November 17, 2018

Admit One: Stepping Outside My Comfort Zone

By Nicole Goodman

 

There are many cultural norms in our generation that are aimed to attack individuals. In the past, I believed that people who went to the movies alone signified that they were lonely, unwanted, and straight up creepy. This is until I became one of them.


After long anticipation, a movie came out based on a book I recently read. I was excited to compare and contrast the differences between the two; it is always interesting to see how similar a book plays out in movies vs. your imagination. I had a plan set up to see this movie with a friend, but when the plans fell through, it felt like I was out of options. After failed attempts to find someone to see the movie with me I made the conscious decision to go alone.


While on my way to the theater I contemplated how I would feel sitting alone, watching friends, couples, and families enjoy the movie. I wondered if my head would take me to dark places or whether people would think I was weird, just as I viewed solo moviegoers in the past.


To my surprise, it started out as a great experience. While standing in line to buy popcorn and soda, this young couple started a great conversation with me almost as if they knew I was alone. After explaining the situation to them, the girl raved about how brave I was and how she would never be able to go by herself to a movie. I think it was in the middle of the movie where I realized my psychic change. Out of nowhere, my head got pulled from the screen and I felt as if I had been in a different world for the past hour or so. I was so engaged, without any distraction from someone whispering in my ears, that I truly felt I was in the movie. I haven’t had a movie experience like that since I was a little girl—it was so refreshing! After the movie was over, I quickly got up from my seat, walked out of the theater, passed the bathroom and went straight to my car with a huge smile on my face. While driving home I thought about why going to the movies was such a scary idea for me in the past.


Before I got to Beit T’Shuvah, my whole thought process was different. I loved and hated to be alone at the same time. I was so miserable alone and was stuck in such darkness, but at the same time, I loved it because it allowed me to pity myself, which then made me feel worse. I was addicted to being low. I assumed that people who went to movies alone thought like I used to—sad, unwanted, and desperate for life. I didn’t realize that there is another side to it.


This time, I went alone but I wasn’t really alone; I had everything I have learned in the past three years with me. I have learned to be confident, truly confident, instead of just pretending to be so on the outside while crying on the inside. I have learned to love myself for both the good and the bad. I have realized that sometimes life is difficult and I have to learn how to embrace it. I have learned that just because I am alone, that doesn’t mean that I am afraid. I am secure enough with myself today to go the movies alone and appreciate all the positive things around me instead of dwelling on the unavoidable. My adventure to the movies alone was one of the most empowering experiences I have ever had. Knowing this now, and thinking about all the judgments I’ve made, raises the question of what else I have missed out on in my life due to my inability to see outside myself. I encourage you to step outside your comfort zone and find a new experience based on a judgment you used to hold. You might just find yourself pleasantly surprised.