I cried at dinner tonight
It wasn’t a full on, ugly cry. There was no lip quiver or snot (MAYBE that came later when I was sitting by the ocean after dinner for some good soul cleansing). But…… there were small tears and apparently built up emotion escaping from my body, unexpectedly and no matter how hard I tried to stop it. However, when you’re on vacation, alone, table for one, IN THE CENTER OF THE RESTAURANT…….one (or a few) small tears, seems reallyyyy exaggerated to onlookers.
I wanted (for about five seconds) to explain myself to every person that seemed “so fascinated” (that’s how I’m choosing to interpret their over staring) by someone eating alone…..especially alone on vacation. I wanted to tell them to wipe the pity looks from their faces, because the primary reason the tears were flowing, were all good ones.
Thankfully I quickly remembered I don’t have to explain myself to anyone. Ok, so I’m already contradicting myself since I’m explaining myself to the internets. I would argue that what I’m about to tell you isn’t to explain myself as much as it’s to reach that person who needs to hear (or read) “me too”…….or the person who has been holding out on her (or his) own adventure, simply because they don’t want to go alone.
I’m here to tell you……go alone and cry a little at dinner while you’re at it. 🙂
I think it will forever be foreign to a lot of people, that someone would willingly eat (and travel) alone. I was definitely one of those people and not even that long ago. If I would’ve seen someone alone AND teary eyed…….I wouldn’t have been able to resist intruding and insisting they join me or offer hugs, drinks….whatever to make their poor, pitiful soul feel included.
I would have never imagined that a woman sitting alone IN THE CENTER OF THE RESTAURANT willingly came there alone.
I would’ve never imagined that she didn’t mind the pity from the staff and being treated like royalty 😛
I would’ve never imagined that maybe her tears were a celebration of some REALLY hard roads traveled and what a big deal it was that she CHOSE to be there alone and how proud of herself she was.
I would’ve also never, for one second, thought that she might have actually been the one who pitied me, seeing a table full of people, all on their phones, not even engaging…….so they might as well have all been alone anyway.
I would’ve never imagined that her not being on her phone and choosing to be on this adventure alone, actually opened her up to really engage with the staff and have good stranger conversation.
I would’ve never known that she was wearing a new dress and the most beautiful new earrings that had been gifted to her only a couple of days before. I might have noticed that she definitely wore them well and with pride. But I would’ve never guessed that it was the nicest and most expensive piece of jewelry she has ever owned…..and for the first time in her life….alone, in her best dress and hair curled, with her fancy new earrings, she felt more put together than she had been in months.
(Side note: isn’t this a cool stone – it comes from a cave here and changes color with different lighting)
I would’ve never guessed that she was normally a super extroverted person, ALWAYS making new friends wherever she goes…..but WILLINGLY chose to intentionally disengage from others during her stay and do allllll the cliche soul cleansing and searching, that she had been craving for months.
I would’ve never looked into her eyes and saw the weight of some really big decisions she is facing, that will literally be life altering and that will hopefully come with the best changes she has seen in her life to date.
I couldn’t have guessed that her heart is just REALLY tired but so much change is coming……and to prepare for that, she did the only thing she knows to do…….retreat and sit with it.
I would’ve never known that some of the tears were silent prayers to cling on to this whole trip and never forget it, or go back to the “same ol stuff” when she gets back to reality.
Because if I had been able to see those things in someone sitting alone on vacation, IN THE CENTER OF THE RESTAURANT……Instead of feeling pity on her, I would’ve probably wondered why there weren’t more tears (and more drinks being poured). I would’ve went over and toasted her and celebrated with her.
I would’ve ended up looking like some of the other onlookers ended up looking by the time her dinner was done…..envious
Do not underestimate the strength of people who willingly choose to go at it alone…..even if it’s just for a short vacation. Don’t underestimate the strength within yourself to do it (even if it’s just for a day or weekend).
Maybe nothing Earth shattering comes from it. Maybe you cry at dinner. Maybe you only make two promises to yourself. But you’ll be a bit (or more) changed. And nobody will ever be able to mess up the memories that I promise you’ll cling to forever. You’ll come back to that moment when you need a little extra strength or reminder that you are tough enough to make it!