• Stephanie Hinds

So I Went Out By Myself Last Night

I’m reading The Alchemist. It’s a wonderful book. I’ve learned a lot about what it means to follow my “personal legend”.

So when I was driving home last night, I realized that unlike most nights, I didn’t want to go home and go to bed. I wanted to hear music. And I wanted to dance. That was my personal legend. For the night, at least.

It was Thursday. There were tons of places I could go on a Thursday. “But I’m alone,” I thought. “I can’t go alone.”

You’re probably reading this thinking, yes you can. And yes, I can. But being able to do something and actually having the courage to are two different things. We can run for President. We can go skydiving. We can shave our heads bald if we wish. But will we? Do we?

I drove around thinking about whether I had it in me to go to a party by myself. I had seen other girls do it. There were a few that I always saw when I was out and they were alone. But they didn’t seem lonely. They came, they had a drink, they danced. If they could do it, couldn’t I?

I parked my car in my driveway and left my purse in my car. I knew that if I left it in there and decided to stay home, I would have to go and get it, which is the halfway mark to going out entirely.

So I left my purse. I set up a trap for myself to get me to do what I wanted to do.

I went upstairs, changed into some jeans, tied my hair up and looked myself in the mirror as the Rocky theme song played from a magical speaker in the air. And then I got in my car and drove.

I can’t tell you why I had the thoughts I had while I was driving. But I can tell you what they were and perhaps you can relate.

Do I dance? Like, by myself?

How much should I be in my phone?

Do I buy myself a drink?

Do I look for other losers like me and try and make a coalition?

What time should I leave?

And what will I do with my hands?

When I entered the party, the music gave me a warm welcome and I knew I made the right choice. I walked over to the bar, I ordered a drink and I watched the sports recaps of the week. I sat there and said hello to a few people that I had known. And then I danced. Not in the middle. And not too far out. I just rocked back and forth all night long to the music that brought me there. And it was one of the best nights I’ve ever had.

We live in a society that praises independence while simultaneously discouraging us from being alone. Our culture praises cliques and the grouping of individuals together, even if it is founded upon shallow relationships and hollow principles. The dichotomy is so confusing that it’s awkward and challenging to be in our own company in public, despite our willingness, and even our desire to.

But by reading The Alchemist, I am learning to unconcern myself with those voices, those thoughts and those ideas, and instead listen to the desires of my heart and of my soul.

So last night, when I said and when I felt, “I want to hear some music,” it was louder than the “but you’re alone,” and the “you can’t go alone,” which I also said and felt.

You can feel a bunch of things. But you only have to pick one.

The thing is, I was so close to staying home. I was so close to settling. I was so close to letting the fears that have been pushed onto me by a series of cultural institutions and the ways of social media that I almost opted out of doing what I desired.

But I didn’t.

I even found the answers to my menacing thoughts.

Yes you dance. By yourself.

Don’t go in your phone. And I didn’t.

Yes, buy yourself a drink. But just one, you’re driving.

They’re not losers. Don’t look for them. And don’t make a coalition.

Leave when you feel content. Leave when you feel you got what you desired.

That’s a tough one. Act natural?

There’s a quote that is often repeated in The Alchemist and it reads, “When you want something, the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

I think that deep down inside we all know what we want. But I also think that there are a lot of things that get in the way and confuse us and trick us into thinking maybe we want something else. And despite knowing, we second-guess, for one reason or another. It’s not a terrible thing to second-guess, to think, to analyze and to consider. But it is a terrible thing to let those things get in the way of what you really desire.

So know. Second-guess. Analyze. And consider.

But follow your intuition. It only ever leads us to beautiful places.

Places that we belong.

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