I don’t think I’ve ever written about the infamous Steelesville Cabin on here, which kind of surprises me. Remind me to do that someday… I have at least 50 stories about it, including one where Ty and Adam blow up a car.
My favorite part of the cabin was the rowboat on the lake… I don’t know why, but I had a lot of fun just kind of floating around and thinking. It was fine when other people were with me, but I didn’t care either way.
One day I hopped in the boat, grabbed an oar, and started to push myself out. Right as I scooted off the land, Heather ran up to the lake and yelled, “Wait! Wait for me! I’ll come too!” She jumped from the dock into the boat, grabbed an oar and started paddling.
“You know what’s really cool about you, Stephanie?” She said. “You’re not afraid to do things by yourself.”
I had never realized that about myself until she said it, and I liked the idea of it a lot (Heather always had the best compliments for everyone). So keep that in mind as I tell you about the conversation I had the other day:
Girl: What are you going to do today?
Stephie: I think I might go to a movie.
Girl: Oh. With who?
Stephie: I don’t know. Nobody, unless you want to go.
Girl: No, I have to meet up with [boyfriend].
Stephie: That’s cool. Call me later, then.
Girl: So you’re just going to go?
Girl: By yourself?
(She makes Smell the Fart Face)
Girl: Why would you want to go by yourself?
Stephie: Why do I need to go with someone else? Will I be talking to anybody?
Girl: Well no, but…
Stephie: I worked in a movie theater, dude. We did that shit all the time. And if I go with any of my friends, it has to be a couple, right? Then it’d feel like your date, and I’d be tagging along, and that’s a million times more depressing, I think.
Girl: But at least you wouldn’t be by yourself.
There’s a big difference between being alone and feeling alone.
When you have insomnia for most of your life, you get used to being alone. And when you’re in a long-distance relationship for years and years, you get used to a lot of freedom. You have to really like yourself to be in those situations. You can’t survive if you don’t know how to function on your own. And once you realize how fun you are and how easy it is to entertain yourself, the world kind of becomes your playground.
It’s not like I don’t remember what it’s like to have someone else. I spent about eight years in a row with one boyfriend or another, and some of them (*gasp*) even lived in the same city. I know that feeling – things are just better when the other person is around. You’d almost rather sit home and wait for them than go out without them. When you have that person to snuggle with, or whisper to, or to just… stand next to, you feel lucky. Safe. Happy. I remember that. I’m not knocking it. I’ll probably feel that way again eventually. And I know that when you’re married, it’s a completely different ballgame – one that I won’t fully understand until it happens to me, too.
But I also know how addicted people can get to that feeling, to the point where you’ll convince yourself that any relationship is better than no relationship at all. And I remember what it’s like when you first break up with someone. It hurts to do practically everything: grocery shopping, renting movies, even driving around in your car. You’ve spent so much time not being alone that you forget how to function when you are.
I think that’s why I like being single so much… I’ve been so determined to hold onto that independence that I tend to push away the people I date. I don’t want to see them every day. I don’t want to have to tell them where I’m going. It pisses them off and hurts their feelings, but that’s just where I am right now.
It’s not like I’m afraid of getting hurt… I’m just afraid of losing that sense of myself. It took me a long time to discover that feeling again, and now that it’s here I’m having a ball. I love hanging out with Stephanie. Stephanie kicks ass.
But here’s what gets to me the most… and this happens at least twice a month, when I catch up with an old friend and they ask me what I’ve been up to:
Me: …and then I got my Master’s Degree, and now I’m writing for a living, and lately I’ve been running and doing some art projects and –
Them: So, are you seeing anybody?
Me (and I AM NOT making a puppy face here): No…
Them: *tsk* Aww… don’t worry. You’ll find someone.
WTF? Did you ever stop to think that maybe I’m completely okay? That I had no problem being single until you made me feel like I should? There’s absolutely nothing wrong with it, so stop treating me like I’m dying just because I don’t have a date to Trivia Night*.
I like feeling like I’m whole and complete all of the time, even if I don’t have that better half. I like feeling loved and safe and secure every second of every day, instead of just when he’s nearby.
About a month ago, Peter called me. Peter is still in school (and he is also my very first boyfriend ever, but that’s another story). I always wondered how he felt about being in college… I mean, now that we’re all graduated and have jobs and apartments, it must be weird, right? How much does it suck to still have classes? Remember writing papers? Filling out scan-trons? I mean, Jesus.
But our conversation started out like this:
Peter: Hey, babe.
Me: Hey! Are you in town?
Peter: Yeah, til Friday I think.
Me: What are you doing in town?
Peter: Summer vacation.
Me: Sorry, I had to remember what that means.
You guys, they get the whole summer off!!! Remember that shit?
And that’s when it hit me. Being married and having kids will be really fun… it will be a really fulfilling phase in my life and I won’t have to deal with all this dating crap…
…but I’ll never be able to have a summer vacation ever again. So I need to enjoy this while it lasts and make it fucking count.
I mean, I wanted to see a movie. What the fuck is wrong with seeing a movie by myself? I don’t have to worry about if you will be late, or who’s picking up who, or if it’s polite for me to pay, or if you’re checking out that other girl or if you’re mad that he’s checking out me, or how much salt you want on the popcorn vs. how much I want, and dammit stop drinking all of my slurpee and can I please have the armrest back, please?
*And guess who beat all three couples in Trivia? Your combined brains couldn’t beat mine, and I’m the one you pity? I’d take that over having a boy to light my cigarette any day. It’s called priorities.
(I don’t usually win at Trivia, but I did this time and it proves a point, so I’m rolling with it. But yes, I do realize that most of you have beat me in Trivial Pursuit at least once. And that my brain is nothing compared to Team Papoose (me and Jen). And it is fun when a boy lights my cigarette. But I still say I’m a champion.)