• Susan Temple

A Real Life Tale of Fear and Freedom

I had a note on my calendar to go to a cafe in St. Paul to hear some old friends play music. It was Saturday night. Remember how it felt in high school, if you had nothing to do on a Saturday night? It’s probably indicative of the fact that I haven’t quite grown up, but, now that I’m single, I still feel like a bit of a loser if I have nothing to do and no one to do it with, on Saturday night. Not always, but often. So I feel better when I plan ahead and go somewhere, see some folks. I had talked with a friend about going to hear the group.

My friend was a “maybe” to start with, and ended up being unable to go. Ah there’s the rub. It’s too late in the day to find someone else. Do I go alone? There may be people I know there, but they would all be more like acquaintances. What does it look like when I show up alone? Do people think it’s sad? Am I, in fact, a loser? And I’ll have to drive all the way up there alone, and is it safe to walk from the place to the car alone, once it’s dark? Am I too tired? Do I really want to go? Is it worth it?

But if I don’t go, I’ll sit here and veg on the couch. And I’m committed to doing things that lift my heart and soul. Music does that for me. So I took a shower, got dressed, and headed out.

There was one more blip, one more opportunity to let fear run the show. I was about a third of the way there when I discovered I’d forgotten my phone. Oh boy, should I turn back? Is it safe to drive north of St. Paul by myself without a phone? What if I have a problem, how will I call someone? Should I go and get the phone? Or forget the whole thing? I wasn’t sure if it was the right thing to do, to keep heading north, but I reminded myself that I went places without phones for most of my life. I reminded myself of the time in California when I had a flat tire and a dead phone and I was by myself in unfamiliar territory, and I figured it out. Lived to tell the tale (repeatedly).

I enjoyed the evening. Noticed another woman sitting alone at a table and thought she was brave and interesting, not a loser. Talked with some nice folks. Went home feeling content. And, I will feel more confident the next time, because I took this risk, this step outside my comfort zone.

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