That is, of course, until you blather on endlessly about it on your blog and then everybody has to know. Whether or not they even want to know.
Well, you guys, it turns out I’m a big fat liar-pants.
You see, I haven’t exactly been flying solo since returning to the States this past summer.
I haven’t really done much solo traveling in the past nine months. The one big trip I’ve taken so far – to Washington, DC, and Durham, NC, this past winter – was spent visiting friends for the most part.
In fact, I haven’t really done much of anything by myself except for the occasional meal out or pants-shopping spree. After all, nobody needs to witness me attempting to shove my lower half into a pair of skinny jeans. And then eating a bucket of peanut butter cup ice cream for dinner afterwards because sometimes ice cream is the only thing that will dull the pain.
In fact, I rather wish I didn’t have to witness any of that myself.Mind you, my not-doing-stuff-solo isn’t because I have a whole bunch of awesome friends around who are always volunteering to go out with me.
All in all, I have about three people I can regularly count on to do stuff with me.
And two of those people happen to be my parents.
I know I should be working harder on going out to meet new people and reconnecting with old friends in the area. But seeing as I’m not entirely sure how long I’ll be in Buffalo, I haven’t really been putting that much effort into my social life.
After all, I don’t want to get people all excited about me, and then up and leave. That would just be rude, wouldn’t it?The reason why I haven’t been doing much stuff on my own since my return is because it makes me feel a bit, umm, well, self-conscious.
You’d think six years of being the big, sweaty, white girl in Asia would have effectively cured me of any self-consciousness.
But doing stuff on my own in Asia was just one more weird thing I did that none of the locals really did – like eating cheese and running in public and regularly breaking out into hives. People were already staring at me – why not just give them one more thing to stare at me for?
But it’s different here.
There’s something about doing stuff on my own in the States which makes me feel like I’m the fourteen-year-old, new kid at school again. And nobody in the cafeteria wants to sit with me.
Probably because I’m wearing the shirt my mom made me. Which I thought was really awesome when I spent the last two weeks planning what to wear. But when I showed up at school, I realized nobody else was wearing a handmade shirt – a handmade shirt that just so happens to match a handmade skirt. Because, you guys, I can’t help it if I was just ahead of the fashion trends. (I’m still waiting for that trend to come in, by the way.)Recently, I decided this whole being-self-conscious-about-doing-solo-stuff thing needs to stop.
I need to be cool with doing stuff on my own again.
Because, you know, sometimes you just want to do stuff and there’s nobody around to do that stuff with.
So what are you going to do?
Just not do the stuff?
Plus, there are only so many times you can take your mom and dad out on a date before you start feeling a bit lame. Or they stop answering your calls. Whichever one comes first.
So a few weeks ago, I decided I needed to start doing more stuff on my own.I started things off easy with a few tours of places around town. Including, the funky Darwin Martin house, a Frank Lloyd Wright designed house in Buffalo.
And Buffalo’s majestic City Hall.
In case you’ve never been on a tour by yourself, I totally recommend you do one.
Tours are the perfect solo activity.
You don’t have to introduce yourself to anyone or make small talk. Heck, you don’t even have to talk at all. But, if you do, say, ask the tour guide eleventy-billion nerdy questions, that’s cool, too.
Plus, you can pretend like you’re not from around here, and you’re just in town on some top-secret, solo-stuff-business, and that’s why you’re alone. Not because you don’t have any friends and your mom and dad aren’t returning any of your calls or anything.I’ve also been to the movies on my own a few times. Which, honestly, is my favorite way to go to the movies EVER.
Seriously, you guys, if you’ve never been to a movie alone, you need to go right now.
Solo cinema-going is the best!
You can watch any movie you want. You never have to share your armrest. And you can eat popcorn for dinner and cry through all the cheesy parts of the movie and nobody has to know.
That is, of course, until you blather all about it on your blog.This week, I decided to step things up a notch.
I decided to go to a local networking event I’d heard about on Twitter. This was exactly the type of thing I would usually never want to do on my own – you know, the kind of thing that involves mingling and talking to people I don’t know. All without a tour guide there to answer all my nerdy questions or a bucket of popcorn to cry into.
The only way I managed to convince myself to go was because I knew there was going to be free pizza and chicken wings there.
And because I told myself that I could write a blog post about it afterwards.
Mind you, when I originally imagined this blog post, the title was going to be something like “Weeklyish Challengey Thingie: Meet New People That Are Totally Not My Parents” or “How to Not Be Totally Socially Awkward AT ALL.”
So, umm, yeah, spoiler alert: those things didn’t happen.When I showed up at the event, I was a bit surprised to see that everyone was already sitting at tables eating their free pizza and wings.
This was even worse than I thought it was going to be.
I hadn’t known it was going to be that kind of event. You know, the kind where you actually have to sit down and talk to people.
Since it was at a bar, I thought it was going to be more like a stand-up-and-mingle event. The kind where you can easily disguise the fact that you’re alone by standing next to a big bunch of people while nodding your head with the conversation and laughing at all their jokes and totally acting like you’re their new best friend. Even though they’re shooting you weird looks and inching away from you because you just laugh-snorted blue cheese through your nose.
But doing sit-down events on your own is totally the worst, amirite?
We should just go ahead and ban all sit-down events already. Especially any sit-down event that requires you to find your own seat. That’s just asking for bad high school cafeteria flashbacks.
I quickly grabbed some pizza and wings and an informational handout, made my way to an empty table in the back of the room and sat down.
And, then, I did the only thing I could think to do – I stared at the informational handout like it was the most exciting informational handout I’d ever seen in my life. Like, “Wow, guys, have you seen all this information on this handout? It’s crazy! I can’t even tear my eyes off all this information! I could never feel lonely and awkward with all this information to keep me company! Yay, information!”
Of course, I know I should have just asked someone if I could sit down at their table.
But, in my defense, most of the tables were already pretty full.
And, you guys, there are only so many challengey things I can force myself to do in one week. This week I was just working on getting myself to a social event. Next week, I might actually work on being social at that social event.Luckily, the event organizers started talking to the group soon after I sat down.
This made me feel a lot less awkward.
That is until one of the organizers started explaining that we shouldn’t feel awkward if we didn’t know anybody there. And, of course, she said all of that while looking directly at me. Which caused everyone else to look at me.
Let’s just say this was not an effective technique to make me feel less awkward.
After the organizers finished up their talk and I had managed to scarf down some of my pizza and wings, I did the only thing I could think to do – I ran away.
I pretended to head to the bathroom, but, instead, I made a beeline for the front door, hopped in my car and found myself driving to the nearest ice cream place I could find. Because sometimes ice cream is the only thing that will dull the pain.
I felt a little bit bad about giving up so early on being social.
But not that bad.
I mean, isn’t one of the joys of doing stuff on your own, the fact that you can totally fail at that stuff and run away from an entire roomful of strangers without talking to anyone and go drown your awkwardness in a bucket of peanut butter cup ice cream and nobody has to know?
That is, of course, until you blather all about it on your blog.Do you like to do stuff on your own? What’s your favorite thing to do solo? What’s your least favorite?