Sunday, February 21, 2010

Fear of flying

Many people would rather miss a movie than attend one alone. I've never been like that. I'm exhilarated by the intensity of experiencing a movie without social distractions, and I relish the freedom of mulling it over long after the credits have rolled and the screen has gone blank—without having to render a critical judgment until I've fully digested the full film feast, and maybe not even then. It's a guilty pleasure. (Even guiltier is my preference for late-morning matinees, when it's sometimes possible to have an entire theater to myself and then a whole day to let the experience sink in.)

So, when I decided to go to the Bahamas for a yoga vacation, I made some overtures to friends to have them join me, but when one could not get the time off and another waffled over the stringent regimen (four hours a day of sitting, four hours a day of asana practice, plus karma yoga—who can blame her?), I embraced the prospect of going alone: the liberation from responsibility for anyone else's happiness, the freedom to chant out of tune in total anonymity, the chance to fly without the safety net of friendship.

But there is fear too. Fear that no one will want to sit next to the gray-haired lady at meals, the fear that I'll get sick or injured and have to rely on the kindness of strangers, the fear that I'll be lonely, the fear that I'll find my own company boring. And I recall why it is that teenage girls always, always enlist a girlfriend to accompany them even on a trip to the ladies' room.

So here I am in the JetBlue terminal first thing on a Sunday morning, hungry for adventure and a little bit scared of it too.


A said...

You're not alone, Mia. Your friends and fans are with you, sitting in that JetBlue terminal, savoring the solitude and the impending journey--and empathizing with the inevitable social anxieties amid the joy of a solitary yoga retreat. (Shucks, wish I weren't such a wimp, I'd inflict myself upon you and risk spoiling your vacation.) But it will be good. A flock of interesting yogis and yoginis will discover your commitment to the practice, your humanity and humor, and they'll surround you with companionship. May the vacation be warm, relaxing, restorative and happy. You deserve good times.

Mia said...

Wow! I feel like you're here with me!