It’s been a little over a month since my adventures on Anna Maria Island began. Though picking up and moving to a new place without knowing anyone is audacious in itself, my small island living has been anything but adventurous!
By now, I’m overconfident in my abilities to move to new places and make friends easily. In Nashville, it wasn’t long before I had a gaggle of best friends I knew would be with me for the long haul. Nashville also had plenty of people my age who had moved there for some career project like I had.
Florida is a horse of a different color entirely, especially Anna Maria Island; which is filled with seasonal residents and vacationers who come and go. Besides that, finding someone in my age range to connect with is like a needle in a haystack.
Still, I’ve met some charming older, wiser types—like my roommate—who I can call upon to have a long talk with, which is precious to me—especially not having a mother or grandparents around anymore. However, social outings have been scarce. Writing is going well because of it, but if I’m not living—I may eventually run out of material!
I decided I have to create my own social outings, even if I start out alone. I need to show my face around the island more or nothing will change sitting in my house or hanging at the beach with my eyes closed under the sun.
Last night was one of those experiments. I had worked at Starbucks all day in the next town over and I was a little worn down from the stress of my two jobs (aside from writing) from the week. I had promised myself I would venture out at some point this weekend, though. I decided not to do anything elaborate – I wasn’t in the mood to brave a bar alone. I wasn’t in the mood to even change what I had on, which was a t-shirt that said “I’m Not Joey Ramone”. I had received the shirt from the company who makes it after writing an article on them. Anyway, I get a kick out of wearing the stupid thing because no one understands it. Well, I never knew it could be a guy magnet!
So my goal was dinner. There is a great sushi place on the island, or so everyone told me. Being a sushi lover, I felt that’s really all I was in the mood for. My roommate quipped, “You’re not going to meet anyone there.” She meant friend-wise – I was not on the prowl! And I knew that a sushi place wasn’t exactly ideal to make friends, but after the week I had – I didn’t care about who I met. I just wanted to unwind with some spicy tuna.
I decided to sit at the sushi bar since I was just one person. As soon as I sat down, a gentleman says to me, “Well, I know you’re not Joey Ramone, you’re too cute.” I laugh and thank him. Idle chatter is made and he gives me some recommendations on food upon hearing it’s my first time there. Before I know it, we’re talking until the place closes. He invites me out for a drink, where the bartender yells out, “I saw you on the trolley earlier. You’re not Joey Ramone!” Sheesh, that shirt was getting me a lot of attention!
This guy and I had great conversation going and a good amount in common. I fully expected to grab a quick bite to eat by myself with little interaction with anyone and go grocery shopping after, but what a pleasant turn of events. It just goes to show you that you don’t need to cake on a ton of make-up or wear skimpy clothing to get noticed. Sometimes all it takes is a conversation starter and being comfortable in what you’re wearing and who you are.
I know I come off as someone who is confident and comfortable with myself. Generally, I am, but that statement reflects my feelings toward my personality more than my appearance. Sometimes I think I have to try extra hard to keep up with the size fours or that my eyes are too small to be noticed or my smile is too big and cheesy to be sexy. Well, that night, I got complimented on my eyes and smile. I shouldn’t need someone else to validate my beauty, but it’s still nice to hear once in a while.
Next time you’re feeling self-conscious, throw on something that makes you feel good about yourself – not what you think would get you noticed for your body. It was much more flattering to be noticed in my silly band t-shirt than in a low-cut top that makes me feel like I only have one asset—or maybe two!