I am all about self-love these days. It’s taken me forever to realise but I am rather excellent if a little bonkers, and I need looking after 24/7. I must put myself first.
I have always struggled with saying no to invites to parties or dinner with friends for multiple reasons. I would feel scared to share simple explanations like being extra tired or simply too poor to afford an adventure. I’d often go along to these things anyway and exhaust myself, or spend money I didn’t have just because I was afraid to speak up and do me. Funnily enough, since I’ve started saying yes only to the things I genuinely want to do, I’ve realised that my friends – because they are my friends – don’t actually mind it when I say no.
I have started up my own self love sessions recently. Ooh err, I realise how that sounds and no, I don’t just mean those sessions. Those are great too, and very important for self-love, but I mean just…making time for me.
If I have time to kill between meetings in London, or an extra hour or so before starting a shift at work, maybe even a night when I have the house to myself, I examine myself and work out what I need at that moment. Then I do exactly that. Again, I am not talking exclusively about wanking…
Recently I took myself out for coffee. This doesn’t sound particuarly revolutionary or out of the ordinary, but this time was different. I didn’t take my laptop with me, or take my phone out of my bag at any point. It was stashed away, with the sound off and securely on airplane mode. This is pretty much a big deal since I tweet random thoughts at any given point. I just ordered my drink and happily sat in a corner with my book. I read 300 pages of a young adult proof and I was utterly absorbed in it, only pausing to gulp down my coffee. With so much going on lately, I’ve been majorly slacking on reading. This short period of ‘me time’ really helped; my mind was able to breathe. I was on a roll at this point, I even decided to take myself out to dinner(!).
I haven’t gone on a solo date since I was at uni and worked at my local small chain cinema. I’d finish a shift there early evening and then follow the crowds I’d just served into the screen to watch the latest Johnny Depp flick, a glass of red wine in hand and free bucket of popcorn in the seat next to me. I never found that weird, probably because it was my workplace. Yet I have never taken myself out for dinner. Again, it wasn’t a big deal. It was a busy evening in London, I went to one of those cute Leon cafes.
I still felt a little pang of fear though. ‘What if I get looked at and judged?’ ‘Will I look tragic, sitting eating alone?’ ‘Can I make an excuse, maybe that I’m waiting for someone?’
I persevered and set my sights on a cosy little booth out of the way. I dumped my belongings, plugged my phone into the socket under the seat and ordered a sweet potato falafel salad box. I sat by myself, watched people pass me by, and continued reading my book. All in all, I was there for about forty minutes. After a while, I stopped caring about being on my own and it was magical.
My first dinner date was a tremendous success. I may take it up a notch and take myself out for some drinks next time. I think everyone can benefit from solo dates and spending more time with themselves. Life moves so fast, we all need time to check in with ourselves. Even if only for a minute.
– Grace Latter