Last night, I went to the movies all by myself. I was feeling good after dinner with a friend and just wasn’t ready to call it a night, yet. When I spotted the marquee lights on my way home, I thought “If something’s starting now, I’ll see it.” And there it was — 300: Rise of An Empire. Sweat, muscles and loin cloths — I figured, why the hell not?
Three minutes later, I was paying for my ticket, both proud and excited about my spontaneous decision (movie choice withstanding). However, my giddy moment smacked to a halt as soon as I met the theater usher. As his thick fingers groped for my ticket, his eyes scanned my body with a lustful linger. “You are seeing this movie all by yourself,” he asked, cocking his head to the side. “That is such a shame.”
His timing on pointing out my single status was particularly poignant. I had broken up with my boyfriend just three days earlier — a decision that involved accepting that all the puzzle pieces of my relationship were never going to fit the way I needed. There was no cheating. No real damage. He was a great guy with a great heart. However, it was the relationship itself that was starting to work against me and so I had to end it.
It was, by far, one of the most adult decisions I’ve ever made. But finally, after 32 years, I’ve grown comfortable with the alternative to being with someone — I can be alone. I can see a movie solo or travel the world by myself. I’m okay spending night after night in my bed with my thoughts and my fears. And more importantly, I’m no longer afraid to chase down my dreams, like making this site — a place where I can really help people live joyful and passionate lives.
If all paths towards happiness means being single for the time being, I am honestly and finally okay with it.
We have to try
Like a dog sheds hair or a snake its skin, we benefit from time spent examining our lives and getting rid of the things that hurt us. And though it is true, there is nothing better than sharing yourself with someone else who loves you, one has to wonder: when you don’t even like being by yourself, what self are you actually sharing? Are people hugging 19 layers of baggage when they hold you? Or is it you and only you; free of the pains and the fears that no longer serve you. The strongest, healthiest and happiest you there is.
It’s a lot of work to get to that person. It takes time, sometimes tears and a lot of internal dialogue. I attribute my own journey to journaling, therapy, travel, good girlfriends and books. Lots of books. Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life taught me how find the past pains that were holding me back. You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero helped me realized that we are all bat shit crazy and trying to find our way. And The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron gave me the creative meditation I needed to realize writing makes me feel fulfilled.
I guess I say these things because, if you are suffering in a relationship and the space between where you are and where you want to be involves some time alone — and this scares you — go there anyway. Walk into the unknown and into the darkness. The real you — that happier, brighter, intelligent and braver version of you, is sitting in there with a hand drawn out, waiting to take you along. For a better life, filled with happiness and peace, we must never be too afraid to reach for that hand.
When I responded to the gender-bigot ticket usher, I totally shocked the shit out of myself. Before I could even process what just happened, my heart leaped out of my throat and spoke to my defense. And this is what she said :
“That’s a terrible attitude and such a ridiculous thing to say. You should never be ashamed to do anything by yourself.”
As I spun around and walked toward my seat, I overheard his coworker say “Yeah, she has a point.” And it was true. I did have a point. It was that I am fine being there alone. That I don’t need his hand or anyone else’s to enjoy men in loincloths and hot, sweaty muscles. And that he was a dick for even suggesting that it was a shame to be brave enough live this crazy, beautiful life on my very own terms. The only shame that would have existed that night, is if I chose not to.