My favorite phrase is “I can handle myself.” I like to throw it out there any time someone begins to speak to me like some weak little thing, because despite the fact that I stand at exactly 5’1 tall I refuse to allow anyone to think I am vulnerable. BUT THEN, typically right after I spit out this little mantra, I text the next friend I think of to come with me to go to lunch or to go to the store because walking into a public place alone literally makes me feel like I’ve just been sent to space but unfortunately went up in only my underwear. Basically, unprotected and out of air.
It’s funny if you think about it. This girl with enough sass and confidence to fuel an actually acceptable Mean Girls remake can’t even step into a store without the need for companionship.
So tonight, a Friday night before a three-day weekend, after I sent out my “what’re you doing” texts to anyone I could think of and getting back responses (or lack thereof) of some “already busy/hit me up tomorrow/idk I’m tired” mumbo jumbo, I asked someone that I don’t really pay much attention to that much, to accompany me on a date. I asked myself.
I have never been to a meal alone. I’m not talking about hitting up a drive thru or cooking something when I’m home alone. I mean a nice sit down meal where I’m confident enough to say “table for one” and sit down and order and enjoy my dinner with just myself. I have still have never had a meal like that because let’s be honest, that’s more like long term committed relationship type of stuff and I still wasn’t too sure about what I was doing. So, I settled for a movie with just me, myself, and I.
As I climbed into my car and rolled down the windows, I couldn’t help notice the little bit of excitement that flitted through me (right after a little bit of nausea).
I forgot what it’s like to not feel like I was waiting around on other people all of the time.
I had a bit of time before my movie started, so I took my drive through the tree tunnel in my home town with my radio up and hair literally everywhere but where it would be if I were in some really cheesy movie. But I was smiling and I was really aware of how completely content I was at that moment.
As I pulled up to the theatre and exited my car, I realized that there was still time to back out. My date would understand. However, I kept walking. I bought the movie ticket (and also some popcorn because I treat my dates right) and sat down in the theatre. Then I realized the hardest part was over. I was here alone and the world wasn’t ending and I didn’t have that underwear in space feeling.
I’m going through this story to ultimately get to my point, because I promise there is one. It’s OK to spend time alone. But there is a large difference between being alone at home and being out in the word with just yourself. Typically, I’m all about being with my lonesome at home. The real world on the other hand, is not typically where I wander without company. And today I started thinking about how sad that really is.
I like to think I have a good grip on who I am. But how am I supposed to grow up and be with other people if I can’t even handle being with just myself in places other than my room? I have never been one that needs someone to feel complete, but I have become someone that needs people with me so I don’t feel forgotten.
I think a lot of people are like this. We put ourselves in these positions where we wait around for other people to tell us when they’re free or what they want to do.
Somewhere along the way we get so involved in what other people want we forget that somewhere inside is someone that needs a little attention, too.
So, I took myself on a date to the movies. I’m finding ways to remind myself that I am whole all on my own and that when I say “I can handle myself” it’s true. Doing this isn’t a way for me to not need anyone or to write off my relationships, but I want it to mean that somewhere someone is going to see that and realize that they’re whole, too. And that they can handle themselves, too. But mostly that even though we are those things, we can be whole and still help make others and each other better.