The circus came to town…not the animal circus, the people kind. The one where they have acrobats and magicians, there’s a massive spinning wheel that people hang off of, do death-defying stunts, people cheer and watch as people are thrown in the air.
In that hour you witness the magic and beauty of the circus. It’s easy to fall in love with the illusions and performance; it’s just all so breathtaking.
As a kid I never got a chance to see the circus, I always hated the idea of animal circus’s, I thought it was cruel and inhuman, making animals perform day in and day out, I couldn’t see them being looked after. But as I got older I would see adverts of human circuses, more like gymnastic and acrobatic performances and I always told myself I would go, but I’d either forget or I just wouldn’t have time.
Recently a circus came to town, it was just down the road from me and I was so desperate to go. For once I barely had any excuses and I hinted at Norbert to take me. Unfortunately, not all men are born with the ability to take hints and actually understand what is being asked of them and by the time I realised that Norbert had not actually cottoned on that I wanted to go to see the circus and wasn’t planning a surprise date night, it was too late. There were only a few nights left before the circus was due to move on and Norbert was going to be working late nights and wouldn’t be able to come with me.
For a while I was really frustrated, I felt like I was going to be missing out an experience I had been writing about for so long but also that my partner just didn’t understand that I had so badly wanted to go. I will be super honest and say I was mad at him because I felt like he never really could do subtle hints and even when I told him I wanted to go it didn’t click to him that I was asking him to take me.
Then it hit me, I didn’t need Norbert to take me anywhere. I wasn’t a dog waiting for my owner to take me out for a walk, I’m my own person.
If you’re anything like me, going anywhere by yourself is a truly terrifying experience. I get so conscious, like if I’m walking on my own or shopping alone that people are looking at me with pity. On this occasion my need to see the circus far outweighed my social anxiety. I figured it would be dark in the tent and people would be too focused on the show than to pay me any attention. So I took a deep breath and bought myself a ticket.
That night I got myself all dressed up, I took 2 hours to do my hair, I chose my perfect date night outfit, I even bought myself a nice pair of heels like I used to do before a night out. I did my makeup, sprayed my perfume and decided if I was going to date myself, then I would go the whole way and take myself out for a nice dinner.
So I did, I went into a restaurant, saw so many people on dates or family meals. I held my head up with pride, this was a perfectly normal, adult thing to do I kept telling myself. I got seated by a really nice waiter, he didn’t judge me or look at me funny. I ordered something I wouldn’t usually order because it was a special night. I was doing something different and I just wanted to be adventurous. I have to say aside from not being able to talk to anyone, which is my favourite part about having meals, the communication and social side, I had a really nice dinner. I ate at my own pace (when I eat with other people they always comment on how slow I am) I didn’t feel pressured to rush, I really enjoyed myself.
As I had a little time before the show started I decided instead of getting public transport or a taxi to the venue I would walk. I strolled in the crisp evening, watching the sun set behind the trees, the air was cool but it wasn’t cold. I took my time to enjoy my surroundings, to really get an appreciation for the place I had called home for last year. I had been so busy with work and just being busy that it was rare for me to walk around the village. I was seeing my home for the first time and I just felt so peaceful.
I got to the venue a little early, it meant I got to choose prime seats, centre middle, everyone knows that’s the best place to sit for any performance. My gosh, the experience was everything I thought it would be like. I was captured by the magic of the whole evening. The performers were amazing; the crowd loved every trick and numbers. I took so many pictures, videos, and I just had such a nice evening.
Thinking about it now, it was so crazy that I almost missed this opportunity all because I was so afraid to go on my own. I had the most fun I had had in such a long time and I was so happy I was brave enough to take myself.
Because after all, self-love is such a simple thing that so many of us are guilty of forgetting. Somehow society has made us believe that going on a date with yourself is weird when it really isn’t. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying your own company. It doesn’t make you a loner or strange, it just means you’re confident enough to treat yourself and that you don’t need masses of people to have a good time.
Here are 10 things I learned from taking myself on a date;
- It’s good to treat yourself once in a while.
Whilst you’re busy being a grown up it’s good to stop every so often and think about how you’re treating yourself. So you’ve been pulling in overtime at work, you’ve stayed late or gone in early every day. You’ve been so busy and whilst financially and career-wise that’s good, how are you making yourself happy? Treating yourself is a good way of saying thank you to you, for all the hard work, for keeping yourself together. Treating yourself can be as big or small as you want, as long as you’re doing something that is making you happy then you can count it as a treat. My partner loves the evenings when he can sit on the sofa and fall asleep to the TV, whilst that’s not for everyone, he sees it as a treat he can give himself at the end of a long hard day. So go ahead and treat yourself, see how appreciative you will be and how much more you can offer to the world with a happy soul and mind.
- You shouldn’t miss out on an experience just because you have to do it alone.
Like I said, I was almost happy to miss out on an opportunity to see the circus all because I had no-one to go with. I would count that experience as one of the greatest things to happen since I moved to Croydon and if I hadn’t have gone, I wouldn’t have that happy memory. Being alone doesn’t mean you have to feel lonely. Chances are that restaurant or cinema will have another person who has gone on their own. You really shouldn’t pass up opportunities because you’re afraid to do it alone, there’s so much to see and experience and sometimes it’s a little more special when you can do it by yourself.
- Doing something solo can often lead to you meeting someone else.
Like I said above, with the world full of people, the chances of finding someone else doing something alone is quite high. I once went on a boat ride that was probably considered romantic on my own. In a sea (haha) full of couples, I actually found someone who wanted to go on the boat ride too and had no-one to go with. Whilst nothing romantic happened, we both ended up keeping each other company. As we hadn’t come together there was no expectation or pressure to keep a conversation going. We had nice friendly chats but we were also able to enjoy the peaceful silences watching the scenery around us. You can actually meet some great people when doing things solo, a lot of the times people will envy your courage for dong something alone and it’s a great conversation starter.
- Doing things solo can actually teach you vital social skills.
Yes, it’s amazing how being alone can make you think about social occasions. How dinner time can be done, what you can contribute to social gatherings. When there is an absence of a social scene it really makes you think about your approach to it.
- It’s important for you to self-love.
The hum drum of everyday life can make self-love forgotten. I’m not just talking about masturbation. It’s easy to show your love for others, it’s harder to show love for yourself. I think one of my pet peeves is hearing people complain how they don’t have anyone to buy them flowers or buy them a pretty gift but actually, it’s probably less of a fuss to do that yourself. If you think your room is going to be enhanced by having a vase of flowers then go and get yourself some. It isn’t just up to our partners, significant others, loved ones to show us, love, it’s so important we love ourselves too. It’s funny because so many of my blog posts have been about showing love to your fellow man, how you need to be nice to each other but rarely do any of us encourage people to love themselves. I think that is one of the most important things we can do to contribute to the happiness and peace of the world. I don’t believe someone who truly loves and cares about themselves has ever damaged this world. I feel like hatred, war, anger and evil stems from self-hatred. So don’t wait for someone to buy you flowers and chocolates, love yourself, show yourself the kind of love you hope to one day receive from someone else. It’s almost like teaching you the social etiquette, once you have figured out sweet and loving ways you make yourself feel loved, you’ll be able to figure out how to love someone else.
- Eating out alone is not actually as uncommon as you think.
I had a period of my job when I was constantly travelling around London. Sometime’s I would have such early starts and late finishes that carrying a meal for the day would just be impossible. I would either have to miss out on eating for that day or I would have to brave it and eat alone. At first, I chose the former because I was convinced eating out on my own was the most embarrassing thing. One particular day I had skipped lunch and dinner the night before and had skipped breakfast and lunch that day. When I discovered my meeting was cancelled and my next one wasn’t for another 2 hours, I almost cried right on the train. It was too late to go back home, I did not want to go into the office so I decided to just suck up my vanity and go eat. My partner is completely against Wagamama’s and hardly any of my friends liked it so I decided to take myself there. When I got there, the amount of people eating on their own surprised me. There were even solo tables for that occasion. I think the waiters/waitresses are good at sussing you, as my server lead me to a 2 people table which made me feel more comfortable eating on my own. Actually that first occasion I was grateful for that extra seat, it made me feel like to a passerby they would think I was waiting for someone to join me and was not all alone like I actually was. But from seeing all the other people eating on their own, not giving a damn what other people thought, I eventually overcame my fear of eating alone and is quite an enjoyable experience.
- There’s a lot of self-discoveries you can make by dating yourself.
When you’re dating yourself you can act completely yourself. You can be whoever you want to be because you don’t have anyone expecting you to be any particular way. I think this is such an exhilarating experience. You can either be the way you usually are or you can try something different. Whether it means trying out a new place to eat, wearing different clothes, going to an event you wouldn’t usually go to. There’s a lot that makes up a person and what better way to discover more about yourself than to take yourself on a date?
- No compromises have to be made.
You know those awkward moments in a date when you choose to share a starter or side and you know you can’t choose what you really want because you know that the person you’re sharing with doesn’t like it. Or how about agreeing to do an activity you know you’re going to hate all because you know your date loves it. Well, when you date yourself, you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to, you can eat whatever you want and you know you’re not going to end the night wishing you’d done it a different way. Your solo dates are all about you and you don’t have to make any compromises in order to appease anyone but yourself.
- Solo dates doesn’t always have to be doing what you would do on a regular date.
This is exactly as it says. Solo dating doesn’t mean you have to get dressed up and go out every time. Sometimes you can order in, watch tv, or read a book. It’s whatever you would class as time, you can spend relaxing and enjoying your own company. A date can be anything you enjoy doing in your own comfort. My favourite solo home date is Netflix and chilling alone. I’m never alone, though…I usually have Ben and Jerry with me.
- No-one can love you like you can love you.
This is the biggest lesson I’m going to tell you. You need to learn it fast so that you can live the best you loving you that you can live. No-one, not even your Mum will ever love you as much as you can love yourself. No-one will ever be able to treat you as well as you possibly can treat yourself. So many of us go through life not loving ourselves or treating ourselves well enough but really the capability is within us. With that in mind, we need to start granting ourselves the kindness and love we deserve. So if you find yourself wishing you had a Starbucks, go and take your book and have a Starbucks date. Did you see an advert for a movie you really wanted to watch? Go and rent that bad boy and plan a whole movie night for yourself. You don’t need a partner or friend to enjoy these things in life, show yourself that love that you so badly want, don’t wait for someone to come along when your true soulmate is right in front of you (if you’re facing a mirror). Honestly, the moment you show yourself the love you want, chances are someone will also come along and fall in love with your confident and happy self.
If I have to impart anything with you today it’s this; There is so much sad and evil things in this world and simple gestures of love go a long way. We don’t always need someone to give us the permission to be loved because we have the ability to love ourselves. It’s like how we shouldn’t let anyone give us our worth, because they will probably label us less than what we are, well if you give someone the responsibility to love you, and you don’t even bother to love yourself, then chances are you’ll probably not be loved the way you want to. Before you go expecting anyone to know how to love us, we have to learn to love ourselves first.
Do something to make your parents proud today, your kids proud someday but most importantly, you proud every day!
Peace and Love