August 2014, 25 years old
Location: Grafton Lakes, NY Activity: Renting a Kayak
Reflection written then:
At some point, I realized I wasn’t important in my own life. How ridiculous is that? To realize that you aren’t the center of your life. I mean you should be your world, your WHOLE world. I am not my whole world. No, not at all. I don’t even think I’m top 10 priority in my own world. To be quite frank, I’m not even sure I even like myself right now.
This is why I need to do these dates. I need to establish that I am the most important person in my world. I feel selfish saying that or thinking that at this point but I feel like we should all think that way? Shouldn’t we? I don’t know but I feel like I need to do these dates to find out who I am, to become the me I want to be before I look for someone else to complete those voids. I want to learn to love myself like those girls in the movies, the ones who rock the world alone. I don’t want to need someone to do every little thing.
That’s the thing. It goes beyond dating and being needy to people I date. I need people to do EVERY LITTLE THING. I’m the kind of person who needs other people to do anything. I need a person to go for a run with, to go to the park with, to shop with, TO DO EVERYTHING WITH. No wonder I’m miserable about being single. I don’t even know how to be alone. I don’t know how to physically be alone even.
So this is where we start. This is where I’m at. I am going to do it. I am going to do things alone.
Christ, I’m terrified.
Finding: Sometimes we must do things that are terrifying because they are important.
I mean there’s a reason I don’t like to do things alone. People think things about someone that’s alone. Like why is she alone? Why on earth? SHE MUST BE A MONSTER!
There’s some psychology behind why people don’t like being alone. I feel like every person at this beach is judging me right now. They must be thinking “that girl is a psycho who has no friends. SHE’S A MONSTER.”
I feel defensive. I might just scream out “I DO HAVE FRIENDS!” Okay, Michie don’t do that. Let’s be cool here.
I walked up to the window and asked for a kayak… She didn’t seem to think I was crazy. She was nice. Yea, okay a lot of this might be all in my head.
Finding: No one thinks you’re a monster when you’re alone.
Just 6, 2020, 30 years old
Wow! Looking back at this, I can say I know how that girl feels. I have definitely found myself in this place more than once in my life.
I am shocked I wrote something about running because at that time, I hated running! I guess I always had to run for practices and rugby, but I can’t see myself doing that ever at that time. I guess I CERTAINLY would not have done it alone. Well, hi hello, I run 2+ miles a day now!
The past is skewed for those who don’t write!
When I started writing about the dates, this was my exact intention. I wanted to be able to return to these writings when I needed to. When I needed means when I lost the person I wanted to be, the person I WANT to be.
This date is very special to me because later in life, I would work on DBT- Dialectical behavior therapy, a subset of CBT- Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. In this therapy, I found one of the best coping mechanisms during panic attacks is to picture a place of calm. Once I can remove myself from a situation, get away from people, and sit– this is what I do and this is what I pull from the memory files. I picture myself on a kayak by myself for the first time, the water like glass. I wished I brought sunglasses, so instead I just closed my eyes for a little bit and relaxed in the boat. In that moment, I had a glimpse of finding myself, feeling like myself.
We all lose ourselves sometimes. I got so caught up in the hustle bustle of the world, I stopped putting time into myself.
Solo dates were the best thing for me because they were solely about me and getting myself to feel great and be happy.
Happy people are better teachers. Happy people are better friends. Happy people bring people around them up.
I am not saying if you are not happy, you are not worthy. I am merely stating the goal. The goal is always to strive for happiness, whatever that is in your life.
I have found, though this sounds like a selfish task, that it is not. In fact, making yourself happy makes you a better friend.
Finding: When you are being good to yourself, you are naturally good to others.
ALSO WRITE WRITE WRITE!