Today I did something crazy. Something that I wouldn’t normally do. Something that would normally terrify me.
I sat in a cafe (okay, a coffee shop’s seating area in a food court, but c’mon, slim pickings in PosyTown) by myself, while I had a coffee and read the paper.
Sure, this seems like no big deal, people do this all the time, but for me, this is a Very Big Deal.
I am a little skittish when out in crowds. I feel unsettled and exposed. I think the defining moment for me was when I was 16 and waiting by myself at the bus depot after school to catch my bus home – I was randomly approached by a group of four people (that I didn’t know and had never seen before), and punched in the face. When I tried to run into the shopping centre to find my friends to see if they could drive me home, I was attacked again. Having rocks thrown at me and being spat on as I walked home from school when I was eight years old and lived in a remote community probably didn’t help much either. The thought of that incident must be more traumatic than it actually was, however, as my parents tell me I was quite unperturbed about it at the time.
For a long time I was scared of my own shadow. I avoided crowds – shopping centres, markets, festivals, the cinema on a Tuesday or Saturday night. I never went back to that depot and it took me quite some time before I would catch a bus again. To this day I still startle very easily, if a friend sneaks up or somebody quickly races up behind/past me. More than a decade on, while I’m fine when out and about on my own, I’m never really at ease, and I tend to rush through whatever errands I need to run.
I’m not averse to my own company – it has taken time, but I’d go as far to say that, to an extent, I enjoy it. If I spend too much time alone, I do tend to think too much, and can wind up a little emotional – but that is another post for another day. It is a good thing that I enjoy my own company, because Mr Posy works a lot, and there is only so much that you can expect your friends to babysit you on weekends. Now that I’m finished with study, I’ve found myself with a lot of extra spare time on my hands. And I’m starting to go a little bit spare, sitting at home on my own. This morning, I decided that I was going on a coffee date with myself.
It was bliss. I sat and flicked through the newspaper at a leisurely pace while sipping my coffee. I people-watched. I checked Twitter. I had a quick chat with a friend while she waited for her coffee. In that moment, I sat there in my own little world. And I started to make plans for my next solo coffee date – in a cafe with actual crockery.