For a really long time in high school, I was terrified to be alone. A very big part of high school is ‘fitting in’, or so it seems to be. I hated that I allowed the social aspect of high school to take over the real point of going to school: to learn. From experience, I know that a bad day in my book meant that something negatively happened socially. Maybe it was that I felt no one noticed me at school, maybe it was that I sat at lunch with a group of people and was making small talk just to avoid sitting in silence.
All in all, high school was not the best time of my life, nor should it have been. In all reality, high school is four years of your life. If those four years of the second decade of your life are the best years of your existence, you never really lived. Anyway, high school definitely tested my confidence. It was hard to be your own person at my alma mater, as it was extremely cliquey. Though we embraced differences, if your differences did not fit into a certain category- you were left to survive alone. I would walk to my classes alone, where I would sit down at my desk and partake in forced small talk with my classmates because I felt like that was necessary. I thought being the quiet one would scream “lacks self confidence” and I wanted nothing to do with that. Though the people at my high school were not exactly my cup of tea, those four years spent trying to fit in only showed me how important it is to be your own person.
Before coming to college, I swore I would never be that person who goes to the cafe alone. I did not want to be that girl who took a social activity such as eating, and made it into an antisocial event. I felt insecure about being alone.
Now that I am at college, I have learned the beauty of being by myself. I have also killed my insecurity. There comes a time in your life when you have to realize that always having people with you never allows for personal growth. As much as I absolutely love my friends at school- and boy do I love them- I plan out time to be by myself. In order to stop my insecurity from coming back, I make a point to eat at least one meal a week alone and to spent at least one hour a day alone. Not only do I find being constantly surrounded by people a to be a distraction, but I also feel that it holds me back from doing the craziest things imaginable… like going to New York City, alone.
I have only traveled to NYC with a parent once in my life. My first trip to the city alone was when I was fifteen… but I was meeting up with my aunt who was at the airport waiting for me. Fast forward two years later and I was back in town for Fashion Week. Once again, I had friends waiting for me. When I went to NYFW this Fall, I was with my roommate. I have never been to NYC just by myself until my recent trip at the beginning of my Fall break.
Though I was in town for HPU in the City, I still had a day to spend alone. Yes, this caused my anxiety to rise. But it also brought me more excitement than I can summarize.
When I think of a confident person, I always think of someone who is comfortable being alone. I have always been an independent person, I have always ‘done my own thing’, but I have not always been comfortable being alone. This was a true test to see if I really have overcome my insecurity
I hopped of a plane at LGA with a tad bit of anxiety. I called an Uber, headed off to my hotel, dropped off my luggage, and strutted my way to the subway. Turns out that Google Maps took me to the Bloomingdales in SoHo rather than the flagship store… I was lost in New York City and I could not have been any happier.
Since I was on my own time, I decided to take advantage of my “Find Me Gluten Free” app and ended up wandering to this amazing Japanese crepe shop.
I walked into every single store that caught my fancy. I made conversation with the salespeople and was able to really learn about their lives. I even made it to Ralph’s Coffee, finally.
Being on my own agenda allowed me do something I have always wanted to do- get lost in New York.
Long story short, spend time alone. It will teach you a lot about who you are and help you to understand and conquer your insecurities.
And as always…