Updated: Jul 19, 2021
Okay, so it’s a great city, and flying alone was a moment of independence, likely the first you ever felt during your strict mormon childhood, but “why do you want to go to Paris alone?”
My mom asked it that way, and I’m sure she wouldn’t be alone in asking. It's probably unusual to go on a vacation alone, especially when you're a married mom.
Put simply, it’s about putting myself first, something I rarely do as a wife and mom, and something I was never encouraged to do as the oldest daughter of 5 kids (mormon).
Going to the most romantic city in the world, alone, as a married woman with a baby, could look like I’m looking for trouble. Or it could look like I’m desperate for an escape, or a million other things.
But I love being alone. I always have. I used to enjoy alone time with the caveat of “but I could never eat out alone in public!” or “I could never see a movie alone!” and then I did those things and realized how absolutely amazing it is.
See, as a lifelong people pleasing oldest daughter raised in a high-demand religion with gender roles strictly enforced both inside the home and outside the home, being alone was the path of least resistance.
If I’m alone, there’s no guilt for failing to please everyone (or anyone).
If I’m alone, I don’t have to go along with things I don’t want to do, just because everyone else does.
If I’m alone, I don’t have to worry about judgment around what I’m eating, what I want to eat, or that I’m hungry at all.
If I’m alone, I get to answer only to myself.
Alone is also key to feeling powerful, independent, and doing exactly what I want.
I’m working on healing my people-pleasing (and more!) in therapy and through shadow work, but it’s work. It’s a lot of emotional labor for me to remind myself to say “no, I’d rather drink wine at this cafe than shop more” if the group wants to shop. It makes me uncomfortable and I feel guilt around doing what I want. It’s not entirely logical, but it makes sense given my background.
Putting myself first was not allowed. I’m from a big family, so we all had to balance everyone else’s needs and wants, but as the oldest, I was expected to be a good example, and as a daughter, that often meant doing what I could to keep the peace. So if I wanted burgers but other kids wanted pizza, I was voted down and I couldn’t be disappointed.
This trip is me putting myself first in a big way. Flights are really affordable right now, but it’s still the most money I’ve ever spent on just myself. It’s the most extravagant gift I’ve ever given myself. It’s the most I’ve ever done for myself.
But I’m taking myself to Paris, where I will do exactly what I want, managing only myself, for a full week.
It’s going to be romantic as hell and I deserve that.
I deserve to treat myself like my own sugar baby.
I deserve to treat myself to macarons, croissants, and other incredible pastries and meals.
I deserve to enjoy this trip, without any guilt.
Going to Paris alone is me telling myself that I am worth investing in, taking care of, and having fun with.