If you’ll be so kind, I’d like to share an anecdote from yours truly.
Yesterday after parting from my friends, I was strolling around in a department store when I saw a huddle of people. Curious, I went over and saw they were waiting to have a go at an instant photobooth set up for the brand YSL.
As each group of friends entered and came out with beaming smiles, I became more interested to have a go. The only problem was that I was outrageously alone. Although I’m sure no one else around would give a damn, I myself felt very self conscious. Maybe it’s because whilst I love to have alone time, I have never been one to do typically couple/group things like go to the movies, all by myself.
I had been lining up, and as it got nearer and nearer to my turn I thought about just dashing. I know it sounds silly but I felt a bit ridiculous for wanting to take these photos, despite not having anyone to take them with me.
When it finally got to my turn, I thought, what the hell! I want to take these damn photos, so dammit, I’m going to take them! As I waited for the timer to count down from a painstakingly long twenty seconds, I saw someone approaching me from the other side.
Much to my horor, it was a YSL lady who came to tell me that the photo booth was only for customers and that I definitely shouldn’t be using it. There had been no signs or attendants monitoring the machine, so this was completely unbeknownst to me. What a faux pas!
The timer was clicking down for my second photo, and I didn’t know what to do. Finally, she begrudgingly said I could finish taking the photos. She stood there, staring at me stone faced as it neared the time of the flash. I wanted to just slink away because as you can imagine, it was really very awkward!
But then, in my second bout of dogged attitude, I thought I should just finish what I wanted to do. I’d worked myself up to this point, I couldn’t abandon my plan now, right?
The whole time, she was staring menacingly at me as if I was some sort of delinquent. It was only a couple of minutes through and through, but it felt horrendously long. I managed to finish, stupid poses and all (!), despite the utter awkwardness of it all.
(Yeah, not going to be a model anytime soon!)
As soon as I was done she huffingly turned the machine off, and I walked away, a bit embarrassed but mostly proud to hold that strip of photos in my hand.
I know this experience might only have some odd significance to me, so if you even just got a bit of a chuckle out of it that’s good to hear.
But maybe- and I know this is stretching it- if you’re someone like me that often feels awkward about doing certain things solo, or feels painfully self conscious at certain times, or even just feels reservation about pushing yourself out of your comfort zone you can take but a pinch from my photo booth story.
I know I neither did anything nor am saying anything here that is revolutionary in the slightest. I’m sure some people reading this think I’m being too trite. But my point wasn’t to say anything you haven’t heard before. Rather, I thought I’d share this for myself to look back on one day, and also, to highlight to anyone who can empathise with my feelings that sometimes pushing yourself out of your comfort zone and just saying “hey, you know what, I’ve got this” is important. Because, at least speaking personally, when you’re by yourself it’s easy to feel like you lack certain qualities that to everyone else, you seemingly have.
I think how we are around others and by ourselves is more often than not vastly dissimilar. I know that I’m almost two different people when in company and by myself. Often when I’m alone I feel as if all my insecurities come out to play in full force. This is probably why I’m very social most of the time, because that side is relatively a lot more self-assured, amongst other more favourable traits compared to my solo self. Given the stark difference between these two sides, I often wonder which part is “truly” me. But really, it would make sense to say they both are, wouldn’t it?
Trying to be OK with being just by myself is something I’ve been working on slowly for a while. Scrap that, I- we- should be aiming to be just as comfortable being by ourselves as with other people. Just as fun, just as confident, just as outgoing. Of course, there’s always going to be a difference between social you and alone you, but if that dissonance makes you feel uncomfortable, maybe it’s worth looking into why.
Ultimately, this whole issue isn’t even about being “alone”, it’s more about trying to be more comfortable with exactly who you are. Because it’s not the fact that you’re alone that makes certain things uncomfortable, it’s that being alone forces you to just focus on you and possibly confront those feelings, emotions or traits that you can usually keep at bay. When you’re by yourself there’s no one else to help you deflect or ease discomfort, no one else to encourage you to step up and try but yourself.
That is why those silly photos and this whole silly story means a lot to me- both parts and all.
I’d love to hear any stories you’re willing share of pushing yourself out of your comfort zone or any thoughts on what I wrote. Please leave a comment below- I’m looking forward to hearing from you! 🙂