Okay, so this post isn’t related to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I decided that I sometimes wanted to write about things other than my direct experience on the mats at Kaizen Academy, so rather than starting another a blog, I thought I’d have a sub-section here.
This is about doing things on your own. In case the title didn’t give that away!
Sometimes it’s quite scary to lay one’s thoughts and feelings out in the open. It’s strange that I have no problem talking about my mental health, either in person or to strangers on the internet, but when talking about my personal life, it gets difficult.
Basically, I had to learn to do a lot of things on my own. I’ve never really been one for having a long term partner. Possibly I have too-high standards, or I’m too-high maintenance or whatever. Whatever it is, no relationship or flirtation I’ve had has ever managed to stick around for long. This often leads to wondering what went wrong/how I could’ve been different etc. etc. That’s a dark and lonely path, one that I have absolutely no desire to walk. It was easier to get lost on that path before I found BJJ and it gave me the focus and level-headed approach that I feel I have today.
So to the main point – I learnt to do things on my own, and more importantly, to enjoy it.
At first it was scary as fuck.
I remember the first time I went to dinner by myself. It was more out of necessity than thought; I was at a history conference in York by myself and the B&B I was staying in didn’t serve dinner. So it was either go out, or starve for the evening. I chose to go out. I suppose it was a better introduction to eating alone than most. At least York was a city that I knew, having lived near here for nearly a decade. I found an Italian restaurant and asked for a table for “just me”. I remember the waiter looking at me a little askance. Everybody in here so far was here in pairs, or in groups. It was clearly a little odd to sit alone. I think it’s even worse if you’re a woman alone. I think it was actually Ron who said it in Harry Potter regarding the Yule Ball: “It’s bad enough for a bloke to go alone, but for a girl it’s just sad”. It’s difficult to overcome what is “expected” sometimes.
At first I was really nervous; convinced that everyone in the place was looking at me, thinking sad, what a loser, or the such like. I soon realised that this was not the case and I relaxed. I ended up having a great evening. I had an amazing book I was reading, the food was delicious, the wine was lovely, and even had dessert. I had nobody rushing me, or demanding that I entertain them (even sub-consciously). I was able to do what I liked. It was delightful.
After that experience I realised that doing things on your own really isn’t that scary, and that it gives you a freedom to explore things on your own terms. I think we’re so conditioned in society to feel like we must be paired up, that when you’re alone there’s something wrong, or you’re out of place.
So since then I’ve traveled alone, been to the cinema alone and been out to dinner a couple of times. The time I went to the cinema I had the whole place to myself. It was a 100 seater theatre and I was the only one in it. It was great!
It’s always an interesting thing to do, to do things alone, and I find I’m often more absorbed in what I’m doing than when I’m with other people. I guess what I’m trying to say is, that whilst of course it’s great to go out with others, and I love doing that too, spending time on one’s own shouldn’t be seen as a nightmare. It’s difficult at first, because self-consciousness and anxiety can creep up on you, but once you’ve broken through that barrier, doing things completely by yourself can be amazingly liberating.
Until next time,