Admit One

I know I have graduated into a certain level of adulthood when new, joyful and unshakeable absolutes appear in my every day life. I love me a good documentary. I enjoy a healthy shake in the morning. I prefer day drinking to night drinking. Randomly going to bed at 9pm makes me feel accomplished. I’m a fan of an organized spreadsheet.

But no other experience quite solidifies my secureness in adulthood more than my new favorite hobby: going to the movies alone.

Now I am not saying I don’t like attending movies with others. I love it, actually. Zach is an amazing movie date, and when a real epic flick hits the screen it is always satisfying to make the experience even more epic with joining a large group eager to devour and dissect (the Star Wars franchise) afterward.

It’s just, included in these fun movies trips, there’s the pure joy of simply going to a movie by myself. It’s a date I take myself on, where I get some desired me time.

It’s to die for. And I love that I do it.

This hobby of being a solo movie seeker is of course aided by two very significant things in my life: 1. I got Moviepass as a Christmas gift so essentially every film I see is on the house (thanks Mom and Dad!) and 2. I am very unemployed right now.

I don’t want to get into the heaviness of the latter (ahhhhhhhhhhhhh!), or the shameless plug of the former (thumbs up to Moviepass though!) but I do want to acknowledge that if either of these things were not true, I would not be writing this blog post today. So, apologies if someone reading this is all like: “Well, I work full time and don’t have a free movie a day so I will get nothing insightful from this post!” First of all, awwwww, thanks for thinking my posts are insightful! And second of all, I just made you up so who cares?

I think seeing a movie alone goes beyond the simple act of doing it. I think it’s an acknowledgement of one’s own comfortability, a statement about one’s capacity to be alone. Considering I find myself incredibly uncomfortable in most situations, the fact that I can do this without a care in the world is a huge, unlockable achievement.

I remember the first time I saw a movie alone. I was a senior in high school and I had it in my mind that I wanted to see Garden State all by myself. It wasn’t an “on a whim” decision, I set out an objective. I had to marinate in it for a long ass time. Seeing this movie all by myself was a test of my strength, not a leisurely self date.

I remember specifically choosing a movie theater that was a 45 minutes away just so I could minimize me running into people I know. I remember buying my ticket, nervous as fuck, and only after I held my cell phone to my ear and pretended to have a conversation with my very close, very fictitious friend. “Okay great, save me a seat,” I said into my Nokia as I handed the cash to the ticket teller, just in case the teller was invested in whether on not I was really seeing a movie by myself. (The acting was choice, I surely convinced him I was meeting a very very important friend on the inside.) I bought myself a small popcorn and diet coke, stalling to get into the theater because the plan was to walk in when the lights were dim so no one would see me. I sat in the back so again no one could depict the outline of this lone wolf high school girl, empty seats on both sides of her, ready and excited to see Zach Braff wax poetic about death and… I wanna say, love?

After the movie was over, I sprinted out of the theater before the credits started so again no one could see me in the light. I quickly got to my car, slammed the door, and smiled. I did it. I saw a movie all by myself. I was an independent, albeit still nervous as hell that anyone saw me, woman. Hear me (quietly) roar!

The only snag with my Garden State solo escapade is I actually completely fell in love with that movie, (White high school girl who was a die hard Scrubs fan and soundtrack lover. This movie was made for my exact demographic. I am scared it does not hold up.) and since I saw it all by myself, I had absolutely no one to talk about it with. I had to wait until my friends who were old enough to see a rated R movie went to see it, and then I had to pretend I was with them when they did.

But besides that hiccup (What? Should I have seen a bad movie?) I had crossed the threshold of seeing movies alone. And I was hooked.

I often go back to when I was 18 and terrified to be by myself in a movie theater. It’s such an amazing representation of my youth, I think. Of youth in general. The world is so small, and the stakes are so high: every little decision matters. The fact is, it wasn’t that high school me hated being alone, it was that I cared too much about what other people would think of me and my aloneness.

The majority of adolescence is spent trying to sidestep being called a loser.

Adulthood is making the loser cool again.

Cuz now, I can’t get enough of alone time in the movies. I could give a fuck if people see me there. In fact, I assume they think I’m badass, or at the very least, that I write an intense movie blog or something. (Or, more accurately, they don’t think of me at all!) I love going to the movies alone so much that it makes me sad when I’ve seen most of them (again, unemployed here, ey-yo!), and it makes me wonder if there is anything comparable to solo trips to the theater.

There are, kind of. I like hikes by myself, but not when it’s 10000000 fuck degrees out. Jogging is nice too, but see above (and also that’s not a date, that’s work.) I like reading, but reading feels less eventful/accomplished than the self movie date. (When you read you’re just sitting on a couch, or if you’re rich, on a very cool hammock.) There’s doing meals alone, but I guess I’m a show over a dinner kinda gal. Plus I don’t eat. (LA joke!) I could go for a solo walk on the beach but…. Hahahahahahaha sorry I couldn’t even get through that one.  I hate the sun so much.

With the movies, I feel accomplished, like I completed a task. I am going into public and taking myself on a journey. And that journey begins in a dark, air conditioned room that smells like buttery popcorn goodness. And then, while in said room, I get to be entertained with a story. And then I get inspired to tell/write/perform my own stories. It really is a complete package. It has all the things I like about aloneness.

The only caveat I have with my present day solo movie going agenda is I’m getting a little too dependent on it. I maybe need to ease up on my need to get out of dodge and jump into a Spike Lee joint.

Because lately, I have been sad. A little lost and a little sad. Not in an overall sort of way. I mean, I have a lot of exciting things coming up, (Namely getting married to the love of my life at the end of the year!) but at the moment, yeah, I’ve been waking up and having this crazy, unspecified desire to cry. And do you know the perfect place to cry?

A dark, air conditioned room, smelling of buttery popcorn goodness.

Granted it’s not like I’m not going into the theater just to cry. I am more just allowing the movies to stupidly affect me in a way that they didn’t before: I’m caring about the dad’s love for his daughter soooo much, I’m inspired that The Incredibles worked together as a family, I am livid that Bobby Brown married Whitney and destroyed her life, and I think Winnie The Pooh is too cute to handle.

It feels so good to cry in there. I sort of love it.

Add it to my list of new, joyful and unshakeable adulthood absolutes.

There’s nothing like a good cry.

But I know these movie theater tears are probably a result of bigger things I ought to deal with. I am aware that this sorrow comes from my anger toward our country’s complacency, my helplessness with not working at the moment, my worry over finances, the sting of being cut from a comedy program, the confusion from the brief job I had that was cancelled, the guilt from the honest relief I have with being done with both of those things, and the worry of my own significance in this world.

I guess it’s nice to set all that aside and for a brief hour or two to be alone with my inner loser. Because honestly, that loser is a badass.

I like the person I am when I’m going to the movies by myself. I think her independence, her curiosity, and her comfortability with being alone must make her pretty unstoppable in other aspects in life. Plus, she’s really up to date with pop culture.

I’m okay with having a “rowdy” Saturday night of drinking a beer and petting my cats. I love not wearing makeup when it’s hot out. I am super satisfied and relaxed after I vacuum my entire apartment. I like attending dinner parties where we bring a bottle of wine and do that kissy huggy thing at the doorway. I enjoy playing old records in the background while talking about other people’s babies. I believe in the power of meditation.

And I love going to the movies alone.

Now, what’s playing?

– One L

“When a movie character is really working, we become that character. That’s what the movies offer: Escapism into lives other than our own.” – Roger Ebert


One thought on “Admit One

  1. Luke says:

    I think that mixing social fun with art and entertainment can be a tight rope. It’s crazy how whether or not a friend or date likes a movie can impact my opinion of the movie. (I loved “The Babadook” until I saw it with someone who didn’t like it. Then I watched it again with someone who loved it, and now I’m back to thinking Jennifer Kent and Essie Davis should be a household duo.) That’s why I usually try to gauge whether or not to see a movie with a group before I see it.

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