Warning: Personal post ahead. Proceed at your own risk.
Last week, I posted a photo on the significance of my tattoo. While my mother didn’t exactly like that I aired it all to the world, I received an outpouring of comments, messages and support. If by sharing my heart, I can help just one beautiful soul feel that they are not alone in their struggles, to gain the courage to reach out or seek help, it is well worth it to me.
A constant reminder when the going gets rough to push past the demons that at times consume me. When I get anxious to the point of canceling plans, when I revert back to my old disordered eating habits, when I guzzle too many wines to numb feelings of pain, when I seek out male attention just to feel like I’m worth a dime. My life is worth far more than any number on the scale, horrible hangover or acceptance from another person. This will be a lifelong battle but one I’m willing to fight til the very end??
I decided I needed to elaborate on my story. So here it goes…
It can be a tricky skill to master, finding comfort in your own company.As a self-proclaimed introverted extrovert, I thrive from the energy of others; yet need to step back to reflect on how meaningful each connection I have with another person is.
Since I first began dating at 16, I was always a loyal, all-or-nothing, relationship gal. I loved getting to know a single guy on that deeper, romantic level; to count on each other through thick and thin, the good and bad, the happy and sad. That is until a rather rough breakup overseas with someone I would have given the world to.
Against my better judgement, out of spite and loneliness, I turned to good ‘ol Tinder. My friends were surprised. Why do you need Tinder? You’re a pretty girl in a foreign country, with a five star personality. This is Sydney, there’s like a billion people outside that door.
I was suddenly terrified in my own company. I craved human interaction and would go to great lengths for it. If my friends were all busy, I would peruse tinder and settle for whatever I could get. My standards dropped extremely low as I felt like an addict, waiting for their next high. If I couldn’t find the attention I so desired, I’d avoid the darkness I felt by drowning my sorrows in wine.I became a perpetual dater, quickly bouncing from one fling to the next, without any loss in gusto. I would force connections that weren’t really there, falling in “lust” with anyone that showed even a hint of interest.
When certain aspects of my life felt out of control, I used male validation to fill the void of the emptiness I felt inside. I was constantly looking for fulfillment and happiness from external forces, doing anything and everything to feel wanted, to feel needed.
I stopped letting myself get emotionally involved, because leaving myself vulnerable only led to more pain in the end. I would get my heart broken or vice versa, yet move on after a few tears shed. I learned to accept and even embrace, rejection. It further confirmed that I wasn’t worthy.
I came to a startling revelation: I was in love with the idea of being in love.
A huge reason I left Australia (beyond not loving my job) was realizing I was headed down a dangerous path and I didn’t have the family support system I so badly needed. I had completely lost myself in the pursuit of pleasing others.What does it truly mean to be alone yet content?
I think it is so vitally important to love yourself first and foremost. I’ve realized it is damn near impossible to love another and have a healthy relationship until you are confident in yourself.
You cannot depend on another person for your sense of self-worth. By placing your happiness in the hands of another, you give them power over your emotions.
Since returning from Australia, I have had time to do some soul searching. I spent six weeks traveling Europe and since have been surrounded by family. I have learned the difference between being desired and being loved.
I’m learning to get good at being alone. Alone doesn’t have to mean lonely. It’s a mindset. It means maturing as an individual and growing strong for yourself, rather than off another. I’ve turned to adrenaline inducing activities such as travel, running and yoga, which give me that healthy high, almost better than being in love.Being single is about having the time and space to focus on yourself, to grow confident in your strengths and weaknesses. I am savoring this time for what it’s worth, making myself an all around better person, mentally and physically.
The 20’s are my selfish years. My time to invest in my heart and soul. To put myself first. To immerse myself into my deepest passions. To value my wants, needs, and desires. Not to live for anyone else.
My life is no longer about finding someone to complete me and instead realizing I am already whole. I will love when I am ready, not when I am lonely.
I can’t wait to one day find that special someone that I couldn’t imagine life without. Until then, I am done “looking for love” and settling for mediocre. I’m realizing my worth and done letting men throw me around like a rag doll. I have myself, and am learning to love myself, and I know now that is the most important aspect in learning to love another.Fall in love with yourself. Every damn day. Appreciate your gifts. Marvel at your efforts. And most importantly, applaud your existence.