I remember wanting to go to this concert back in 2018 as a graduation gift for myself. At the time, I was really into this duo group, Superfruit, and they were going on a small tour around the U.S. One of the stops was New York City; a 45-minute train ride to the venue separated me from seeing a group I really wanted to hear sing live in concert. Two things: I was unemployed and broke, so I wasn’t able to afford the $25 tickets for the show, and I was deathly afraid to go to a concert on my own. I asked my sibling if they wanted to go, but they weren’t interested in seeing a group they didn’t really know. I didn’t know anyone else that would want to come with me to this concert, so I felt discouraged and ended up not going. I still remember looking at the group’s Snapchat stories and seeing footage of them performing at the NYC show. Major FOMO put me in the saddest mood that night. I told myself that if there was ever an artist or show I wanted to go see in concert, I would prepare and have friends to d it with and blah blah blah; needless to say it was an empty promise. I missed out on a lot of major events because I was just too afraid to go out and do these things on my own.
Hi, my name is Liz and I am now my own “plus one” to shows and events.
It took some experience and rewiring of my brain to finally master the art of being my own company. It’s funny; I had this conversation at work one Monday afternoon with Christine, my former temporary supervisor before my current supervisor came. She expressed to me that she thought it was empowering for me to go out and do things on my own, and I couldn’t have agreed more. You see, I’ve dealt with social anxiety long before I was medically diagnosed with it; I still remember being a senior in college going to a friend’s birthday gathering, and having a full-blown panic attack because I was anxious to the point I couldn’t even get up and use the restroom for 5 hours straight. Mind you, that was in 2016; two years before I sought out therapy and officially got the diagnosis. I always had a hard time existing in a social space, so I avoided them at all costs. As I got older, I started to feel like I was missing out on a lot in life; I was already in my mid-20s when I stopped being a college student and got my first job; needless to say, I’ve been a late bloomer for a lot of things in life. It wasn’t until I was truly socially alone that I started to declare myself as my own “plus one” to things that I wanted to do.
Back in early 2020 (pre-pandemic), I decided to buy tickets to a concert of a group that I was really into at the time. They were going on their first U.S. tour and the last stop was in Brooklyn at The Kings Theatre. I contemplated whether or not I wanted to go; I knew I was going to have to go by myself as I didn’t know anyone else at the time who was into K-pop. I took a chance to go and enjoy myself listening to music that I enjoyed at the time. I went, by myself, and had the best time. In a way, it kickstarted my solo adventures, and to this day I still live off the philosophy that if I want to do something, I am able to do it by myself and still enjoy my own company.
This mission of experiencing life in my own company allowed me to even go on my first solo trip! Before going to Florida in 2020, the only trips I ever went on were with family or with my partner at the time. During this time, I was still learning how to be alone; I was discovering myself in a way that was very new to me, so when I decided that I was traveling on a plane (for the first time ever) to Florida alone, I was conquering and challenging all of the social fears I had. It was one thing to avoid any social space because of my social anxiety, but to face my fears of social spaces and do them on my own was, in Christine’s words, very empowering.
In 2022 when the world decided to “unofficially” open back up, I took advantage of the tours of the acts on my bucket list. In June 2022, I went to see the Game Grumps at the NYC stop of their tour and literally had the best time of my life by myself. They have been a YouTube duo that I’ve been watching for nearly 7 years now, so needless to say it was surreal to finally see these two in-person acting like their complete selves as if they were simply recording another episode of Game Grumps for their YouTube channel.
In October 2022, I went to see Demi Lovato while she was in NYC on her “HOLY FVCK Tour”, and when I say that was possibly the best concert I’ve been to thus far. I’ve been listening to Demi Lovato since her Disney Channel days back in 2008 and needless to say that her vocals are some of the best to come out of that generation of Disney stars. It’s been on my bucket list to hear her sing live in concert one day, and when she released her latest pop-rock-influenced album of the same name, I fell in love with it. It was only right to see her perform some of her new songs and even her pop-rock classics from back in the day and feel like I’m 14 years old again. Something was in the air that night of the concert; it was like everyone was together and having fun; dancing in their seats and singing along to the songs. I sat next to two girls who were clearly friends and even though I did not know them, the three of us danced in our row and just connected through the music that we loved and adored. Again, something that I would’ve missed out on if I was too scared to go to concerts and gatherings on my own.
It’s really my biggest goal when tackling my social anxiety; I want to be able to do things because I want to do them. If going on these solo adventures is what it takes to go and make memories by seeing the artists I admire and enjoy, then that’s exactly what I’m doing. It has taught me to go after the things I want, and speaking of which; tonight I’m going to see NMIXX in Brooklyn for their “Nice to MIXX You” Showcase! It’s funny and very ironic that I am going to the same venue where I saw another JYP girl group, ITZY, a little over 3 years ago! I’m really excited to be going to another K-pop concert on my own! K-pop concerts always give me a little more anxiety due to their nature of them (aka, they can be quite chaotic), but I’m so ready to sing and dance and see another talented group in concert
Oh, and in true Liz fashion: solo. ;D