I was introduced to the fashion by a friend of mine back in 2002. However, after she wore it once for a party I never saw it again, and lolita's visibility in my small hometown was essentially back to zero. About seven years later I started wearing lolita myself, and it was a fascinating experience. I've slowly grown into the style and am only now beginning to participate in the community.
As a classic lolita, I was lucky. My style was, and still is, fairly low-key; I don't stand out as much as a girl in cotton candy colored pigtails will. Everyone who commented was kind. Older ladies told me that they loved my outfit and they had worn similar things when they were younger. Girls my own age told me they liked my shoes. Older gentlemen held doors open for me or tipped their hat when I passed.
Even so, I was the only one.
In some ways, I still am. I have only managed to make it to one meet up (curse my adult responsibilities). I don't have any lolita friends nearby. My main contact with the subculture is online, from reading the comments my dear readers post to chatting with people on the local comm's Facebook group. I am, for all intents and purposes, still a lone lolita.
But there are a lot of good things about being a lone lolita, too.
My favorite part of being a lone lolita is that there are zero community expectations. When I walk around in my petticoats (or without because it's simply too hot...), there is no idea of what a lolita should be following me about. I can find my own style and my own code of behavior.
When you do want to join in the community, we live in the digital age! You can share your frills when you want to, talk to other girls who are in the same boat, or just enjoy chatting. I've had extended conversations with other girls in the local comm about food and history, and that was extremely enjoyable.
I also love the way that any direct interpersonal connection becomes very special when it is so rare. As previously mentioned, I keep handwritten notes from the indie designers whose clothing I purchase or from fellow lolitas whose secondhand clothing I buy. I keep these notes in the pages of a scrapbook, and each one is precious to me.
Another great thing is that being a lone lolita means that you are allowed to make mistakes in a safe space. There are no embarrassing pictures floating around unless you want there to be. You can also develop your own style by experimentation without fear of being judged if an experiment goes awry.
Not, of course, that I want to be a lone lolita forever. I would love it if there were more frilly girls nearby, people with whom I could share my hobby. But there are certain things that I do enjoy about being able to explore the style in my own way.