Take Time to Find Yourself Before You Search for Romeo
So here I am… 4 years going on 5 of being completely and very single. I’m not going to act like I’m freaking miserable and all my friends are already married #PoorMe since that is not the case at all. I’m seriously so happy with my life. Before people assume that the only thing I need now is a boyfriend, I really just wish I had more money since living in NYC is ridiculously expensive and I really like shoes, coffee, and vodka. But yeah, I guess having a boyfriend would be ‘nice’ since I’m getting to the age where my friends are getting engaged, married, or moving in with their #bae, and I’m still cuddling a glass of Malbec and a stale popcorn bag in my shoebox-sized room in Astoria. I’m not the only single friend out of my group either, but most of them can call me “the friend that has been single for so long maybe she’s a lesbian or way too psychotic to date.” So yeah, no one else has succeeded in being single for as long as I have, but I also believe that none of them would survive being out of a relationship for this long (which they also tell me). Some people may say that my independent nature is somewhat obnoxious and/or overwhelming, but it is the characteristic that I love most about myself.
A common characteristic that I have discovered throughout some people I’ve had to keep my distance from and/or detox from my life are those who are entirely dependent on others, whether it is their parents, their boyfriend/girlfriend, their friends, etc. As I stated in a previous post, I was raised in an emotionally detached household. In other words, my parents never spoiled me with “I love you’s” and a fountain of gifts and positive engagement. I learned at an early age my dad was hard to impress, which drove me to work harder so I can make him proud. My mom [still to this day] has never said I love you to me, which has made it hard for me to emotionally open up to others. This all led to the development of my thick and independent skin, knowing that I will have to always work hard and never expect others to do things for me, even if that ‘thing’ is just giving me a compliment.
I want to make it clear that there is nothing wrong with being somewhat dependent on others, but it is something that I have trouble relating to. It is not that I am jealous, since I’ve stated that I love my independent nature, but that I don’t see the passion and drive in their eyes to be better person. I don’t find these people to be taking the extra step to find a job that they truly enjoy, or date a guy that makes them feel like they never have before. I find the lack of passion and desire to be a form of settling. Settling is my enemy, and a fearful characteristic I hope to never absorb.
Going back to what I said before, a lot of people even tell me, “I don’t know how you’ve stayed single that long.” I’m not actually surprised when I hear this, because at one point, I was surprised, too. People would tell me, “Oh, but you’re pretty, smart, and funny. How are you single?” I’m sure many of you have had the dreaded holiday experience of getting asked for the millionth time if you have a boyfriend/girlfriend yet. After four years of trying to dodge the question and blurt out, “can you please pass the potatoes,” I’m trying to look at these past few years in an entirely different way.
After I say to my friends, “Yeah, I don’t know, I just don’t think I’m ready for a relationship,” they usually say something along the lines of “I don’t think I could be alone for that long.” Shocking. The typical misconception that since I am single, I must be feeling alone all the freakin’ time. Yes, I definitely feel alone SOMETIMES when I am single, but I have also felt alone when I had a boyfriend (we are talking mentally alone, not just physically here). Alone and lonely do not always correlate with being single. In fact, I feel more loved and accompanied than I have in years.
The best part about #findinghappy when you are single [like I am now] is that you do not feel guilty about enjoying your day without anyone else but yourself. There are days when I go for a walk by myself in Manhattan and start smiling at kids fooling around in the subway, tourists amazed by the sites of Times Square, and a family sharing the best pie of pizza they’ve ever had. I’ve had friends question me asking, “what do you do all that time by yourself in the city?” Sometimes I really don’t do much, and sometimes I travel to 10 different places in just a few hours. But that is the point, I never know what I am going to do when I go for these walks. I can be by myself for hours and not stress about texting anyone back or making sure I’m home by a certain time. I can be free and smile and wander without feeling guilty I am enjoying all this time alone. It is truly cliche but truly accurate that in order to love doing things alone, you must love yourself first.
#LoveYourselfFirst is something that has not always come natural for me. In fact, I pretty much hated myself for many years of my life. I hated my body and hated that I didn’t look like my skinnier or prettier friends. Even when I was 5 years old, I told my mom that I hated my dimples and wanted them surgically removed (lol) along with my freckles. I still struggle with my body image, but then again what 20-something year old doesn’t in this age of size 0’s, Photoshop, and thigh gaps. With the help of therapy, meds, friends etc., I have come to the point where I am truly starting to love myself. I love that I am eager to be more awesome tomorrow than I was the day before. I am starting to believe that I am a #badass and #girlboss, and I can make anything happen if I finally start trusting myself and continuing to work as hard as I always have.
Being single [for me] over the years has not been always wandering around Manhattan, smiling and giggling. Being single has also been going home by myself crying on nights my friends left me to hang out with their boyfriend, staying in on Friday nights because that was “date night” for everyone else, and going to weddings alone because I couldn’t find a date in time. Just like a relationship, single life ain’t all rainbows and sunshine. If you want something to succeed, you have to work for it.
Marriage takes hard work, and so does being single. You have to work at being comfortable with yourself and familiarize yourself with all those feelings and emotions you buried for years. You have to cut the shit with denying your true persona and doubting your existence. Sometimes we deny we are a certain way because we assume that “some guy” or whoever won’t like that side of us. We doubt that we are freaking awesome just because the last douchebag we dated decided to end things over a text message.
So here we are, single and depressed and stuffing our face with Ben & Jerry’s, because we don’t feel like working on ourselves and getting out of this rut. People don’t want to work on themselves because they either feel “this is how I am meant to be” or because we believe that we genuinely just need to “change” for another person. NO NO NO. No one is meant to be alone in bed every Saturday night watching Sex and the City and crying when they can’t find the remote. No one needs to change because some asshole said you would look better as a brunette. Working on yourself starts with accepting the truth, and beginning to detox your life. You detox your life of all the negativity and people who make you feel shitty. You start to surround yourself with people who make you smile and don’t judge your opinions or behaviors. You do things that make you feel good, not things that are supposed to make you feel good (I.E., just don’t do yoga because people say you should do yoga). Take care of your body and eat well, but don’t be a slave of steamed chicken and broccoli. Stop worrying about trying to achieve perfection and enjoy the little things in life. Compliment strangers — it may seem weird but I’ve never seen a smile like the one where I compliment another girl’s shoes in my office building. Remember, good vibes are contagious. People will gravitate toward you once they notice how you radiate positivity.
I am not saying here that I don’t want to find love or I don’t want it to find me, but that I am completely content with my single life right now. I have never been so at peace with coming home to an empty bed and not having someone always lay next to me. Of course, I miss cuddling and spooning but at least I have my dog in Long Island for that every once in a while. Others have questioned me [as I have myself] whether I believe in falling in love or not. I still actually don’t know if I do, but it is not something I am stubborn about or spiteful toward. I am so happy when I see my friends filled with joy after finding their significant other. Maybe that will be me some day, but I have also learned to accept that maybe it won’t be me. Maybe I am meant to be single, or maybe I’m not. Time will tell. If the love of my life is out there right now, great. But if he’s not, that’s okay, too.
If you are lost, Romeo, take your time. I’m doing okay without you, babe.