After finding the courage to end a surprisingly unhealthy relationship pretty much cold turkey:
I am officially single.
It was exhausting, both mentally and physically, not to mention broke my heart. Everything I believed and trusted was called into question, but luckily time heals all wounds. When I’m ready I’ll share that story, but until then I want to focus on me.
And that starts with a confession: I have never been single.
Since I was 16 I have ‘monkey-barred’, (as referred to by one of my close girlfriends) from guy to guy. Swinging from the arms of one right into the next allowed me to never have to put my feet on the ground or experience being on my own. I was always someone’s prized possession. The title of ‘girlfriend’ made me feel worthy, important, special, purposeful and loved.
I never saw anything wrong with this behavior, when in reality I was inadvertently destroying myself slowly but surely in the process. The consistent monogamy throughout my teens and 20’s was a coping mechanism for my insecurities, anxieties and perfectionism. It allowed me to completely avoid figuring out who I actually was. Instead, I’ve been able to distract myself by always taking care of another person. Giving them everything I had to the point of eventually feeling resentful, drained and angry. We, especially as women, (but men too), are expected to be all the things all the time. I have certainly felt the pressure to live up to everyone’s expectations and my own internal standards while struggling on the outside to effortlessly appear put together.
Now– I have the clarity, maturity, and self-awareness to appreciate the fact I have the opportunity to be truly single for the first time in my adult life. The plan is to capitalize on this moment and invest fully in myself. I’m single and not ready to mingle. After the relationship ended, I was quick to jump on dating apps for fast validation, but it was clear this behavior was me simply not learning from my mistakes. I was repeating the past expecting different results (which is what crazy people do) and also realized it was the perfect environment to potentially welcome more toxic people into my life. (I’ll disclaimer this with: by no means do I believe everyone on dating apps is bad, but it’s the perfect place for manipulative and lazy daters to target people: so I’m personally steering clear for now.)
I want to evolve and improve as a person, so I’m breaking my habit of chasing men who are not worthy of my time and may not fully respect me. Why? Because all I want is a healthy, happy relationship. I value love so highly on my happiness scale. Love is why we exist. It’s what art, culture and history revolves around.
There is no denying how important love and connection are to our happiness and well-being. But I know that I can only bring my best self to a relationship if I fully understand my sense of self-worth and truly love me. It sounds counter-intuitive to want to stay single when all I crave is a happy relationship and a family. But it is a far healthier and more effective approach to finding out exactly what I want and need to get out of this short, but significant life.
I’m going to say it right now– being single does not make you any less worthy, important or successful than those who are married, have kids or seem to ‘have it all’. Because the grass is always greener.
So if you are like me, approaching this single phase of life or already in it– look at it as the most grand adventure you will ever escape on. We are the lucky ones to have the freedom to welcome new people, experiences, and opportunities into our lives without ever having to apologize for any of it.
One of the many things I lost during the course of this last relationship was my writing. I stopped blogging after he repeatedly made negative remarks about bloggers and the entire concept of it all. Every time I sat down to write I was so self-conscious and eventually just gave up all together. It’s been almost a year since I’ve published anything new and that is going to change. This space and my storytelling will change. I’ll still focus on minimalism, but more on authenticity, vulnerability and just generally sharing my unfiltered opinions. It won’t appeal to everyone, I will lose ‘followers’ and I don’t care at all. If it doesn’t resonate with you, no worries. I know I’m not a special snowflake. I’m not perfect, in fact– far from it. Which is why I’m going to share it all. I am flawed, but I am enough. My flaws are what make me interesting and my ‘enoughness’ is what makes me great.
My first step, is just learning how to be single. If you have any positive suggestions or personal experience to share feel free to drop them in the comments. I’m currently reading Daring Greatly by Brené Brown and it’s definitely helping me reshape how I think about myself and all the relationships in my life.