For the longest time, I was almost afraid to do things by myself. Stuff like going to the movies or concerts, even eating out – it just seemed weird to do it alone. It’s like we were raised in a society to think that we have to do things with other people, like it is somehow not normal. You feel as if you’re being judged for wanting to be alone and taking on a social experience by yourself. For me, self-consciousness would set in. I’ve never been a sociable person to begin with, so to be honest, I really shouldn’t care what other people think (especially complete strangers), but that’s what happens. (I see the irony of being somewhat anti-social, when I was in fact, a sociology major in university.)
Pair that with the fact that I don’t have very many friends and the ones I do have sometimes have different tastes in music/movies than I do, or their entertainment budgets are less than mine, I didn’t have much of a choice but to start going to things by myself. It was the rare occasion at first: a movie every once in a while and then I slowly moved up to concerts.
The first concert I ever went to solo was Kelly Clarkson in 2012. For the life of me, I had yet to see my favourite female artist in concert. My friends do not share the same affection for Kelly Clarkson as I do, but I didn’t want to miss her coming through town again. I went back and forth about it for a long time, when about a week before the concert, I just said “F**k it” and got myself a ticket to go see Kelly. What happened at a result of that? I got Floor ticket, 2nd row from the stage. I WAS SO CLOSE TO KELLY! It felt weird in the before and after of the concert, but when I was in the venue, and just being there seeing my favourite singer perform, nothing else mattered.
In 2013, Sara Bareilles embarked on a solo tour she called the “Brave Enough” tour, where it was just her performing with no band behind her. If you’ve read her interviews around this tour or read her book, this was a big deal. My sign of solidarity for her was being brave enough to go to the show myself.
And after that? Well, I still went to the majority of concerts with friends. But when it became apparent that it was getting more difficult to plan outings like this (considering the costs especially), I started to say “the hell with it” and went to even more shows and concerts by myself. Kris Allen, Shaping Sound, Jessie J, The Script, So You Think You Can Dance, David Cook – all shows that I went to solo in the past year and a half.
What I found was that, though I love having the company of my friends, it’s sometimes just so much easier to go do things solo. I don’t have to coordinate plans with anyone, consider anyone else’s wants/needs. I can go on my own accord, schedule my day however I want to, and then lose myself in the music/dance/movie/environment for 2 hours. On top of that, lately I’ve been more sure of myself (which really, at 28, seems like a long time coming). When I went to the SYTYCD tour in January of this year, my purpose was to meet Jessica ‘JJ’ Rabone, whom I love and adore because she’s also a Paris By Night dancer. The show was at Hamilton Place, a venue I didn’t go to often so I had to do my research ahead of time to figure out where the stage door was. After the show, I asked around to see how I could meet the dancers and the answer was pretty much “You have to be an invited guest.” I was determined and not taking that for an answer, so I walked around the building, making my way to stage door and just as I got there, one of the crew members was walking by and I asked her “Is this where I can meet the dancers?” She’s like “Yeah, come on in!” directing me and a small group of people who had also waited, back inside. Next thing I knew, I was inside the theatre with all those ‘invited guests’ and brought to meet the dancers! Made my way straight to JJ, who I had tweeted earlier that I was going to find a way to meet her, and had a nice little conversation with her! I probably wouldn’t have been able to do all that had I gone with a friend, because I know they wouldn’t want to and I’d feel bad if I made them do it (I’m selfless like that). Plus, ya know as years go by, it gets weirder going to the tour and the majority of the dancers are younger than me.
Same thing when I went to Toronto Comic Con in March. I only went on Saturday because that’s when everybody I wanted to see had their panels. It just worked out beautifully that I had time between each panel to roam the floor a bit. My schedule was: Killjoys panel, roam the floor, Will Friedle panel, floor for 20 minutes then head back in line to ensure I get a ticket for Dark Matter signing, Dark Matter panel, Dark Matter signing, Robbie Amell panel, floor, home. I could only do that here in Toronto and by myself; no way would I be able to do that at SDCC! So yeah, before the Dark Matter panel, I noticed Kristian Bruun from Orphan Black so I went to say hi to him, talk to him for a bit, and get a picture. At Robbie’s panel, Italia Ricci (Chasing Life, Supergirl) was also there, because they’re just an adorable couple. Anyways, after the panel I was about to leave when I thought “Let’s go see Italia!” Lots of other people had that thought as well, so there was a small group around her asking for a picture. When I got to her, I talked to her about Chasing Life and how excited I am about her new show Designated Survivor with Kiefer Sutherland, Kal Penn, and one of my other favourite human beings, Maggie Q. At the end of the day, I gotta say, I was super proud of myself for keeping my awkwardness in check in front of Kristian, Italia, and the Dark Matter cast (even when Melissa O’Neil and Anthony Lemke said they remembered me from SDCC)!
And going to the movies solo? Yeah, it’s a normal thing for me now. Like, for some of the big blockbuster movies, I used to wait and go see it with my sister and brother-in-law. I still do that for some movies, but for others, I just couldn’t wait for them so I would just go on my own. It’s to the point where, when I went to see Captain America: Civil War on the Thursday preview (because I REALLY COULD NOT WAIT), my sister was like “Yeah, I kinda figured you’d go without us.” For the record, they still haven’t found time to go see it, so yeah, I made the right choice.
Like I said before, I get so awkward and self-conscious in social situations that it kind of stopped me from doing things that I wanted to do sometimes. But nowadays, realizing that it’s perfectly fine to do things by yourself, and in fact, at times even better to do so? Well, the world is at your disposal, might as well go enjoy it! Honestly though, I’m still learning to be more self-assured, to basically be who I am and enjoy the things around me. I’m seeing now, more than ever, that it’s okay to be alone. I’m independent, I don’t need anybody else to do anything.