Do Not Lose Yourself.

I haven’t written about this because I haven’t figured out a way to say it without sounding like I’m a bitter, jealous girl. Because I’m not. I’m concerned. I’m scared. And I’m realistic.

Men. The opposite sex. A lifelong partner. Your “best friend.”
Men. Assholes. Liars. Greedy, lazy, horny.

Two very different opinions on the same thing. And I can’t decide how I feel. I have had a vision of my wedding since the day I was probably 8. Beautiful, and big. And completely necessary. Then I turned 14, and the dream continued to grow. I hit 21 and I thought I was almost there. Then twenty-three arrived. And twenty five. And now I’m twenty-seven. And stilllll single. The (once comical) idea of “if I’m not married by the time I’m thirty I’m just going to have a huge birthday party with all of the money I would have spent on a wedding” is a lot closer than I anticipated it would ever be. And I haven’t decided if I’m afraid of that, and disappointed. Or if I’m okay.

From the above I guess one could see that there isn’t much that I know. HA. But here’s what I have gathered lately.

Relationships aren’t only game changers, they’re people changers. And before you tell me that I’m wrong, listen – I’m speaking from experience here. When my last relationship ended, I thought my life was going to end with it. I wasn’t exactly blindsided by the termination, and I wasn’t exactly devastated either. But I was heartbroken because I was scared. I didn’t know how, or if, I was ever going to adapt to the changes I would have to face. And why is that? Because I had lost myself in my relationship – completely. I stopped watching Notre Dame play college football on Saturday’s. I stopped driving aimlessly all alone singing at the top of my lungs. I stopped lying on the sofa eating ice cream in the dark writing on my laptop. I stopped spending time alone with my girlfriends. I stopped doing everything that makes me who I am so that I could be who he wanted. Who he needed me to be. Who I was when we were together.

So – when it all ended, I didn’t know who I was anymore. I was scared of doing anything that had become a “we” event. I was afraid to go to the College football games in town because he’d be there, with her. I couldn’t go to the river because I might break down into tears the moment I walked past the spot we fed ducks at – ONCE. I didn’t want to do anything that might make me happy because I felt like I had to be sad. Like I wasn’t allowed to be OK without the person that I convinced myself I was completely happy with just months before.

I couldn’t tell you when it happened, there wasn’t a single moment that I can pinpoint, but over time a lot of little things I witnessed helped me come to a realization.
And that is this:
Nobody should ever – never ever – lose themselves in a). somebody else, or b). a relationship.

Sharing your life with someone is healthy. And I’m sure it is a lot of fun (and I literally mean I am sure of it because I’ve experienced it myself). But we must all stay aware of what that means. To share means to have a portion of something with another, or others. Key word: PORTION. Sharing your life with someone is not the same as creating a new joint life together and getting rid of all of the traces of the two singular people you were before. There are tons of things couples can do with one another. But it is not ALL things ALL of the time. When you become a girlfriend, don’t forget about your girlfriends. And when you become a boyfriend, don’t forget about your boys. Don’t forget to make time to sit alone, drive alone, hygiene alone (you know – shower, wax, lotion). Make time to read the books you like. And watch the shows you love. And play video games for 4 and a half hours straight – online with your headphones on, yelling at complete strangers. Make time to walk by the river alone, without holding his hand. And make time to eat a meal without wondering what she’ll have since you’ve already eaten.

I don’t think that it is fair, or honest, to say that I’m opposed to relationships because on most days, I do want a wedding, a husband, a family and a home. Holding hands & sappy songs are two of my favorite things on Earth (and there are a lot of things on Earth, you should know). But I think realizing the the fairytale doesn’t always happen when we think it should is a necessary evil. We must recognize that when it doesn’t fit, we mustn’t force it. I’ve caught myself, even recently (mainly in the shower) talking myself into something being right because I’m afraid that if I don’t lower my standard, I’ll never find what I’m looking for (my own mother has asked me if I think I’m chasing perfection that isn’t realistic – *sigh). When something feels OK, I cling to it hoping it might turn into this perfect image of the future I’ve painted for myself. Or, I tell myself I’m being too outlandish with the vision I have, that things will never be as good as I could imagine so I might as well take what I’ve been given. But after a few days, I bring myself back to reality. I realize that you cannot force fate. You must wait for when things feel right, and if they never do, then maybe love just isn’t meant for you. I truly believe it’s better to be alone and content than with someone you’re unsure of. With someone who allows your mind to wander & wonder about other people. (Like you, “happily” married guy who still sends me half naked pictures and happy birthday messages. Or you, boyfriend of the girl you cheated on with me last year. Or maybe you, father of 2 little babies who spends countless hours texting me while your wife is sleeping).

Honestly, I really don’t know what I’m doing. Or what anyone is doing. Or how. Or why. I know that I ask people for advice about things even when I know how I really feel because if I have their approval I can convince myself easier that I’m happy. (I know, I know, I have to stop doing that). I also have to stop asking people how they feel about me. Because regardless of who else he may be talking to, or seeing, I like him, and the way he’s living his life really won’t change that. Time, the planets, hormones – and all sorts of other un-seeable crap changes your feelings. But never the way someone else feels about you. Or what your friends say to you. Or the media. Or your own mom for that matter. The only person who knows what you feel, and why – truly, at the rawest, realist form, when you’re in the dark, alone with your head on the pillow & the day’s events swirling in your mind – is Y-O-U. So don’t lose that person. Don’t lose your ability to be you. To trust your intuition. And make your own day sometimes.

Regardless of the energy we put into stressing over trivial things, fate wins anyway. And the belief I have in this idea alone is what keeps me sane & hopeful; even when I feel like I might die from the weight of all the worry on my shoulders. Even when I am completely confused & distraught – an utter disaster. I bring myself back to this:
Fate. Wins. Anyway. (If we have the courage to let it).


PS. When Eminem said Lose Yourself, he was wrong.


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