There was a time when I would have responded to the suggestion that I might go and see a film on my own like I would now if somebody asked me if I’d like to go out on a Monday night – ARE YOU INSANE? ABSOLUTELY NOT! GOOD LORD, DON’T EVEN SUGGEST SUCH MADNESS!
But that time has passed.
And I’ll tell you what, I loved it. (I went to see Suffragette which, if possible, seemed all the more powerful because I was alone. I cried and cried and wanted so hard to go back in time and say THANK YOU).
I think it’s a sign of age when you start really enjoying hanging out by yourself.
When I was younger, the pure idea of doing anything on my own was just too much to bear. I was so self-conscious growing up that I felt like I needed other people around me at all times just to justify my existence. Whereas now, not so much.
I always used to be late when going to meet my friends – partly because I’m a disorganised mess who decides to start straightening her hair at the time when she should be leaving the house – and partly because I never wanted to be left sat or standing there, just waiting. What would all the strangers around me think? I’d be a laughing stock, surely.
But then I decided to cut that out. I realised it’s not cool to be late (just do your hair earlier, yo) and that I really don’t care if I have to wait by myself. I’m an adult – extra free time when I can read or write or STARE at the clothes and shoes of strangers (don’t pretend you don’t do it too) is very welcome in my day.
Because, guess what? Nobody cares (alright possibly re: the staring but just try to keep it more generally-having-a-look-around than super-creepy-weirdo) And if they do, do you? I’ve gradually managed to train myself not to.
In a couple of weeks this apparent newfound confidence is going to be put to the test. My husband is going to Australia for work and I’m taking some time off to go along for the ride because WOULDN’T YOU and will be hanging out by myself in Sydney.
And I must admit that I am a little apprehensive about this. Admittedly this is mainly because Leon is usually in charge of directions when we go away – like all good couples, we play to our strengths: I’m great at sorting out the admin, the dollar, and making sure I’ve got plenty of pants, and he’s good at working out which way we should turn when we get there.
But this time I’m going to be responsible for my pants AND which way I’m pointing. And I’m going to be a one-woman tourist party – seeing the sights, hitting the beach, and hopefully adding ‘turning right when I should have turned left’ to the list of things I’m not ashamed to be seen doing by myself. I’ll let you know how I get on.
A girl travels a long way on the route to turning 30. There are a lot of opportunities during those three decades to learn to like yourself enough not to fear the judgement of every single person who might happen to cross your path. It’s hard to put into practice but I know that, on the occasions when I do manage it, it’s the absolute sh*t.
A solo cinema trip might not sound all that impressive – and it isn’t in the long scheme of things, of course – but it’s always handy to be reminded that you’re no longer the terrified teen you used to be.
And that if you want to go to the cinema, eat some chocolate covered raisins and have a good cry on your own, you should.
Because there’s nothing embarrassing about that.