Sunday, 28 February 2010

Going solo

I have been SO busy lately. Last week was the deadline for the first assignment of 2010 and now it is a never ending cycle of deadlines until the end of the semester in April. I've also started a new(ish) job, working as a library assistant where I had my placement. I love it lots, but it is tiring trying to fit it in with everything else. The past week I worked 30 hours in work, not including 2 full days in Uni!

56/365

St James' Gardens

St James' Gardens

On Thursday I had a strange experience. I was on my lunch hour in Uni and my usual lunch buddy was off, so I decided to visit St James' Gardens, which is one of my favourite places in Liverpool. It is the cemetery for the Anglican Cathedral and is built into a quarry, meaning it is so hidden and secluded, it feels like a little haven away from the hustle and bustle of the city. 

I was sat there, admiring the snowdrops and listening to the birds and just thinking about how great it was to be there, relaxing. Then, a big tour group of OAPs came along. I was just about to get my book out, when one of these old ladies approached me and said 'Are you sat by yourself? Will no-one sit with you? Awww I feel sorry for you!'. I just said 'Err I'm alright...', because I was. I enjoy spending time alone. 

Then, as I was walking back into Uni, I began to get angrier and angrier about what she had said! I get the feeling that if I had been a man sat alone in a park, she wouldn't have batted an eyelid. Is it so wrong for a woman to sit in a park alone, unescorted? I do lots of things alone, like going to the cinema, going for a walk in the park, going shopping, having a coffee. Not because I'm a loner or dislike other people's company, but simply because sometimes people aren't available and I'm okay in my own company. In fact, I think I actually prefer shopping alone so that no-one else slows me down! However, after Thursday, I still think there is a slight stigma attached to women doing things alone. (At least to the older generation).  It made me feel quite conscious of the fact that I was alone, but I don't want it to put me off going places alone. I was also quite annoyed with how blunt she was - what if I did genuinely have no friends and was all alone? Surely that comment could be quite upsetting and distressing to some people!

Anyway that was an odd experience. How do you feel about going places alone? 

38 comments:

  1. I love doing things on my own! Being alone is one of my favorite things:) Thanks for sharing your story. Love these pics.

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  2. that is a bit odd. I do think it was more a generational issue with this old lady than a reality today. It took me awhile to get used to doing things alone. I'm an only child so naturally I believed I was good at solitude. But then I went to Uni and since there are always people around and you have a roommate, I felt so self conscious for being alone, like if I was alone I must be missing out on something better. I rarely find that I actually am missing out on something better or anything for that matter and sometimes you just need a some inner peace which doesn't involve hanging out with 10 people at a time. Now, I relish going to movies on my own (no one's schedule to plan around), studying at cafes alone, and spending the night alone. I am an extrovert, but I need my space too.

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  3. I can be a very solitary person. When I was younger I used to shut myself away in my bedroom, write stories and read books. I've always been very independent - I don't need lots of people around me to enjoy myself! And I hate shopping with other people as they just slow me down! We sound very similar. It was probably just an offhand comment from someone with a different view of the world - don't let it stop you enjoying your own company! :) x

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  4. i am exactly the same as you. as an only child i am more than happy in my own company, going to the cinema, for coffees. but i also like spending time with family & friends to. i think the lady's comment was mildly ignorant.

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  5. I have only recently started to do things on my own. Since moving over a year ago and having some trouble with friends I have no one close where I live now so I either do something with my boyfriend, on my own or not at all. Since he works a lot I've been avoiding doing something fun on my days off because I didn't want to go it alone.. until recently. I'm now starting to enjoy my company and often go for walks, shopping and even just out for lunch on my own now. I haven't braved the cinema yet, it's on my to do list.

    The photo's are beautiful.

    Love, Amy Marie // http://seventysevenbroadway.blogspot.com

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  6. I only ever shop alone. I simply can not stand to shop with other people. They offer unwanted opinions and slow me down.

    Sometimes your own company is the best company of all.

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  7. Great photographs!

    I'm the same as you, i'm an only child so i'm perfectly happy with just spending time with myself. I think people have this issue that its wrong to be alone. As if to be alone is to be lonely, when sometimes its just good to be at one with yourself and the world around you. I often notice more things alone then in a massive group.

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  8. 1. Congrats to your new job! I have yet to find a paying job in a library but for now, I'm okay with being an intern. I'm not quite ready yet to be shoved out into the real world even though I am in my last semester. Yipes.

    2. I do so many things alone! Going to the movies, concerts/shows, getting a coffee...pretty much everything (especially since me and the boyf broke up last month). I prefer to do a lot of things by myself actually but I've never even thought twice about how it could be viewed as a strange notion to the older generation for women to be doing things alone. Don't feel odd or out of place about it!

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  9. When I was younger I used to hate being alone. That suddenly changed in my late teens, and now I have to spend a certain amount of time on my own in order to clear my head or I get cranky! (lol). Thanks for sharing your story - you are beautiful

    Lucie
    tasteslikevogue.blogspot.com
    x

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  10. I love St James' Gardens (and everything around and including the Anglican Cathedral really) so thank you for the beautiful pics today :)

    I need time to myself and don't function well when I'm with other people all the time. So doing stuff by myself doesn't bother me at all - walks, coffee, shopping, sitting on a bench and watching the world go by. Haven't been to the cinema by myself yet but that's only because I have a few friends and family with very similar taste in films so we always end up going together.

    Sweeping generalisation here and probably affected by the fact that I've been working with lots of untactful old people today, but an awful lot of the 60 plus age group really don't have the slightest compunction about coming out with really blunt personal comments! I take the smile and nod approach.

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  11. I agree with you totally. The generation gap is really obvious in her comments. I go pretty much everywhere alone, work, shopping, cinema etc. I like it!

    Also, you may not have seen, but theres a lovely surprise over at my blog for you. xx

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  12. This garden really looks like a peaceful place ! I enjoy doing stuff alone a lot too.

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  13. That would've really annoyed me too. It's never bothered me doing things alone (another only child here) but having people point it out sort of makes me feel like it's something I shouldn't be doing I guess.

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  14. that is definitely a little strange to say to a stranger, and oh boy i know what you mean about society still wanting women to have escorts to go places. one time my grandfather (who i love ever so dearly and hold very close to my heart) was in town and my family and i were driving home from a restaurant with him. he saw a girl walking on the streets alone (she was obviously going somewhere, and looked very sophisticated, black boots, jeans, black beret) and he saw her and said "oh is that a lady of the night?" and then my mum and pops jumped all over him because as soon as i started to get all riled up and angry (i was driving) i lost focus and the car was swerving haha. but that just goes to show you that things still arent equal at all. to an older generation a girl going somewhere alone at night is probably a prostitute. how is that fair at all? it really makes me angry, especially because i like doing things alone!
    sorry for the novel haha but i felt like you might want to hear a story slightly similar to yours.
    you have a lovely blog, by the way, and good luck on not getting overwhelmed by being too busy!!

    postcardsfromdreamland.blogspot.com

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  15. That's so ridiculous. I'd go mad if I didn't have alone time to just chill by myself. I'd be so rubbish at being a Jane Austen heroine and having to be chaperoned everywhere!

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  16. First off, beautiful photographs!
    I'm completely on your side about going solo at times, there is certainly nothing wrong with it. I like being alone, although I have a great group of friends and a boyfriend. There's just something about having your independence and doing things on your own that is so...liberating- for young women, especially. Don't let her comment get to you, she is probably stuck in the mindset of the "olden days!" :)

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  17. I don't really get comments about the fact that I'm alone, so much as people stare at me quite often. (Though I suppose that's for a myriad of reasons..) I'm only recently doing things with other people, actually, since I haven't been able to make any friends here until now, haha. I like being alone, but it gets a bit tiring when it's the only option.

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  18. There is nothing that makes me angrier than old ladies being rude. Sorry just had to get that out of my system

    I go out alone all the time and it makes what I am doing more peaceful. However, for girls at least, doing things alone is more dangerous.

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  19. What a rude little old lady! :/
    I love doing things by myself, especially shopping and getting coffee. Honestly, I'm happiest when I have a book and a frappucino, and I can just sit by myself in the back of Starbucks. I love going for walks by myself too, and I've had people make odd comments at me like "Why are you out walking all by yourself?".... because I feel like it? And I went to a concert alone once, and other people there just thought I was SO bizarre. Whatever, it was more fun than dragging someone along who wouldn't have enjoyed it much.
    :)

    http://playingdressupwithkellie.blogspot.com/

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  20. I also prefer going to the cinema and shopping alone. In fact, spending time on my own is one of my favourite things :)

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  21. this is just one in a string of experiences of blunt old ladies I have heard lately. Wonder what's up with the trend...I love being with my friends and family, but I do go slightly crazy if I don't spend some time alone every so often. keep spending time by yourself, don't let her ruin your day!

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  22. i love going places alone, I feel so independant. haven't gone to the movies yet, but I want to! But shopping alone is a must, I feel guilty for being a slow shopper. Eating alone might be a bit odd if you were in a high school cafeteria but as an adult, I think it is perfectly normal to spend some time alone, we all need our solitude.
    -indigo

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  23. I am the same, perfectly happy in my own company. Perhaps it comes from being an only child! It's a bit odd of her to say that, especially near a cemetary where most people like to spend their time alone...perhaps she thought you were upset or something.
    Love your Whoopies in the post below!xxx

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  24. I love doing things on my own, but have gotten out of the habit of it since becoming a twosome with my partner. I think it was a habit that I got out of being by myself a lot when I was a kid, and something that I enjoyed. I started traveling overseas by myself when I was just 20, and I always used to take myself to the movies. Now, not so much, but it's one of the things that I've got on my list to get back into this year :)

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  25. I spend quite a lot of time on my own. In fact, I start going a bit loopy if I don't have any alone time, especially living in a student house, its always so loud and busy and I get cranky if I can't go out and just be alone with my own thoughts for a while.
    I find the most annoying thing is when people look at you in pity when you tell them you've been to the cinema on your own. Its like they're saying "oooh poor you, couldn't get a date" and its like, whatever! I love going to the cinema on my own, its one of my favourite things to do.
    Definitely think there is still a stigma attached, especially for girls.
    X

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  26. i have to admit i recently learned to do things alone. it's really not a bad thing and as you said, just because no one's available it doesn't mean we have to stop having fun or doing things. For instance, none of my friends likes to go to thrift stores but i found it fun so i go by myself. Plus it's always nice to have a me-time once in a while.

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  27. Lovely photos deary...but wow you really have been busy!


    I love spending time by myself, much more than having company no matter how much I love the person.

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  28. I'm a pretty solitary & independent person too - I like having lots of me time! I think it's good to be able to do all those things on your own. We'd get nowhere if we had to rely on others 24/7! x

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  29. I's funny isn't it? I'm more than happy to do things like go to the cinema on my own or sit and read in a cafe but you do sometimes get some looks. Going to the pub on my own is still a major no-no thoguh even though my boyfriend will quite happily go for one before meeting his friends...

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  30. Sometimes people really don't think before they talk. I'm another only child here and growing up I didn't have a ton of friends either so I became pretty use to enjoying my own company and still do. It's great to hang out and do things with family and friends but I have to have my alone time, I start to feel a little crazy if I don't spend time alone or go out and do things by myself.
    I do sometimes get some strange looks when I go out alone but that's about it, thankfully. Usually I don't think much of it, but if someone came up to me with a comment like that I think it would annoy me a bit too.

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  31. I don't understand the anger at this old lady. It sounds like her intentions were kind, if not required on this occasion. If you had been lonely, how nice for someone to take the time to reach out?

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  32. Laura - She wasn't taking any time. She was on the middle of a guided tour and simply paused to point out that I was by myself and she felt sorry for me, then she walked off with the rest of her group. Imagine how that would really feel to someone who was lonely?

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  33. Meh, she was probably one of those (really annoying) people who always have to be with someone when they do things!

    Happy loner here. I like doing everything (cinema, restaurants) by myself.

    Great thing about London is that nobody comments on anything. Total anonymity. :)

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  34. I go to places alone all the time and I actually really enjoy my own company. I'm pretty cool.

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  35. Wow, I totally get what you're saying. I'm living in Liverpool for a year and the first time I went to St. James' gardens I went there with a couple of friends and thought 'this is like the perfect place to come on your own and just get lost in my thoughts or read a book or something'
    I don't think there's anything wrong with doing things on your own or going to places on your own. I think that what's wrong is the opposite.. I mean, people that are not capable of doing those things by themselves and always need to be with someone else.
    I admit that sometimes I do things on my own that I'd prefer doing with other people, like going to concerts. But I think a person shouldn't be so dependant on other people, like if you really want to watch a film or go to a concert and no one else wants/can go with you, then it's all good to go by yourself.

    I also think that woman was kind of rude because she has no idea why you were alone there and it could have hurt your feelings.

    I hope I've made some sense in here... my English isn't very good so it's hard to explain these feelings.

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  36. I know what you mean. I enjoy going shopping alone, I can get things done quicker, without being distracted. If I'm with friends, we often don't want to go to the same shops so it takes forever.

    I also feel that I'm being judged quite often if I go somewhere to eat alone, which again, I don't mind doing, it means I can do some reading in peace, but I feel that people give me funny looks as though they feel sorry for me. Oh well.

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  37. Havent been yet this year, but often go to St. James cemetery to get away for a moment or so,
    have sit down or lunch

    same stigma of being alone is attached to men as-well, doubt itd be so open and rude though

    and i dont understand it, just not dependent on the company of others

    nice place though, one of the great 19th century necropolises
    http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_uPjaUtd_i5Y/SxMtY3Kk2kI/AAAAAAAAAK4/Fg9h5tfaJdc/s1600/f-435.JPG

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  38. I just found your blog and I've been reading it for the last half hour - especially the Liverpool posts as my boyfriend has just moved there and I know nothing of the city! I really liked your comments about shopping alone and people 'slowing you down'. It's precisely how I feel but no one else seems to get it!

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