5 Ways to Attend an Event Alone and Not Feel Like You’ll Die
“It takes stamina to roll with you, you know.”
The words hit me in the center of the chest. More proof I’m too much. Too energetic. Too enthusiastic, say “fuck” too much. Too whatever…and that makes me not enough somehow. After I allowed the words to do their mean little triggering thing in me I remembered to pause.
Yeah, it does take some stamina to roll with me. I’m a goddess after all. A fucking badass, hippie, warrior goddess of love. And if you can’t roll with that, I’m finally okay with it.
Okay until I have to show up at an event alone, that is. The voices pipe up a few octaves and whatever confidant goddess status I woke up with shatters and morphs into a three-year-old, powerless little girl who’s afraid of being bad, wrong, or too much. She just wants you to like her.
She’s so quiet. Her voice is non-existent. That’s a survival mechanism she’s mastered, that doesn’t serve her new passion of standing at a microphone reciting sexy poetry to whoever will listen. Like last night.
I sat at that little table at Busboys last night, a place I’d promised myself I’d go for years…alone.
The tables all around me filled. Strangers and friends showed up. None of them joined me. There were three open seats at my table in a packed house. Did I smell? I wondered. Well that’s stupid; I did just shower and slather on some Lovespell. Am I so different somehow that people were afraid to sit there? Am I too old? Too white? Too…SHUT UP! I had to shut it down.
You know the inner critic? She was dancing around in my head, throat and chest with her tap shoes on. She was messing with the mojo I so desperately needed to hang onto if I was going to stand on that stage and read a poem to the crowd.
I took more deep breaths.
It’s okay, goddess. They just don’t know you yet. I tried to soothe myself.
A moment from my kindergarten classroom seeps into my fifty-year-old brain. They smeared paste on my forrest-green sweatshirt and ran away laughing. I sat by myself, again. For most of those elementary school years.
I was not popular in middle or high school either, but being an athlete gave me a safety net. At least soccer worked because everyone had to speak to each other. I figured I could call these girls friends because we were on the same team. Off the field, all bets were off.
All of these thoughts hit me at once last night, while I sat and breathed, wondering who thought what about me sitting alone at that little table, no girlfriend to laugh with, no date to hold hands with. What did that mean about me? I wondered. And did it even really matter anymore?
Answer is no, it doesn’t matter anymore. I don’t feel like I’ll die anymore when I go out and sit alone. My purpose burns so brightly inside me that when fear does its paralyzing dance, I grab hands and tango.
I used to get stuck. I was convinced being alone meant so many bad things about me. Today I just feel good, confident and relaxed and when that little-girl trigger tries to weasel its way into my heart, I remind her; you’re good enough. Not everyone can hang with you. And you wouldn’t want everyone to either!
This is about me, and hopefully you too. What happens when you think about going somewhere alone? Do you get your ass out of the house? I didn’t, for a really long time. A newly-divorced goddess with a business to run, I used many things as excuses not to put myself literally out there; wherever “there” might have been. I was happier at my computer, writing words without having to be “seen.”
But being seen, literally, in all your glory, makeup or no, nice outfit or pulled-together-at-the-last-minute one, feeling confident or not, is how you’ll connect to the people, places and inspiration waiting to create magic in your life.
Here are a few ways I figured out how to go out, alone, and not feel like I’d die:
- Stay in your body. As soon as you check out of the body and fall into your mind, you’ll be in a dark alley alone and all the survival mechanisms and triggers will kick in. Breathe for goddess sake. It’s okay, you’re not going to die, even if it feels like it! Staying in your body will anchor you in the present moment and help you not add the mental baggage that often takes you over the edge into anxiety. Connect with your senses; sound, touch, smell, vision, taste…and dwell there, instead of in the voices in your head.
- Remember this isn’t about you. When my mind goes off I remember to tell myself that nobody really cares about me so much. This is a good thing. It’s never really about you. Nobody is thinking all that nonsense about anything but themselves. The focus can then be about how you’ll present yourself energetically. Ask someone else a question and move the focus to them. It will help you ground and calm yourself.
- Change your energy. When you go out into the world your energy matters. How are you feeling? That’s the energy people feel. So if I’d stayed stuck in my doubt, fear and shame while I sat at that table, the fear’s what you would have felt when I took the stage. I did notice I was shaking a bit more than usual last night. I’m pretty sure I forgot to breathe when the MC called my name. I’ve learned I have to own it, (my goddess self) when I’m out alone. I have to step into the whole of me and be unapologetic about it, even if my mind is trying to tell me I’m a loser. (Yawn).
- Just practice. I had to practice all this a lot. Consider doing things that scare you a little as practice. Bring a notebook and write stuff down as you experience things. Get into your learning mindset and energy and it will shift the purpose of you sitting there alone. Look at people in the eye and then grab for your pen and write furiously. (That will keep them guessing.)
- Look for the opportunities. Instead of allowing your mind to pull you into the pit of fear and worry about what everyone thinks about you, why not just try being okay with what is? So nobody sat down with me. Maybe they were all shy too. Maybe it just wasn’t what was supposed to happen. I could have gotten my ass up and gone to sit with the people I knew too. So I’ve learned to stop blaming and start looking for the opportunities to think, believe and act differently. I do this by being aware of the triggers and the old, boring feelings they conjure up in me.
Things happen in our lives that leave us feeling all alone. Divorce. Death of a spouse or loved one. Breakup of a longstanding friendship. Loss of a job and/or a community. A move. It’s what we tell ourselves after those things happen that matters. It’s how we respond to our own triggers, the awareness we move into the world with and the actions we choose in the moment that create the change and magic we crave.
Be brave. Take responsibility for your feelings, thoughts, beliefs and actions. Especially when they relate back to yourself. Think about what your big mission is, even if it’s just to connect with other people, and get your butt out of the house without any expectations. Hey, the least that might happen is you have something to write about. (wink)
Laura Di Franco, MPT is the owner of Brave Healer Productions and a powerhouse who writes to Feng Shui her soul. She’s the author of Brave Healing, a Guide for Your Journey, her sixth book to help inspire your fiercely alive whole self. Join her and write words that build your business and heal the world. Schedule a call at www.BraveHealer.com