Life Anxiety: Going To The Cinema Solo

As I write this, Jason Derulo's Ridin' Solo is recurring in my head. It's apt, because in many aspects of my life, I more often than not, ride solo. I acknowledge myself as emphatically independent, and I have trained myself to be at peace with that; I appreciate my own company. I suppose that's the result of being alone for many years. Romantically, I mean, not because I am a complete and utter loner without any friends (not that there is anything wrong with that). But, yes, I like to be alone and can quite happily confess that I am my own best friend, and at times, my own worst enemy, but hey, it can't all be pink glitter and unicorns, can it? Despite considering myself to be wholly independent, there was one thing that frightened me half to death, and that was going to the cinema solo. It sounds ridiculous but bear with me. Many of my friends had mentioned that they throughly enjoyed going to the cinema alone, and it was actually quite an empowering thing to do. It's not that I am scared of my own company, but more so the prospect of being looked at as being incredibly weird - I get very anxious and paranoid. After all, the cinema is meant to be a social activity; which is slightly ironic considering you sit there in silence 99% of the time - except for maybe the odd weary look as to what's happening in the film, or the odd laugh. In truth, your cinema date is more of a comfort blanket, as well as someone to share an extra large popcorn with to avoid looking particularly gluttonous, am I right? To step out of my comfort zone, so to speak, last weekend I ventured to the cinema alone. This was purely down to the fact that no one ever wants to come with me to see a Meryl Streep film. It's either because they're embarrassed of my fan girl demeanour, or the fact they're ignorant to her unparalleled talents. Which ever one it may be, it's their loss.

going to the cinema alone - meryl streep in rick and the flash
So here I was. Sat in a premiere seat (no one one was looking so I upgraded myself), ice breakers, popcorn and a bottle of water in hand, ready to embark on a new experience while watching Meryl's new film Ricki and the Flash. I was early, like I am for everything (it's a curse) and found myself constantly looking down at my phone. I struggled to take in the serenity of my surroundings: a dimly lit room with no one else to be seen, and a whole host of trailers to occupy me. This was 'me' time. I struggled with that. My heart stalled every time I heard the door; who was going to walk in? would they be looking at me? was it going to be a couple entertained by the fact that I was alone? I was already beginning to think I was weird, I certainly didn't need anyone else to confirm it. After a few trailers, people started to come in and I was approached by two girls who asked me what film I was here to see as there hadn't been a sign on the outside door. This calmed me a little, as we had a normal conversation and I didn't sense any feeling that they had even blinked at the fact I was there alone. Once I started to relax and realised that no one seemed to care about me (I mean, my friend could have been in the toilet for all they knew), I started to enjoy my solo cinema experience. It was great; no one was crunching in my ear, and it was like I was home from home, just with a big screen and surround sound - forever the luxury. Next time I might bring my duvet. Jokes aside, it was nice to really enjoy a film that I was desperate to see, and particularly nice that I didn't have to explain to anyone why Meryl's performance made me so happy, why I was crying, or why I was laughing uncontrollably. I can't say that I will make a habit of going to the cinema by myself (primarily because it's bloody expensive these days), but it definitely wasn't as scary as I had worked myself up for; great for time by yourself and taking yourself out of the hustle and bustle of the big city and everyday social interactions. The film was also great by the way, a really easy-to-watch narrative and overall mood lifter; and Meryl's performance you may ask? Flawless.

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