Going solo | The art of being alone
A few years ago I was forced to look at the world from a different perspective, the perspective of a 'one'. Shattered by personal experiences, my self confidence was at an all-time low and I felt that I no longer had the capacity to do things alone. The simple act of going down the street to buy something from the shops was a daunting experience and I would often get my mum or sister to come with me so that I didn't have to go alone. But during this time I learnt (the hard way, as all great life lessons are learnt) that there was a beauty and freedom in going solo. So often, we look at that person sitting by themselves in a café and think "Do they not have any friends?" or "Did they get stood up?" sometimes we think it's 'brave' that they are sitting there alone. But it's not brave and it's not bold. It's that self-assurance and confidence that allows people to go out living their lives, enjoying being solo yet not feeling disconnected or isolated from anyone. That inspired me and I wondered, could I be like this too?
The first time I went to the movies by myself it was unintentional. I was waiting for a friend to arrive and had even bought her a ticket but work had kept her back later than expected and I was already missing the first part of the movie (The other Woman- One of my favourites). The embarrassment of having to ask the young bloke at the counter for a refund made me feel invisible. The second time I went to the movies by myself, was by choice. And it was fitting that I went to see the film "How to be Single" (Which I was at the time) which reinforced that these awkward social situations I was pushing myself into were totally worth it because one day, when I'm married and have a tribe of children I might not get a chance to go solo, to know that I can have that liberating feeling of going wherever I want whenever I want and doing the things I enjoy- but doing them alone.
These past school holidays I took myself out for breakfast. I took a book and read while I waited for my food, and not for one second did I wonder if people were looking at me with pity. I went to the gym without a gym buddy. I did my workouts amongst a group of middle aged people who I knew nothing about and I didn't feel intimidated. I went for a bike ride and for a 'new' rider like myself, this was scary because the likelihood of me crashing into something/someone was high. But I did it and I loved it. Nowadays I grocery shop alone. I go to the nail place and get a pedicure without someone holding my hand. And while I'm still scared of going to the beach by myself due to 'Jaws' and my lack of strong swimming skills, I still do it.
Sometimes I think back to who I was back then. Scared. Vulnerable. Insecure. I remember that I am still those things sometimes, and that's ok. But I know now that the important thing is not what other people see when they look at me, but what I see. And while I am never alone- I am a partner, a daughter, sister, friend, co-worker I am also 'one' and every now and then, it's good to go solo.