Monday, February 10, 2020


 Hermtised: (urban dictionary) 

... when you are adapted to the hermit life and accepted that is your life style.

Detail of sculpture Aerial  by Corina Duyn, figure sleeping in pod
Detail of ' Aerial, 2014 © Corina Duyn

So much of my day is spend in solitude, in silence. I know of course that I am not alone in this – I am just one in a worldwide community of hermits, a life imposed on us due to chronic illness. In my case M.E.

Most of the time I am utterly comfortable in my own space. I don't need the radio or have ‘white’ noise around me. I am comfortable in the silence of my own breath and the sounds of life around me, like the weather. The birds my fateful companions (as long as the feeders are filled regularly!) On a good day I bask in the sound of birds through the open door, or on an even better day, I am among the birds and soak in the sound of nature. These moments brings joy to my heart.

In my hermit life I have stopped watching television about 18 months ago. I do occasionally watch a movie or documentary on Netflix in the afternoons. If something really touches me, I end up writing down quotes from these film-sessions. Some of these musings end up in some shape or form in my creative work.

Solitude: living like a hermit…

It truly is a ‘funny’ thing. Although I am confortable with this hermit status, the reality is that I can't actually fully live on my own. Be a true hermit. I am in need of basic care to reaming living at home. Two sides of the same coin. Yet at times I wonder would I actually be able to totally retreat from the world? Would I be ok with being a ‘monk’? Or is it more a case that I have adapted to this life, and is not so much by choice…

I am very aware that the way I see the world, who I am, how my creative work and writing has evolved is as a result of this hermitised life. I can mostly see this as a positive.

But yet, I so very much appreciate and enjoy the company of friends and family, in person, on the phone or via video links. I also value the contacts made via social media. However, the other side of having company is, that these wonderful interactions often take more energy than I actually have, so I end up in need of more solitude.
And round the circle goes.
It is all a matter of balance. Of careful planning.

The bit that is most challenging with hermatism is that at times I have a desperate need to escape beyond the walls, which keep me ‘captive’.

A note in my journal reads: 

it remains to fricking hard… It is a most beautiful day. Almost clear sky, a hint of spring after days of heavy rain.
A lovely day for a walk!
I can’t – or can I? Walk, of course, as in spin in my wheelchair. I can’t, as I wouldn't have enough energy to put on a coat, and shoes, and hat, and scarf and take it all off again after an escape of ten minutes…
So the answer is: Nope.

That sunny mid January day I resolved to go out into the garden instead. I put on a jacket hanging by the back door. I was out for all of five minutes, pulling up some dead leaves covering tiny sprigs of new growth. In terms of the garden, the result was most gratifying. My body however was a lot less impressed. I had jelly legs; arms were like lead. I needed to lie down as I was in a lot of pain.

Joy so close to tears.

Later I wrote
“I feel at times my heart is breaking.”

The solution is to do one little thing a day which brings fulfillment. I need to be able to say at the end of the day that I had a lovely day, that I did something that brought me joy. Even if it consist of some very small achievement:  A bit of ‘gardening’; sit out among the birds; sort out ‘stuff’ (my current favourite); or something creative, perhaps colouring, or writing; or catch up with a friend.

Re-evaluate again what I can and cannot do. Then hermitism isn’t such a bad place to be in.

PS ... and as I now have (very few) PA hours in which I can be assisted to go outside my home with support, maybe hermitism is a little more manageable too!

sculpture Aerial by Corina Duyn, figure sleeping in pod, in garden. Ladder into the pod
'Aerial'  © Corina Duyn,
58x20x15cm, 2014

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