Here I go on my own.
Last Friday, I made a plane and hotel reservation to spend a weekend in Las Vegas. This is kind of a big deal.
I’m not accustomed to doing things on my own. My whole life there’s always been someone, in one capacity or another, to hold my hand and help me along – which I realize is, in many ways, a good thing. Whether it’s family, friends or significant others, I have never lacked for someone to call upon when I’ve felt lost or confused. But like all things that are beneficial to us, this can also become a crutch.
The downside to always having a helping hand is, I rarely feel confident in my own decisions. I always feel the need to confide in someone and ask their advice, and if I feel pressured into making a decision myself, I can sometimes freak out. Fortunately this isn’t so bad that it extends to everyday, mundane decisions like what I should have for dinner (…..usually), but when it comes to bigger stuff – even marginally bigger stuff, like taking a trip – I often feel as though I can’t trust myself. I need to wait for someone else’s permission, someone else’s guidance.
About four years ago was when I started the process of asserting my own independence. John and I decided we wanted to go to Burning Man. I remember feeling like that was the first time I’d done anything under my own power, with because I want to being the only reason, and being a good enough reason.
Then there’s the whole gender thing – which, ultimately, no matter how much advice and outside help one seeks out, is always a series of explorations and decisions to be made on one’s own.
Without a doubt, the biggest on-my-own decision I made in recent times was to ask John to marry me. That’s an entire post on its own, one I’ll probably write at some point.
The decision to go to Vegas, although definitely not as big a decision as marriage (well – depends on what you’re doing when you get there), is the most recent on-my-own decision. Even though it was inspired by my friend James, who happens to be going out there for the exact same weekend, I’ve done the planning for my own part of the trip entirely on my own. For a long time, I was stalling on the planning. I was waiting for James to tell me more details than just what days he was going to be there and I was afraid that by accident I might end up there all on my own, with nothing specific to do and no one to hang out with and then what would I do.
At this point, being there alone doesn’t seem likely. But I think it’s important that I took the initiative to plan the trip, ultimately, without waiting for anyone else’s go-ahead, even despite the remote possibility that I might end up there by myself. I think it’s important to learn to do things independently, and to learn to face the chance that I might have to have an experience all on my own. Because sometimes that happens – and because sometimes, it’s better to take a risk on one’s own rather than to wait for permission, or someone to hold your hand and guide you through.