Self-Validation

Rebecca Ahn
9 min readDec 15, 2010

I remember the first time I went to a movie by myself. It was December 14, 2010 and it was an experiment; a social experiment.

Except this time I wasn’t analyzing how people interact or how I interact with other people, but quite the opposite. I was trying to uncover something much more important and much harder to diagnose: how I interact with myself. And from there, hopefully, ultimately understand more about who I am and what I want out of this life.

Believe me, I realize that’s a lot of pressure to put on one 2-hour matinee. Of course, this didn’t really occur to me at the time. So on with the story we go…

I drove myself to the theater with the nervous anticipation of a kid starting their first day at school. I kept reminding myself that I was doing this for myself, and nobody else. But I couldn’t help wonder what other people at the theater might think of me, or how pathetic I was sure it would look to them. But I bought my ticket for one with my head high and the confidence of this decision in my heart. I could feel their eyes on me as I calmly purchased a snack and made my way into Theater 4.

Or at least I thought it was Theater 4. I was so preoccupied with myself and how I appeared to others that I didn’t check the theater number very carefully before sauntering right in. So now I’m inside, and have walked far enough into the theater that the other people in their seats could now clearly see me. Now I don’t want to look lost or stupid by walking back out. So I hesitate for a mere second, and then decide to just gather myself and beeline for my assigned seat.

Photo from AMC Theaters

That’s the great thing about the San Francisco Kabuki AMC Theater. They’ve been letting you pick an assigned seat even way back in 2010. So even when the theater’s nearly empty and you have the complicated (albeit privileged) task of deciding where would be most comfortable to sit relative to the few others in the theater, you didn’t have to worry about any of that here. You’ve already been assigned. You already have your place. So you can walk confidently to that exact seat without thinking twice or questioning your identity. Just one of the many things that makes San Francisco one of my favorite US cities to visit, even when I’m by myself.

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Rebecca Ahn

Writer • Wanderer • Warrior | toughcookietravel.comamazon.com/dp/B00F2AK2VKrebeccaahn.com | Sharing stories that empower others to survive and thrive