My mom used to be a guidance counselor in an elementary school. Her little office was filled with inspirational posters that I suppose were there to make you feel better and more confident about life. One of the sayings that I remember being among her favorites was
“Character is who you are when no one is looking.”
Living alone I guess I get to see a lot of my character.
It turns out that my character involves leaving a lot of messes and singing a lot of songs at the top of my lungs while producing awesome dance moves no one will ever get to see. Sometimes I find myself sitting at the bottom of my stairs in my studio loft with a bowl of cereal, because naturally all the chairs are filled with clean laundry, books, and other things I don’t care to move when all I want is a bowl of cereal. And I find myself sitting there as the minutes pass, staring at the wall, thinking. I think of life and love, my future and my past. I revisit old wounds and old joys, and sometimes I think of almost nothing at all.
And as I spend all of this time by myself I have found that I actually rather like myself.
As I spend time dancing, singing, making messes and writing letters, I start to hope that one day someone will get the chance to know the me that I know. One day someone will get to know the me that, when alone, lives without abandon or apology. They will get to know the me that makes faces at babies in the grocery store and spends the evenings opening and closing the sliding door, never quite able to decide if the noise is worth the fresh air. They will get to know who I am when no one is watching, because hopefully they will be the person I am to share my life with, and with them I will simply get to be me, with nothing to prove and nothing to lose.
Three years ago I would have run around screaming senseless mumbles if you would have told me that I would spend close to two years living in California by myself, but now as I go to the next stage of roommates and a full home, I think I might miss the solitary moments that I have grown used to. Though I cannot wait for the dinner parties, the movie nights, and the late night girl chats, I think I will miss getting to come home and not worry about how I will be perceived. Though my new apartment lacks stairs, I hope that maybe my new roommates won’t be surprised if they find me in a corner, eating a bowl of cereal, staring at the wall and silently contemplating life. Maybe, if I am lucky, they might just grab a bowl and join me.