With or without you.

The thought of going to the movies or dinner yet alone a concert alone is unimaginable for many people but not me. See a few years ago I adopted a ‘with or without you’ mentality and vowed to myself that I would never let the absence of another human being dictate whether I would do something or not. Because of this mentality I’ve been able to see places I’ve always wanted to see, ate food I constantly dreamt of and got to see my favorite artists live in concert.

I’ve always been a loner. I used to hate this about myself when I was young. During our summer vacations our parents would ship us off to Swaziland to visit my Gogo. My cousin and sister were the socialites of the village.  They would wake up every single morning get ready and wonder about for hours only returning when hunger pains struck. Everyone knew them and looked forward for their return.  I on the other hand slept until 10AM followed by watching some Swazi-tv (reruns of every old soapie you can think of). I would then read every single magazine, newspaper, book I could get my hands on, more reruns and multiple naps in between. I was just never intrigued by going out and its only gotten worse throughout the years. I mean I love clubbing but once or twice a year is enough for me. I secretly rejoice when people cancel their plans with me and I would still choose reading a good + multiple naps over going out.

But during my high years I made a conscious effort to go out. By conscious effort I mean I was out partying every single weekend during grade 11 and 12. I wanted to be a normal social teenager that gives their mother grey hairs about going out and not the one who sat home with her mother on Friday night watching the Bachelorette together. I have to admit I had a lot of fun and met a lot of awesome people but I would never do it again. It’s just not for me. My sister on the other hand has been going out since she was 14 and nothing has slowed her down (not even a baby, full-time job and studies). She literally gets a kick out of going out. She comes alive in the midst of chaos. I on the other hand get turned on by the smell of new books.

After my little rebellious stunt, starting at university and moving out of home I came into my own. I mean really comfortable in myself and my life choices. Since the crowd I had kept wasn’t very interested in the things that set my soul on fire, I found myself doing a lot of things alone. A lot of things that most people wouldn’t dare to do alone like going to a concert. Yes, I went to a concert all by myself. I love Justin Bieber and no around me not loving him wasn’t going to stop me from loving him.  I love to eat (like a lot) so I started taking myself out for lunches and dinner. I got a lot of stares at first from people but with time I think I stopped caring what people thought and most of the time I now forget there are people are around me. I’ve seen more movies alone than I have with other people. My friends and family think I’m crazy and constantly applaud me because as most of them say “omg I could never go alone.”

A lot of the things I do alone are considered activities for couples. And I call bullshit on that. I have a theory: We have been groomed to believe these activities are for couples because the companies want us to bring someone along so they can make more money. Call me crazy but I really do believe this. Of course having someone else there makes things special and yes sometimes I do really awesome shit and wish someone else was there but I will not let the absence of another mean I do not get to experience things I love. So maybe you’re a social butterfly like my sister or a loner like me, either way you need to learn to be comfortable enough to experience life’s greatest treasures alone. Alone may seem like a scary place but it’s actually very liberating.

Think of how many things you didn’t get to experience because somebody bailed on you. Next time you make really important plans kindly remind the person you’re inviting that with or without you, I’m still going.

With love, Nollie.

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