How to Be Okay With Being Alone

How To Do Things By Yourself - And Be Okay With It

Many people can think of nothing more intimidating than doing things alone in public spaces. It's about time to change the way we think about what it means to be alone.

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Far too often, people can make it seem as if doing things on your own is downright terrible. I'm especially guilty of patronizing others in this way, myself. When getting food with a group of my friends at the University's dining hall, I recall seeing another one of my friends getting food too by chance. In our small talk, I proceeded to ask them who they had come to the dining hall with, to which they replied "No one." In an instinctual response, I gave a frown of pity and said "Aw, by yourself? That sucks!". Thankfully, my friend just shrugged, and we proceeded to talk, but almost immediately, I realized how thoughtless it was of me to have said that. In expressing pity for my friend about them being alone at the dining hall, a state in which college students frequently find themselves, I contributed to the supposed shame around being alone that society perpetuates with the same tired narratives.

But what's that all about, anyway? Why is it that when we see people, whether it's the girl who goes to eat at a restaurant by herself or the man at the movie theater with empty seats on either side of him, we tend to judge them? It seems as if we project our own fears of being alone (particularly the negative feelings of loneliness and lack of companionship that isolation indicates), onto the realities of others. Effectively, being alone isn't the bad part, it's looking alone that turns us off. There's nothing inherently wrong with wanting and enjoying the company of others. But needing them to feel accepted doesn't make them your friends; it makes them your crutch.

Being alone, or doing things by yourself, is really not groundbreaking at all. My favorite thing to remind myself of when I begin to feel worried about what others might be thinking of me being alone in public is a simple fact that nobody really cares. No one is going to be thinking of me, saying "Wow, that girl who was eating by herself in the dining hall is surely an unlovable outcast!". That's incredibly unrealistic, right? And even if they do say or think this, we can reason that they feel this way about being alone because they couldn't fathom the thought of being by themselves, which is much more telling about their own personal insecurities.

To put it simply, you are all you have. Friends can make wonderful conversation and companions can make activities much more fun, but there is a freedom that comes with doing things on your own. Is eating food alone at a time when it's convenient for you so bad? Is seeing that movie by yourself that you really wanted to see so bad? No, it's not bad at all, nor is it badass. People aren't cool because they comfortably do things alone. They've simply recognized the power that comes from embracing your own person.

So please, don't let anyone shame you for venturing out there alone. Know that you don't need anyone else in order to do the things you want to do, even if society makes you feel like you do. Go out and be great, all by yourself.

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Growing Up Catholic And How It Shaped Me

"I like being able to believe there is more to life than our time on Earth."

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Ever since I can remember, I have attended church every Sunday morning. Not always at the same church, but always at the same time with all the same people. I've never known anything different.

Both of my parents are Catholic and so are their parents and so on and so forth. I attended religious education classes my whole childhood and when I was 15, I chose to get confirmed which basically says you are choosing to continue your faith.

As a kid, I didn't really understand why we went to church every Sunday and there were some Sundays where I just didn't want to get out of bed to go. When I'm on the verge of not going to mass I tell myself that it is just 1 hour of my time, 1 hour each week and that is all I have to give. Everyone has 1 hour to spare.

Now that I am older, I'm grateful my parents have introduced me to the Catholic Church. I like having something to believe in and being able to have faith. I'm a huge optimist in my daily life and a big part of that is because I trust God's plan for me, whatever happens is with his best intentions for me. I like being able to believe there is more to life than our time on Earth.

It seems that the word "Catholic" has a negative connotation nowadays and that makes me extremely sad. No one should be judged or profiled based on their religion.

Being Catholic to me means always striving to better myself and bring myself closer to God. Being Catholic might mean something else to another person and that's what is great about religion and faith, they affect everyone differently and it is up to you to decide what to do with these 2 things.

At the end of the day, I am grateful for being brought up in the Catholic family I was because it gave me my morals and made me the person I am today, whom I am proud of.

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You Know You're From Trumbull, CT When...

The best memories are made in this boring, little, Connecticut town.

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1. The majority of places you will consider to eat at are in Fairfield or Westport... Colony, Shake Shack, Country Cow, Playa Bowls, BarTaco

2. But if you find yourself too lazy to get on 95 for food, Panchero's is the go-to... never Chipotle. If it is past midnight, the choice always comes down to the McDonalds in Monroe, where you are almost guaranteed to see a group of people you know, or Merritt Canteen.

3. Once you got your license, your Friday night plans consisted of picking up friends, driving up and down Main Street, and, somehow, always finding yourself at the THS parking lot seeing who's car is there because there is nothing better to do.

4. In the Fall, you couldn't wait for Friday so that after school you and half of your grade could walk to Plasko's Farm for ice cream and apple cider donuts... and hope you could get them before the owners would yell at you to leave. (This one only applies to Hillcrest Middle School kids, AKA the inferior middle school in town).

5. You couldn't wait to be a senior so you could officially lead the BLACK HOLE at football games... if you were even willing to go in the cold.

6. You looked forward to the annual Senior Scav, the last week of summer before your senior year where a list of tasks is passed down by the recently graduated class... the official kickoff to senior year.

7. You pass by Country Club Rd. and get flashbacks from the worst Cross Country practices ever. Driving up Daniels Farm Rd. in the Fall and Spring, you are conditioned to yell "hi" out the window to your friends at practice.

8. You knew someone who worked at Gene's gas station... and found yourself spending more time there on the weekends than you would like to admit.

9. You are convinced Melon-heads are real after frequenting Velvet St. to see the abandoned insane asylum with your friends, IF you didn't want to drive all the way up to Fairfield Hills in Newtown.

10. You have had/have been to at least one middle school birthday party at the Trumbull Marriott.

11. You know that the 25mph speed limit on Whitney Ave. is way too slow... and can't help but hit a little air going down the huge hill at the top.

12. The guy at Towne likely knows your name.

13. You never find yourself turning right out of THS... that side of town is irrelevant for those who do not live there.

14. You know to avoid the Merrit Parkway from 4:00-7:00pm at all costs.

15. You know more than you would like to about people you aren't even friends with... in a town so small, things get around very quick.

16. Going shopping really means going to Target, or any store in the mall, for the millionth time that week.

17. The marching band was the best in the state and you would see them practicing, literally, every time you drove by THS.

19. Depending on the side of town you lived, you spent a lot of time at Five Pennies Park or Indian Ledge Park.

20. You would say you couldn't wait to leave, but when you got to college, you find yourself excited to come back to your hometown so you can reminisce on old traditions and make new memories.

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