessons they bring and the new possibilities that they present. I’d like to take the opportunity to share some of them here, to not stay stuck in them and also to show how useful a co-living community can be for personal growth:
– I get annoyed by excited-looking people (pretty bitchy, I know)! Sometimes I view them as possessing something which I don’t have, like it’s a personality trait more attractive than any of my own. Even though I’ve known this pretty much my whole life, living in this house was really the first time that I’ve been able to voice that to someone, trusting that it wouldn’t affect the nature of our relationship.
– I have a hard time asking for, and receiving help. Sadly, this is an all-too-common theme for most people. There have been times when I’ve had the same conversation, the same issue playing out in my own head for weeks on end – even though I’m around people who can offer support or guidance.
– I can be pretty passive aggressive — I tend to deal with my emotions by taking too long to reflect on them in order to avoid saying anything rash, inappropriate, or disrespectful. I’m learning to not let these things build up, to voice my concerns sooner than I would have in the past.
– It’s been said more than a few times that I have kind of a “feminine energy” about me, which prior to coming here I wouldn’t have though of. Maybe it doesn’t help to label myself or put it into words, but for the time being I’ve felt accepted and appreciated for the way I show up — so that’s exciting!
But on the flip-side: leadership is not a skill that comes naturally to me, but it is something that I can grow in. Not to assign “leadership” to masculinity, but generally speaking that’s how it is thought of. Anything from commanding a room to leading a partner in dance has usually come as a challenge for me. While in the past I would’ve felt emasculated by any feedback I got for this, I’m learning to accept and honor where I am in my personal journey and take steps to progress.
– Lastly, that I sometimes find myself getting into a project, excited at first by the invitation to take part in it, only to struggle later on to contribute something substantial. It’s not something I’m proud of, and at times it seems daunting to get out of this pattern. But I’ve identified it, and having seen it before I know that I’m presented with an opportunity to do something about it.
In the midst of these patterns coming up, it can be really challenging to see the silver lining and accept that they’re there for a reason. Personally, I’ve found that having a community of supportive people is the most effective tool for moving on. Any opportunity to voice your experience of a situation can create a bond with the people around you, and remind you that you don’t have to do it all alone. Though it hasn’t been an easy trip so far, this has been an experiment worth trying and there’s no telling where it will lead!