Date Night Stumble

So, Thursday eve, I went on a date. With myself, duh. The aim was to force myself to get out there and rejoin the stuff I enjoy — theater. I honestly do not know when the last time I had gone to a play on my own. I had done such on a regular basis, giving support to friends in the show. Wait. I do know. It was to Choreographers’ Showcase last year, after which I had had my mental breakdown. Before that attempt at going on my own, it had been a while.

Suppers out on my own, they have been increasingly getting better and better. Yes, I still prefer take-out with my couch; but yeah, I have been giving myself the opportunity to dine out, alone, at least once a month, or more.

Fireflour Neapolitan Pizzeria was my chosen destination for supper. Always ever good pizza there. For the most part, service is always good. Last evening though, service was slower than usual. I know, I know. They were busy, but sitting there, alone, with an empty plate waiting for the server to ask if I wanted dessert, I piled on the fret of being there on my own I didn’t take priority for service. I had purposed to go there well in advance of curtain time, so, there wasn’t time for dessert. First-world problems, I know.

What has been the dread of going to plays on my own? Bismarck has that familiar hometown vibe about it. Everybody knows everybody seemingly. With my involvement in many varied outlets in life, I know people from a great cross-section of the city. That should be a good thing, for most. For me, it is a great angst.

My history (proven by Facebook’s “On this Day” app) shows full well success with my initiating has not gone very well. Reading back through those entries where I have asked, “Who wants to go with me…” shows a lot of empty responses, or responses of regret. Therefore, I have given up in my mind on the blissful notion of initiating, even though I continue to still make feeble attempts.

That being said, the dread. The dread is “those” conversations while at the play. Those conversations that seemingly highlight the fact I am alone. Those conversations I willing play mental gymnastics with. “You should have called us to join with us!” “Are you here by yourself?” And, if it is general seating, “I didn’t know you were coming, you should sit with us,” after I have already settled into a comfortable seat in a bubble of my own.

So, yep, there I am, braving up myself and going to a play at Dakota Stage on my own, for the first time in many, many months, or years. Thankfully, I did not see anyone I knew in the lobby. Quick-ish flight to my seat, and plop down.

Yeah, I pulled my cap lower, and basically tried to disappear. I felt I had arrived too early, for it took forever for the houselights to go down. I kept my eyes buried in the program, re-reading it over, and over again, just so I would not chance making eye contact with anyone. Deep breathing did not help me calm down.

Finally, the houselights went down, and time for the show to start. I was safe, no conversations made. It felt good, real good to be back in the theater, on my own. Such a beautiful fleeting emotion, for during the second scene, the mental gymnastics were in full force, and I was plotting my hasty departure during intermission.

And, time for intermission. And, caught in a conversation, immediately. A good friend of mine, with her husband. I was able to manage to keep the conversation flowing, and safely away from the fact of me being there on my own. It was a good conversation, with free-flowing shared laughter.

Second Act started, and I was pleasantly relieved with myself for not bolting. I was really enjoying the rest of the play, and, during the final scene, mental gymnastics. At which point I succumbed, and agreed with myself, to make a hasty exit out after curtain call. Whew. I made it out of there with no awkward conversations.

While eating, I had posted the status “Date Night, and then Six Dance Lessons” to my Facebook. For why, I don’t know. Turns out, another couple friends were there, one of whom posted a comment afterwards that they did not see me at the show.

Lesson(s) learned? I can go out on my own. I have that power. But, it sure feels great to get back home, where mental gymnastics and dread are oft at a minimum. One step at a time, and a journey begins.