I can still feel the fear running through my veins like it was yesterday. When I was standing on the front lines, and voluntarily so, arguing with myself.
“What are you thinking you crazy girl? You freak out eating at the Food Court alone. It’s not too late, Allison, just turn around. Do not get on that plane. Eat the money. EAT IT. Just go back home and crawl back under the covers where it’s safe.”
But, I lost that argument and the next thing I knew I was cruising along at 30,000 feet, washing down peanuts by the handful with weak airplane beer. Slowly, I began to breathe a little. Or maybe burp. I don’t know. Regardless, my nerves diminished bit by bit until we landed, or they cut me off. At this point, I can’t recall which.
Edging my way closer to the summit, I stayed present, focused on each step, and took shit as it came. And, even the smallest steps, like catching a cab from the airport to my houseboat, were terrifying. The fact that there was nary a soul waiting for me on said houseboat intensified my gut-doom like mad. But, I quelled this by pretending it was all a big video game. Playing Frogger, I dodged one car at at time.
And, with each level conquered, my confidence grew. Soon, the rush of this alone was so intoxicating, that I began looking forward to my next fix, rather than dreading it.
By the third day, I was on a first name basis with the local market owner, knew every intimate detail about the deli guy’s relationship strife, and had blurted out something inappropriate to at least three waiters in town. Not only had I started to feel like me again, I felt more like me than I ever had. I was in your face, board up your windows, Allison — a category five, force to be reckoned with.
I’ve since taken on four more solo adventures, each one topping the last. That fear in my veins has been replaced with excitement and empowerment. I make all the decisions, whether they’re planned out or on a whim.
Will I take myself out to dinner at a nice restuarant? Or maybe pick up something disgustingly awesome from the drive thru and just chill in pajamas? I don’t know. I don’t care. I’ll figure that out when my stomach starts to rumble.
There’s something incredibly fascinating, albeit sometimes terrifying, about going at it alone. In the beginning, the latter outweighs the former, but over time this begins to shift, and it keeps shifting until the scale tips in favor of fascination.
Be it a vacation or a quick drink at the bar, we’ve been duped by society into believing that going places alone is neither normal or cool.
The only abnormal thing is the dependency we place on others to fulfill our own experiences and enjoyment…things we’re very much capable of fulfilling by ourselves. And, while the thought of being alone can be scary, it should not be crippling. Because, when we allow it to be so we’re not just missing out on life, we simply aren’t living it at all.
But, why the fear to begin with? Why are we so scared to be alone? Like most things, I spent way too much time overthinking this, when the answer is really very simple. We presume to be the center of everyone’s universe…the only one in the crowded room. Well, I’m sorry to burst your bubble, but you’re not the center of anyone’s universe. Nor am I. No one gives a shit that you’re eating alone, or that you’re your own date at the bar. They’re too worried that others are judging their own self-perceived shortcomings to give a fuck about yours.
If I’ve learned one thing over the past year, it’s that I don’t need anyone to make my experiences great or my adventures grand. Sure, it’s always fun to have a sidekick, but it can be equally fun to kick it alone.
I was all set to leave on another weekend away today but, as they sometimes do, plans fell through. Luckily, I got up the nerve to ask myself out on a date tonight to my favorite restaurant. I only hope I’ll be able to get a word in edgewise.
That date of mine, man can she talk.