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And I’m not happy. This list admits things I don’t want to admit. I pride myself on being open and honest about everything when someone asks me, but I cannot be open and honest with myself. It’s annoying. Not only that, it’s just…. wrong.

So what is on this list?

1. Learn to be alone

For something so simple, it terrifies me to the core. I used to be powerful and independent, confident being by myself. I could go out to eat by myself, go to movies alone, study alone, even go shopping alone. I got accustomed to being by myself and I was ridiculously happy.

So what happened? I started to put my self worth in other people.

Slowly, I entered the dating scene, the onsite college scene, the job scene. Suddenly, I went from being Katie to Kate. Katie is the name I prefer… it’s the one I grew up with. Katie has so much meaning attached to it… fun, happiness, innocence. Kate is the name I have that is loaded with responsibility. I am called Kate at my job, and before I graduated college, I was called Kate by all my teachers and classmates. The more I started being called Kate, the more I lost Katie.

I don’t like Kate. She cares about what other people think, she needs to be with people or else she feels awkward, she expects too much of herself. Everything is important to Kate. Everything is urgent, serious, and requiring immediate action. She feels the weight of the world at all times, she can’t even breathe. Because she makes herself accountable for everyone else when it isn’t her responsibility. Kate needs to go somewhere far, far away for the good of all involved, especially me.

So it’s time to go back to the first symptom of the change: the ability to be alone. I had built a life for myself that I loved. I took ceramics classes once a week, I volunteered at my church for 3-4 hours a week, I had online classes at school, and I went to work for fun because I liked being around other people. I had no need for throngs of friends, I had no need for any external validation, I could care less about a boyfriend. I want to be Katie again. I plan on keeping the qualities I love about Kate, like her ambition, her drive, her fierce determination and confidence. But life is short and meant to be enjoyed, and that isn’t happening.

So, how am I going to go about this?

1. I’m going to pick up a good book at the bookstore, I’m going to go to a restaurant, and I’m going to eat lunch. Alone. Making no apologies. Not wondering if people are looking at me weird. Me, my macaroni and cheese, and if I do good, maybe a cookie.

2. I’m going to go see a movie by myself. Because I can. Because I can see whatever I want whenever I want. When I was in the computer lab at my first college, I overheard a group of people talking about going to see movies alone. They strongly thought that anyone going to see a movie by themselves in the theater was pitiable and strange… a serial killer in the making. Although I admit that’s quite a stretch, the fact that I still remember the conversation four years later means it must have meant something to me. But in reality, who cares? Maybe they’ll sit away from me so I don’t have to look through someone’s head or listen to them talk through the movie.

3. I’m going to pick up a new pair of shoes, and I’m going to go take dance classes at the local university. This is perhaps what I’m most terrified about. Here, I’ll be forced to interact with people I’ve never met before, dance with them awkwardly because I’m as coordinated as an intoxicated ostrich, and be around people my own age. I don’t like people my own age. But then again, I’ve never really given them a chance. The entire 20’s age group can’t be constantly partying and doing stupid stuff…. right? Well. I guess I’ll find out.

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