alone

In ALL, INTROSPECTION by Stephanie Klein27 Comments

I thought twice about writing because of the whole “do you even know how to be in the moment?” thing.  This is my moment though.  Way too often I get grief about always hiding behind my camera or notepad with an inability to be in a moment.  Once you try to capture it, you’re not in it.  No, I’m MORE in it.  It adds to my enjoyment of it.  That’s just the way I am, especially when I’m alone. 

I’m at Thom Bar, alone, on a Saturday night, because I can be.  My friends are at Gstaad.  I’ll join them soon enough.  I need alone time, even if it is at a bar, listening to men order “your best grappa, a water, and a diet coke.”  Those that beset me are in micro mini pleated skirts, wearing fur around their necks.  I’m not allowed to make fun.  I wore open toe shoes with a down-filled coat.  It’s the shite that comes with Manhattan.  You dress the part for inside.  The sparkling, dazzling, we’re not in New York, New York attitude, but outside, you can’t confuse Manhattan for a tropical island.  It’s a cold island, and your down is your reality check.  So is your too small apartment you’re about to go home to…

Alone.

I used to worry about “alone,” terrified it was some kind of open, state of being, to judgment.  “Oh, she’s alone because no one likes her.  She’s alone because she’s a pain in the ass.  No one wants her.”  I was so afraid of alone.

I spent this weekend alone, getting drunk by myself, mostly.  It doesn’t scare me anymore.  Last night, I went to a bar by myself.  Tonight, dinner.  People I know really do ask me how I do it, “I would never.”

Then there are the people who say they love it.  “I go to the movies alone all the time.”  It’s like they want a Huggy Bear One patch for their scouting badge.  They go on a day off, or an afternoon.  They don’t really go to the movies alone.  Ask ‘em what they’re doing on Saturday night.  “Going to the movies.”  Really?  With who?  “I’m going alone.”  But it’s Saturday.  Are you sure?  Please, people who say they go to the movies alone… they really don’t.  They’re trying to be that person who’s comfortable alone.  They aren’t.  I used to be that girl, too.  Try eating alone on a Saturday night at a restaurant, with linen, telling the waitress, “No, it’s just me.”  I believe it says something about your character, something good.  That’s why so many people whip out the, “I do the movies alone” card.  They want to be that person too.

It’s a choice to be alone, though.  There’s a comfort in that.  I could be out with someone else, but I choose to be here on my own.  It’s enjoyable, actually.  Not in a lonesome, I have too many cats and read too many books and take too many baths, way.  It’s comfortable knowing it’s you, paying for yours, enjoying yours, comfortable with just you.  I kind of love being alone, spreading out, taking up the whole bed.  For now, anyway.

I’m afraid to turn around and give up my space at the bar.  It’s like West Villiage real estate.  I swear to God, there must be something in my expressions or eyes that provokes European men to hit on me.  They’re everywhere, offering me drinks in accents, telling me they love my hair.  I’d prefer to go it alone that battle too much skin on something too small.

Comments

  1. S. I love this post…As someone who lives alone, who movies alone, who has dined alone, who aspires to vacation alone (that's on my list). It's sad that a-lone so often gets mixed up with lonely. And you know what? Lonely is okay, too. I'd rather be alone and growing than with someone and shrinking. J.

  2. That was so awesome Miss Stephanie. Some people go it alone by choice, and some by circumstance. The best of us don't dwell on why we are alone at some given moment, but instead relish those moments…enjoying the time with someone whom we often forget about. You are most certainly one of the best of us.

    ~~(__)8>

  3. I do the alone thing too. No one can understand it. They're always saying the same thing…"I could never". My next test is going to a concert alone…haven't tried that yet…

  4. I don't buy it. Most of your posts are about how you want/need/desire a man in your life. This post wreaks of rationalization OR is your excuse to drink alone which seems to be a more frequent occurance… Sure it is so important to be comfortable with yourself and to be able to be alone and be really fine with it. But I do not think that given the choice and given your posts here that it is what you really want. You do it beacuse you don't have anyone special. If you did you'd be cooking up a storm, and telling us all the fun giddy details.

    It's OK to be alone and better than settling for anyone who is not right. You are probably a real catch for a guy who can deal with all that comes with being with you, but c'mon — you want it so bad you can taste it.

    Movies alone is fine even if you are with someone. Eating alone is a necessity (especially those of us that travel on business) and we get used to it. But drinking alone? Often? I don't even know you and I am a bit concerned.

  5. Ohplease.

    Good post. It says you have chutzpah to do things alone. It reeks of confidence. I wish I had that.

  6. Not to be combatative, because I think this is a great post, but question: if you do it for true and sincere reasons, why doesn't everyone else? Why is it that everyone's else's statement "I go to movies alone" is a card, a signifier, or a game? Aren't they, too, relishing their me-time?

  7. Stephanie hop on as The Boss calls it "That Coast City Bus" and come see me in Middletown NJ and you wont need to get drunk alone but in return for my valued company before we start boozin' a nice home cooked dinner by you in my kitchen. Sounds fair dont it?

  8. Stephanie,
    This was a wonderful post, that I enjoyed reading. But I have a question for you, that is off topic. Please forgive me if this is a blog faux paus.

    My question is, How do you handle it emotionally, when you get a negative comment here in comments, when basically your laying your soul out for others to read?

    I ask as a fairly new blogger, (without your talent of course) where it is my thoughts, and emotions. And I may receive 6 lovely comments, and then one bad, will have me stewing all day. My original gut reaction is one of hurt. And then I must talk myself down from this. How do you handle it? I get a lot from reading blogs, and writing my own, so the obvious answer of NOT blogging is not the option I want. How does one deal with the negativity someone throws out, after reading a few tiny paragraphs about you….

    (A confession: I deleted one yesterday. Then of course I felt guilty for that.)

  9. Krissa loverly,
    I was speaking only of those I know, who say quite often, "I go to the movies alone," as if they're trying to prove something about their character. "Well, I do." And I'm sure they do, but they aren't telling me they do it just because. They're telling me to show me something. To prove something. These people hate being alone, so their movie alone for an afternoon stunt is a one-off. I used to be that girl… afternoon movies where my alone training wheels. And I only share it now because I beleive it builds character… and it's Wednesday… and I feel like sharing. It's such a Mr. Roger's Neighborhood moment. I need to buy a cardigan.

  10. Yeah, so I read a lot, in the bath…with my 2 cats perched on the edge of the tub. And I love it. I also happen to have a boyfriend who lives with me and we specifically make time to go our separate ways. I go out to a bar or to dinner and he goes to a show.

    As much as I hate that stereotype about people being alone because they're lonely, I hate the one about a woman and her cats even more.

  11. Another evocative post, Stephanie. Keep 'em coming!

    I'm a half-time Dad, so one week I'm running around with my pre-teen son, whipping up meals, doing laundry, etc. The next week I'm (usually) alone. I find the transition kind of wrenching.

    I prefer to have someone to share my free time with, but I also appreciate time by myself. I tend to spend my time quietly, as I'm not a beautiful Manhattanite, but I enjoy seeing films and dining alone. I feel a bit guilty taking up a table during busy times though. Someone's losing tip money!

  12. I am a people person who adores their alone time/space. I hate to fly with other people; I think mostly b/c I've flown alone almost my entire life. I revel in shopping alone and going to the movies alone.

    And I know the boundaries. I realize when I have been alone for too long and I get caught up in too much thinking it's time for some companionship.

  13. Loved the post.

    I have always hated being alone and I think I have spent a lot of my life doing things I didn't want to because I was scared to be alone. Hopefully one day I will change. I do believe it is strength that gives someone the ability to be comfortable by themselves in certain situations. I do like to be alone but in the comfort of my own home in front of the tv. and I also hate the one about a woman and her cats…

  14. I wanna be by myself, sometimes I do. I don't wanna be left behind but sometimes I'm left by you…

  15. Hey,

    I read your blog as a reward for forcing myself to read thru my Dad's daily dose of retired-to-Crete-to live-the-farmer's-life-drivel. You are a cool chick.

    I went to the movies alone for the first time ever last weekend, although I have been single for 2 yrs or so. I am not a great movie-goer full stop which probably explains why it has taken me so long to get round to doing…
    However, i was pleasantly surprised by how many other people did the same and will deffo be doing again.

    I love being by myself and spent the majority of the weekend stoned and watching crap tv and movies on the sofa (which I can't imagine having to share on a regular basis again just yet!)

    However – I am currently working abroad, but when I head back to London, i have decided i need some practice at least, at fitting men back into my life…. a challenge me thinks.

  16. I have to say after many years in a painful marriage, I have come to love my alone time. At first, it was difficult getting used to not having "the one" around you ALL THE TIME, simply suffocating you, but after a while, I appreciate the ability to do what ever the hell I want when I want. OK, my point here is not to drone on about being divorced, but to agree that aside the stigma of "alone", it is simply a great place to be. How many times have you had that conversation of "what do you want to do?", only to be stuck doing something you loathe? Oh yes, single and alone, a great deal in my opinion…. I think I'll go catch a movie and maybe a beer…alone.

  17. oh my god..so love being alone..even before i had three tiny kid swho sniff me out at every turn!…for the sole fact that all my firends are like, "you are not gaonna have popcorn with me"…no dumb shit there is only one mouth for each of us…you want it , fucking get it what does it matter if i sit here with my diet coke…or "come on let's go to a different club" when they are all the same four walls with shitty loud music and people that look like deers in headlights, i have movied alone, vacationed alone(well mardi gras isn't really a vacation ) and concerted alone so i can come and go as i please…no other reason like to prove i am confident or some shit!….

  18. I usually do the restaurant/bar thing alone. I like it. At restaurants, it so peaceful to eat in silence and people watch. At a bar, I usually start off alone and then end making new friends.

  19. Nail on the head, again.

    Movies alone are so decadent – you can see whatever you want and don't have to feel responsible for everyone else's good time.

  20. My little sister thinks it's sad that I sometimes go to lunch alone armed with just a magazine or book.

    It's actually quite fun.

  21. I find it fair to note that it's the life experiences that lead up to the alone time that make it most rewarding. Everyone goes through different things that drive them toward the realization that spending some time sans-company isn't such a bad idea. To do it 'one off', or to even do it because someone else inspired them to try it, isn't really the same as arriving at that point in your life via your own path.

    Where we've been is who we are, good times or bad. The long path we've all walked offers much more to reflect upon during the alone times, than some tidbit of advice from someone we admire. Grab yourself a raunchy paperback and snag a latte and try it sometime…y'all just might like it.

    ~~(__)8>

  22. to "noway"- you can't say you don't buy it because you're not in her head. as a single girl we go through waves of loving our alone time and desperately wishing it away. it's a human instinct to ebb and flow in your emotions toward your surroundings and situations. so, to repeat Stephanie, "whatevs" to you.

  23. Man, the whole weekend getting drunk and I didn't even get a drunk dial at 4 am. I agree we all need our alone time. But I disagree about the movie card. I like going to the movies alone. Affords me the chance to bring my pad, write notes, put my popcorn and drink in the seat next to me. Given the choice would I *rather* be accompanied by a cool date? Sure. But that doesn't mean I don't mind the alone factor. And for sure, I'd much rather share that bar stool next to you…

  24. Stephanie,

    I moved to Paris this year and had a horrible time adjusting at the beginning. It was *alone* day in and day out. I was frightened to be alone. I would rush to turn on the radio or get on the Internet when I got home–to not be alone. I couldn't take the silence, my own thoughts…the fear that I had not chosen to be alone, but was rather forced to be alone.

    Now, many months after that scary time (yes, it was frightening)…I can really relish in my alone time. It's funny but my most recent post was (briefly) on this subject as well. Tonight I went to dinner alone…as I do so often, and I really felt the difference only a handful of months has made for me. Thanks for the great post.

  25. I've been doing lots alone since I was a wee little thing. Why is it such a big deal?! It's not like the majority of us were born Siamese twins…

  26. Now that's not funny at all. I (we) were born conjoined twins! (the pc term). We don't ever wanna be apart ever!

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