“I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find out that I have just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well.” – Diane Ackerman
I cannot count the number of times I’ve said (incredulously!) to friends and clients, “Who cares what people think?! Are they payin’ your bills?!” I get worked up about it, because I love these people and want them to – in the words of Emile Zola – LIVE OUT LOUD! To live the length, the depth, the width and the breadth of their beautiful lives. (that rhymed, y’all) Saying, “Who cares what people think?!” rolls out of my mouth with enthusiasm and ease.
It turns out, what I say and what I do don’t always line up.
Yesterday, I veered out of my comfort zone. I momentarily dropped the imaginary bars which keep me from doing what I want because of my long-held fear that someone might think me odd. How do I keep forgetting that that ship sailed years ago? (and who cares?)
Anyway, I’d been wanting to see the documentary, Particle Fever, about the Hadron Collider and the discovery of the Higg’s Boson (in 2012 – it’s about damn time!), but could find no one interested in seeing it, so I shrugged and thought I’d just have to wait until it came out on DVD. Then a wild thought occurred to me – Hey! I could go by myself! (Oh hell, no!)
Yes, I know this seems obvious and mundane. Like, whoop-de-do. Actually, it’s a little embarrassing that I’d never considered it, but I’ve never seen a woman at a movie theater by herself, and I see a lot of movies, and for whatever reason, in my mind, going to a movie alone was simply not an option. Frightening! Like wearing white after Labor Day. It’s just not done. (Ridiculous! I shall add “Wear white after Labor day” to my bucket list.) I, like many people, have a motorcycle license and love to ride, have been a victim of a violent crime, have operated a bulldozer with little instruction, and taken the green subway line from the Bronx to China town at night whilst being taunted by local young men. But going to a movie alone? I’m sorry. One must draw the line. Boundaries, y’all.
It became a mission. First, I scarfed down my lunch – a little too quickly, if I’m being honest (and I am). Then, I changed clothes. Why? I wanted to make sure I looked “put together” – so that no one would think I was sad – or mad. Then I thought – Hey, I look too put together. (starting to sound a little mad, isn’t it?) Oh! I know! I’ll wear my Texas A & M t-shirt (my alma mater) because this indicates my inclusion in a group – Hey y’all, I’m part of a larger whole! I may be alone at the movies, but lookie here at my shirt – I belong to a school with many long-held traditions and from which Johnny Football emerged. (I know. Scoff, if you must. In fact, let’s pause for some eye-rolling. Hey, is that middle finger for me or Manziel?… Are you done?!)
Finally, I came to my senses, reminded myself that, indeed, no one gives a shit, and just dressed comfortably.
I drove an hour and a half to the Angelika in Dallas – because there is only one theater in north Texas that shows decent independent films – bought my single ticket, and entered the theater.
I glanced around, and everyone was in pairs, threes or fours. No sole viewers. That was okay. I sat down and enjoyed the film. That is all. Sorry to disappoint. There was no public shunning, popcorn hurling, or me curling into a ball and weeping. (I sit up straight when I weep!) I didn’t even trip walking up the stairs, which is a first.
As silly and small as this whole thing seems, it illustrates how some of us keep our lives smaller than necessary. How we live by imaginary “rules,” not even considering all of our options.
And how we sometimes give advice that we don’t live by. Funny. And Ridiculous.
(Great movie, by the way. But only if you’re interested in the ORIGINS OF THE UNIVERSE! no big deal. carry on.)