Tuesday, 11 November 2014

I keep dancing on my own

Ok first of all I do have friends I promise! Secondly I am not writing this for sympathy or anything like that again I promise

Ok so.... I have friends (again I promise) who point blank refuse to go to the cinema alone, to sit in the dark and not speak to anyone while being entertained by a big ass screen that's taking all your attention anyway. This has always perplexed me tbh. Anna kendrick said in a magazine (I think it's Cosmo) that she has no problem with going to the cinema alone, and I am the same absolutely. Let me tell you a secret no one cares if you arrive at the cinema on your own, if they are spending their time concentrating on you and not on the film well there's a pretty big issue with the film It surprises people that I'm doing things alone. I was in a taxi last week heading to Des Bishop in the Everyman and you could hear the surprise and sympathy in the taximans voice when I said I wasn't meeting anyone there (coming home is very funny by the way, there is talks about him doing another gig in March next year with the same material) I think or at least I think I think that by spending time on your own you really get to know yourself, if you don't know yourself properly how will anyone else get to know you

When I was a teenager I was always afraid my wanting to hang out with my friends was somehow inconveniencing them, I always felt I was the one asking to do things and meet up and if I didn't get a text near to the time of the hanging out the other person didn't really want to do the thing so I would not push it.

Even as an "adult" I found myself asking if anyone wanted to do something by putting a question up in Facebook, often times deleting it as no one would reply to the status and that wasn't helping with my thoughts of inconveniencing people

So I started doing things on my own going to places and experiencing things. On occasion my friends do these things with me but I am now fine with doing things alone

I started this when I was about 17
This wasn't even my idea actually, it was my aunts. The summer before I'd had an awful boring time so I had decided i wouldn't let that happen again. I happened to be visiting some family and my aunt
recommended I go to German college for a few weeks to prepare me for the leaving cert (for you Irish people German college is just like Irish college and for non Irish people, Irish/German college is a thing you go to in the summer continuously for three weeks where you only speak that language. You have classes and play sports and do other activities, and no English speaking is allowed). I jumped at the chance to be doing something for three whole weeks and signed up straight away. I was a bit nervous but a girl who i was in primary school with was there and everyone there was friendly out. It was a tough few weeks but I got through it and had friends in no time really.



The next big thing was college.
I didn't even know where Dundalk was when I accepted the place, I just so wanted to get a place I jumped at the chance to go to the other side of the country ( I realise Ireland is small but it's still the other side of the country!) i went to a town I didn't know into an apartment with people I didn't  know and into a college where there was one other chap from my town who has been told to look out for me. Again it was daunting to go there and do things but it was also such an adventure, heading out for
a Bacardi breezer on a Monday with a group of people who didn't know you but were nice enough to include you is such a nice thing to happen to you, with sugary alcohol in me I could talk away to anyone and have a giggle dancing away with my new friends

The february of first year I was busy making plans for the summer. I had gotten a ticket for oxygen (the festival, it was still cool in 2009) and then out of the blue my dad calls me and tells me he thinks it would be a good idea to go on a J1 and stay with my aunt in Santa Barbara (A J1 is a visa Irish students can get to go the US from the end of May until early September). This announcement kinda startled me, as this idea seemed to come from no where and I knew people usually went on J1s in fairly big groups with 12 people staying in a one bedroom apartment and never stayed with their aunts. But off I went and organised this visa and in no time (via London San Francisco and LAX) I was in Santa Barbara. This was a new challenge as I had to get a job and didn't have an immediate way to make friends like the way I had in German college and actual college. My aunt basically arranged a play date for me with her friends niece who was there from Canada for the summer, which was totally handy really. After about 2 weeks I had a job in an Irish bar, after telling the manager I was going to stalk him until he gave me a job, true story...
He also hired another Irish girl who actually was there with friends and there was a good few people staying in hers, she invited me over a few times and I hung out with my arranged friend, and got friendly with the other staff at the bar, we went for a thank god the World Cup is over party in a proper American bowling alley where they routinely held big lebowski parties.

There was  a few time when I wanted to see other parts of California, kinda like an itch and I knew the people I knew would be working so I would go on my own. On one occasion I went to San Francisco which entails getting on a bus at midnight and waking up at 8 am in the city so that was cool. I really saw the benefits of traveling alone there, for example to walk from my hostel to the Golden Gate Bridge, walking the Golden Gate Bridge and returning to the hostel took an honest to god 6 hours I am not even kidding! I think if I had attempted this with someone else someone would have been killed. Obviously we could have taken a bus but instead I walked and walked and had a caricature drawn saw a lady gaga made from skittles, got an in and out burger, left said caricature at the counter, retrieved said picture and then once I arrived at the hostel while stretching my legs and making coffee got talking to two Australians and ended up having dinner with them and drinking captain Morgans till all hours, I just don't feel that would have happened if I had brought someone else along.

The following summer my dad (who clearly has great suggestions) suggested I come to London for that summer, he had a friend who would be able to get me a job in a hotel with accommodation and two meals a day (actually possibly it was three but I never was awake for breakfast). The brilliant thing with this job was there was people who I now lived with who were all not from England and were also looking for friends there was French Spanish Brazilian, Hungarian Australian and they were nearly all amazing. Within two days of arriving I was invited to go see Stonehenge with a group of them and off we went, the only problem being one of the Australians misheard my name and what he heard became the nickname I was stuck with for the summer (let's say it rhymes with lympho....)

I spent a good amount of time on my own also though. One night after reading Michael Caines book all night I knew I wouldn't be getting any sleep so went for a walk at five am. If you ever wanted to see Trafalgar Square empty the time to go is five am.  We spend the summer staying up all hours learning bits and pieces of other languages and while watching drawn together (an 18+ cartoon) I had to explain the term ballsack to one of my foreign friends. Other than the riots I had just an amazing time and I thoroughly recommend all people to spend a summer in a big city which does not sleep!

Since that summer there hasn't been a massive change of scenery which has led me to go off and do my own thing it's been more little things

Last year I went to Paris on my own. I spent a good three hours locating Coco Chanels original shop/ apartment and after proving I knew a bit about Chanel to the security man (she had this apartment but slept in the Ritz every night FYI) he allowed me in to see the mirrored staircase where an American lady and I had a fan girl moment, people had warned me about French people, but other than a bit of catcalling in French outside train stations (at least I think it was catcalls, my French is non existent) I had no problems whatsoever

I went to my first comedy show (mark Dolan) and first concert (Biffy Clyro) alone.
I've been out drinking in London and cork on my own.

Last week when I wrote about my trip to cobh and to gone girl (yes alone) I failed to mention a small issue that occurred that evening. I was in the first pub having a desperado (yum), it was about 9pm and I realised the only people I had spoken to were people who were working and therefore had to speak to me (I.e the lady I bought my tickets from, who I ordered my latte, cinema tickets and beer from) and I was hit with a dark cloud, I got upset over the fact that I had enjoyed the trip with no one there was no one who I could talk about gone girl with or who could admire Cobh with, I convinced myself in those three minutes that no one wanted to spend time with me anyway and i did get a bit upset with this thought. I did get over it and eventually went to a pub where I had a grand chat with some people about music and I had a dance with a chap and ended up kissing someone at the end of the night who told me they were glad they met me, that still doesn't take from the fact that as much as I enjoy doing things I can get lonely. I can talk to anyone (not tooting my own horn or anything but I can) but sometimes I've no desire to talk to people and sometimes people just don't want to talk to me and that's ok. Feeling lonely is ok, I wouldn't like to feel it frequently if I'm honest. After the mini crisis I made it a mini mission to
reconnect to a few people so I don't have to be alone if I don't want to. I'm proud my friends are off having adventures in Dublin and London and it seems to be difficult to meet new people to chat with when you reach your 20s, this is something i know I have to work on, but I know I can keep myself company when needs be.