"Do It Alone" - Being Forced to Conquer Fear

Kid Cudi's "Demo Tape" had this out of space track on it called "Do It Alone". The song is sort of a mantra for someone facing a new frontier. Cudi's an alien and he's being forced to leave his planet all alone to make things happen. I have always felt that you should not have to go anything alone. People are my crutch, my cryptonite. What kills me is everyone thinks I'm this emotionless creature who doesn't need anyone. I'm totally not. I'm an extrovert and a social butterfly. I need attention just as much as the next. At times, I'm completely insufferable because I'm left to my own devices.

For me the epitome of personal failure is having to be alone. I feel like being alone is a choice you shouldn't have to make. Dining alone is a great fear of mine. I wouldn't want to see a movie alone. I could never be that lone weirdo in a theme park waiting to ride with someone. I will sit out most things if there is no one to accompany me. That is why I have an arsenal of friends.  But most of my friends have nothing in common but me. So there is no way for me to have an entourage. If I walked away for a moment someone may leave or I could return to a brawl. In this, I've had to finagle my personal interests, social events etc around specific friends and I think they all know who they are. Since I have such a varied group of friends I don't rely on any opinions they have of each other. I'm seriously just trying to get out and do things with one individual and when a few cross paths I've never had good results. 

The only somewhat conjoined experience I've had is with co-workers. At least there is a circle of friends who have to endure each other and I'm just there. Co-workers at a social event is like a soundtrack playing in a movie. There is so much variety there is always something/someone for everybody. So most of my friends are former co-workers and I pride myself on establishing friendships beyond work. Some of my former co-workers now close friends know me better than my own family. We know each other personally and professionally which makes things deeper. I feel like we have a better understanding of each other, our values and what we want out of life. My travel companion now former friend was originally my co-worker. It took us several years to actually meet and less time to form a bond. I think that is where I messed up.

She asked me to join her on this trip during a friendship way too young. Surely, I have friends from my childhood and friends I've made in the last five years. The messed up part is I never thought about travel with my longstanding friends and she was my first pick. The gesture goes both ways though. I never thought about travel with them and they never asked - she did. However, my longstanding friends and just co-workers had their opinions. People tried to tell me well in advance. I just didn't hear the message as intended.

Friends are possessive and they tend to never get along. So when someone tells me something snide about the other I always discount it. It wasn't until I was all the way across the globe did I remember. My so-called friend was the opposite of me and not in a good way. She even said it herself halfway through the trip. She's an introvert. She's a loner. She prefers to be alone. Oddly enough being a person that made that choice she invited me to accompany her. To this day I don't know what she expected. However, she never said anything up front about her need to be alone. So in the company of a so-called friend, in the middle of nowhere - I had to face all of my fears. 

Most days I was left to my own devices. Sometimes I wondered the streets. I ate dinner alone for the very first time. At night, we sat in the same room for hours with complete silence. When out we both wandered off and blamed the other for whatever followed. When one person was lost it was a competition on not to admit or place blame. She had her own agenda and I hadn't communicated expectations. So I think the both of us realized far too late we should have done it alone. In her case, she was burdened by me. In my case, I was being ignored by her. She was comfortable being me. I was horrified being her. 

It would have felt better not being forced to do what I never imagined for myself. I was being resented for being there. There was no mutual friend to ask why this was happening. There was no one to call to take her place. I couldn't leave. She wouldn't apologize. I was just supposed to accept her for who she was. There was never any compromise. She doesn't have any real friends. An old roommate here, an acquaintance there. I couldn't call her friend to ask why. All I had was my real friends telling me "I told you so".

In turn, I felt like I had been challenged by her to face my fears and not fail in the aspect of doing what I set out to do. There was no duty to her and I didn't have to respect her wishes. The only thing I could do is stay until I just couldn't take it anymore. So I ate alone more than a few times. I did things on my own without her no matter the risk. When it was time to go I felt as though I could end a friendship that was never wanted in the first place. I didn't owe her any explanation and whatever was left of our friendship wasn't worthy of a discussion. She wanted to be alone and I gave her that. However, I didn't fail at getting what I wanted. The consolation was figuring that out.

No comments: