Interview by Erandhi Mendis
Soulmate is such a loaded word. Throughout history, poets, philosophers, artists – and a lot of lovestruck teenagers – have sought to understand and define the mystical bond between two souls. But often what we are shown in media doesn’t hold a candle to the experiences we can have in the real world as we seek connections. Ramona got to sit down with singer-songwriter Anieszka, a Mauritian-Australian who has spent a lot of time diving deep and reflecting on the nuances of intimacy as she crafted her new track Divine.
Hi Anieszka! Super excited to chat with you for Ramona. Diving straight into the heavy stuff…what does the word soulmate mean to you?
Thanks for having me! A soulmate, to me, is someone you feel drawn to energetically, who feels good for your nervous system, someone who’s presence is healing for you, and there’s a strong sense of familiarity with them – almost like you’ve known them in a past life. Things feel aligned and flow with them. The length of time you’ve known them does not equate to the depth of connection. I believe soulmates can be both platonic and romantic and that we have more than one in our lifetime.
Intimacy and connection are two radically intertwined subjects – how have your views on these topics been informed and shaped by the media growing up?
I think physical intimacy, attraction and immediate connection is portrayed a lot in the media – in movies in particular. Romance is a big grand gesture, sex is the basis of most relationships (where there is hardly any emotional intimacy present), connections are infinite rather than rare. I used to think relationships and connections were really easy to come by, because it happened so often in the movies and tv shows I watched. But as I grew to know myself, and experienced different connections, I realised they had different depths. For example, sexual intimacy is beautiful and important, and can be enjoyed purely for what it is. But sexual intimacy combined with emotional intimacy is a whole other level, and one that I appreciate more.
You write about ‘Divine’ love – how have your past experiences shaped your understanding of love?
Each experience has taught me more about what love means to me and what it is to truly love someone and be loved in return. I feel like love can be really simple sometimes, and we as humans complicate it. We are complex beings that come to each other with insecurities, expectations, needs, past traumas and learned behaviours, but communicating with each other and really learning how each person wants to be loved makes it all easier. Through my past relationships and connections I’ve learnt more about myself and what I needed to work on to be more aligned with the love I have within myself and the kind of love I want to experience, and how to be a better partner. Essentially, I feel like the love between two people is a dance of the love each person has within themselves. Through connection and relationships, we learn to also love selflessly, and step into the parts of love that are expansive, immeasurable and unconditional. To me, divine love feels like that.
Exploring deep love is a journey – how have you combatted barriers along the way and what advice would you have for others looking to deepen their connections?
I think I had the fear that if I opened up to someone and let myself sit in my vulnerability, there was a high chance of me getting hurt at the end of it all. I had a fear that I would be left to sit in my love, my emotions, for the other person and they could very well walk away. I found it hard to really let myself feel what I was feeling, I kept a wall up to protect myself and maybe even walked away from things before it could really become something to save myself the possible heartache. I think this fear of feeling and exploring deep love was restricting me from being my true self. Love is our birthright, it flows in every part of who we are, so why deny it to ourselves?
In time, I learnt that all those fears were because I didn’t truly trust in the love I’ve always had within myself. I was scared of someone denying me their love, but I was denying myself love by existing in that fear. What I was seeking from another person, I wasn’t giving to myself. As soon as I learnt to lean into my vulnerability, and the abundant flow of love I had within me, I understood what it meant to truly feel love – both for myself and for another. I found this unwavering knowing within me that loving someone and it not working out won’t ever take away from who I am, it can only teach me more about myself and deepen my overall understanding of love. The fear we all have stepping into love with another person is often because we attach it to an outcome. Our minds, even our hearts, are already existing in the future – what could be, what we want it to be. We all want a fairytale ending and the possibility of it not happening makes us feel uncertain and guarded. But if we were to live in the present, to exist in the connection for what it is right now, we are able to fully immerse ourselves in all that it is. There is so much beauty present, and we often overlook all of it out of the fear of it ending in the future. My advice is to be present, be open to receiving and giving, to trust in the timing of it all, to welcome the beauty that comes with a deep connection. And wherever it goes – even if it ends – embrace the experience, the moments, the lessons, the hurt and the love. It is all part of our growth.
Nowadays there’s a pretty common saying about having to love yourself before you can love someone else – what do you make of that?
I resonate with this. How can we learn to love someone with an open heart and mind if we haven’t learnt how to love ourselves? Often, this is where projection and issues arise in a relationship. I feel as though if you haven’t gone on that journey of self love, you tend to seek love and happiness from others – particularly a partner. It can be a lot to place on someone. However, I feel like depending on where you are on your journey, you can still be in a connection/relationship and explore your inner world/inner love. Communicating where you are at on your journey is important, and together you can both figure out if growing together is an option. Often in a soulmate relationship, we learn to strengthen the love we have for ourselves whilst loving another. They are like mirrors, showing us what we need to work on, and helping us deepen our connection to self in the process. This is if both people are open hearted and willing to grow and learn from each other. I don’t think healing or inner work is linear, our journey of learning to love ourselves and be clearer versions of ourselves is never ending, so there is no need to turn love away if it comes into your life. But only you will know where you are on your journey, and whether or not you need to do it alone. If you do feel you need to do it alone but a real and deep connection has come into your life, communicate with that person and see how you can both move forward, maybe some space or building a friendship is what you can offer to each other for some time until you feel ready – don’t push love away.
In your art you explore the nuances of intimacy, soulmates and honesty – how does the process of songwriting help you translate the subtleties of those experiences?
Music is so fluid and expressive. I feel like I visit this world I’ve created often where these themes – intimacy, soulmates and honesty – exist and I dance amongst them, learning more about them, enmeshing myself into what they truly mean. When I create music, I get to bring those experiences into the physical world, where I can share it with people and we can connect and bond over it. When I sing them live and I look into the audience and see people resonating, I feel like all of our worlds collide in that one moment.
On your track ‘Divine,’ you seem to have struck a balance between expressing an idealized version of love and acknowledging the reality of challenges that arise in relationships – why was it important to write and how did the song come about?
Divine was a moment of pure emotion. I didn’t know how to keep all of my emotions within me anymore and the lyrics and melody just came flowing out. I had met someone that I felt a real, deep connection with. We hadn’t known each other for very long at all, so the depth of my feelings didn’t make any sense, but for the first time I didn’t question it. On the day I wrote Divine, this person called me and expressed he may want to walk his own path and focus on himself. Whilst I wanted to be understanding, I was baffled. How could we have come across such a meaningful, beautiful, real connection and he was willing to walk away from it? We talked about fear, the chance of getting hurt, and I asked him to trust in this connection. He said he would take some time to think about it. After that phone call, my heart was all over the place and that evening I wrote Divine with my guitarist.
I wrote what I felt, what I knew to be true, what I hoped he would choose – that he would choose me, and us. I wrote it for him, and about him and at the time that’s all Divine was.
Whilst Divine depicts this beautiful, ethereal love, it’s essentially highlighting one person who is sitting in their vulnerability, trusting what they feel and ready to explore a connection, whilst the other is holding onto fear, isn’t sure about what to do and is okay to walk away from it all. In the end, he chose to walk his own path, and it was hard for me to accept. He really made me feel like I could trust what was unfolding, he expressed the strength of his feelings and we both felt aligned in so many ways. I couldn’t understand how it all fell apart as quickly as it all came together, it didn’t make any sense.
I fell in love with this song almost instantly, and decided 2 days after writing it and showing it to him that I was going to release it, regardless of how things would turn out with us. I have never written a song that speaks to my soul the way that Divine does, and I knew I wanted to share it with the world. I wanted to remind people to open themselves up to love, that divine love does exist.
Divine really showed me what it’s like to come across something special and rare and be forced to let it go, even if I was ready for it and felt like it came into my life for a reason. In time, Divine also became about me, and the love I had within myself – my divinity. It’s here to awaken the divinity within us all.
Throughout the creation of ‘Divine’ do you think your perspective on intimacy and soulmates has evolved?
I’ve learnt of a deeper love, a love that feels ‘divine’. I didn’t know if I’d ever get to experience this feeling, that it exists. Now that I know it does, I know the kind of love I want and desire. More importantly though, Divine taught me of my own depth of love. My ability to feel so deeply, to open my heart to someone, to allow myself to feel so freely and welcome emotional intimacy. I am comfortable in my vulnerability now, and know what kind of partner I hope to share myself with – someone who is open, who isn’t going to walk away even if things feel scary, and who will trust in what they feel, in the connection, in me. I found a deeper part of myself through this song, and I’ll always be grateful.
Check out Divine and keep up with Anieszka below.