I have never been in a relationship, nor am I looking to have one. I’m sure that I’m not the only one who’s been asked by a rude relative why I’m not in one, and let me tell you, I am perfectly happy being in a relationship with myself.
BAE (Before Anything Else)
I didn’t have a lot of friends in high school because I was never one to want to hang out after classes. I would always want to head home as early as I can, so I could finish my homework in bed and with no pants on. Still, I felt jealous when I see my classmates post on Facebook their afternoon get-togethers or their sundae runs to McDonald’s every Thursday. I made an effort to join them, and I regretted not joining in on the fun earlier.
Later on, I moved to Manila for university, and most of my friends didn’t go to the same university as I went to. If they did, they were in different degree programs that just didn’t put us in the same classes. As much as I wanted to make new friends and try to keep the same vibe I had in high school, I couldn’t commit to new friendships. For one thing, I didn’t live near the university. It was a short but tiring commute because of the Manila traffic and the terrible public transport. I also realised that I didn’t like going to and staying in school, although I continued to be a good student and attended all my classes. Most of all, I just didn’t like to be out and about in Manila, with its poor air quality and the unbelievable amount of petty crimes.
My dilemma now was how to keep that vibe without being a pushover to other people by forcing them to hangout near the place I live, which I felt tolerable because of its proximity to my safe space (my condo). The solution was fairly easy: hangout with myself.
Easier than you think
Like any other new thing, the thought of going out with myself for the first time terrified me. With my description of Manila, one of the things that contributed to this was my fear for my safety. I wouldn’t be with a group of people that could be intimidating to a hold-upper; instead, I would be vulnerable. Also, just thinking about what other people would think of me doing things with myself made me feel insecure. I wasn’t prepared to be judged by strangers.
The first time I went out with myself was at the movies. I wanted to see The Perks of Being a Wallflower because I enjoyed the book in high school, and it helped me through my depression. I didn’t want to go see it alone for the reasons stated in the preceding paragraph, but I thought to myself, if I would wait for someone else to go with me, I might not be able to catch the screening. In an effort to not compromise one of the things that would make me happy, I just swallowed my pride and bought a ticket for one.
Watching a movie alone is easy. The most embarrassing part probably would be answering, “how many tickets?,” but once you’re inside the theatre, you can just sit down and enjoy yourself. No one would be there to bother you with side comments or questions about the characters. It’s just you and the movie. After seeing two movies by myself, it no longer became a big deal. I no longer see a movie out because I want to be with friends. I watch a movie, with or without anyone else, because I want to.
The same mantra of doing something because I want to do it applied to almost everything else. It went with trying out new places to eat at, catching a temporary exhibit at a museum, and even visiting a foreign country. Being single and alone became such a small part of myself that I didn’t even see it as one of the major things that would describe me; instead, I thought of myself as independent, and more importantly, driven to experience the world.
Among other things
While I was in university, I was prepared to sacrifice everything to reach my goal of graduating with high honours. Those sacrifices included things as extreme as my health and as little as a good night’s sleep. One of the most severe, however, was my relationships with people. I lost a lot of my friends and made a good number of enemies because I did not allow anything to stand between me and my goal. It was only a day after graduation, when I did reach my goal, did I realise how alone I really was. I had never been out on a date, nor had I an extensive network of friends whom I could work with in the future; however, I also remembered that that had never bothered me while I was in school. I wasn’t going to let it bother me now, especially when I have accomplished something I did by beating myself up to be the best.
I am not condemning anyone in a relationship or anyone who cannot spend a day with him/herself; you do you. I am just in a point in my life where I don’t mind being with myself, and that’s not a bad thing at all. I don’t think I am brave for being alone. I just think of myself as a person who doesn’t rely on other people to be happy, and I suggest you do the same. As long as you’re not hurting anyone, especially yourself, do whatever makes you happy, but don’t feel forced to have to experience things with somebody else.
Before I end this, here’s one of my favourite YouTubers on why hanging with yourself is awesome (literally the title of the video):