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How I Took Myself Out to Breakfast

 

 

How I Took Myself Out to Breakfast

Picture this: It’s 2003 and I’m standing in my 6th grade lunchroom. I’m holding my food and looking around at the tables quickly filling up. I had just spent a week fighting with and subsequently losing my group of friends. I had no table to sit at, no friends to eat with, and no confidence to just join another group. Eventually I picked a corner. With my right shoulder pressed hard against a wall, I sat and silently ate the food I couldn’t taste. Humiliation came over me in waves. I couldn’t stand eating alone. I hated being with myself. 17 years later, I want to share how I took myself out to breakfast.

I decided I was done running from myself about mid-way through college.

I wanted to have independence and to have the ability to be alone with my thoughts. Once I started opening up I felt something I had never truly felt before when I was alone: peace. I didn’t mind stopping at the student center and getting food by myself. Going for a walk or a trip to the library or even just grocery shopping alone felt like freedom. I was present with my thoughts and no one had to distract me from them. And guess what? Those thoughts didn’t haunt me like they used to! So that brings me to my self-breakfast-date.

I wanted to see, now 8 years after the breakthrough of finding peace in alone time, if I could still go out to eat by myself and not feel so self-conscious. I went to my current-favorite breakfast place and said, “Just one today, thanks.” They ushered me through the restaurant and into their outdoor seating area. Families and friends filled six or seven other tables. I was the only one eating solo. Leaving my phone in my purse, I pulled out my current book (China Rich Girlfriend, it’s amazing by the way).

I didn’t worry if people were wondering why I was eating alone.

Nor did I obsess over having a distraction to keep my mind from running. I sat there and ate my protein-dense meal (because who doesn’t like bacon, sausage, eggs, and heavily creamed coffee after a 7-mile run?!) in absolute relaxation. Knowing that I chose to be there, rather than being ostracized by people I once thought of as friends, made the biggest difference to me. I had the power to enjoy my own company, and that’s not something a group of friends could ever give me.

Those few months navigating the lunchroom in 2003 were pretty agonizing. It might not seem like much to us adults, but at the time my 11-year-old self couldn’t fathom independence. But in the 17 years since that time, I have found a love for me, a comfort in my own presence, and a true appreciation for my alone time. When I went to pay, the hostess asked if I enjoyed my meal. In complete honesty I told her, “The meal was great but eating alone was even better.”

 

 

how I took myself out to breakfast

You call it being alone. I call it enjoying my own company.

 

FULL TRANSCRIPT. (The following is the full transcript of this episode of The Be Seen and Heard Journey. Please note that this episode, like all BSH Journey episodes, features Victor speaking extemporaneously–he is unscripted and unedited.)

Hey, it’s Victor. Welcome to another Be Seen and Heard journey. Thank you so much for being with me today. We at childhood victories are so grateful that you take the time out of your day to either watch the videos or listen to the podcast or read the amazing blogs by Deanna.
This week we’re talking about how it’s really okay to be alone. Now I’ve had my own business for probably 20 years now, and I do spend a lot of time alone when I’m not presenting in schools. I’m alone working on my business and I love it. I’ll go to Starbucks and I’ll sit and I will work away. And I’m okay with that. So this week we decided to do something a little bit outside of our comfort zones.

Now I can’t speak for Deanna, but for me, going to a restaurant, eating by myself is a little bit outside my comfort zone.

Why? Well, because I don’t really do it very often. I’m always with somebody. So just the other day, I took myself to a restaurant for breakfast and I sat at the counter, which I have probably never done in my life. I looked around and I noticed there were other people by themselves at the counter. While now with COVID we had to be a couple of seats apart, but needless to say it was a very eye opening experience because here’s what I learned. Number one: I was sitting there and the first thing I did was grabbed my phone. I started texting a friend and we’re texting back and forth. She had already known what I was doing at that moment. She replied with, “You can’t be texting on the phone because you’re really not alone then.” I thought about that and I’m like, “Yeah, you’re right.” So she came back with,

“Take time to be by yourself, look around, be aware, smell the smells, look around behind the counter, see how they have designed the countertops and just listen. Listen for people talking, eavesdrop if you want.”

No, no, don’t do that. But that’s funny because as soon as I started to listen, I looked to my left and this couple was sitting there and they had made mention of what I was eating. They’re like, “Oh my gosh, that looks so good.” And then we started a conversation. It was quick, but I wouldn’t have had that opportunity if I was stuck in my phone. So for me, it’s all about learning to be alone, outside my comfort zone.
In fact, I’m even thinking this week to go to a yoga class, which I have never done before in my life, in order to grow. Let’s go outside of our comfort zones and let’s do something that we wouldn’t normally do. So for me, eating at a countertop at a restaurant was totally outside my comfort zone. And even when I put down my phone, I felt self-conscious. I felt that people were looking at me because I was alone. Then I looked around and nobody really cared. Nobody cared at all.

I was just sitting there eating my breakfast and enjoying my coffee and my water.

And that allowed me to be more present. That is the message. This week take time for yourself, go outside of your comfort zones, try something new and be happy with the person that you are with all of the time. That is you. Thank you again for listening and watching this. Please share this with your family and friends and let’s keep the messages going. Remember all of us deserve to be seen and heard and to have great moments alone. Have a great day. Bye.