This weekend marks six months of single life for me. Six freeing, lonely, beautiful and depressing months that I have gratefully survived and even thrived.
After feeling forced to walk away from the relationship, the last one I thought, dreamt and hoped I would ever be in, I was broken like most people after the end of a relationship. That’s why it’s a breakup, right?
Being broken isn’t attractive to anyone; I don’t even want to be around me when I’m going through a breakup. But despite the overall miserable vibe I was emitting and clinging to, I jumped back into the icy waters of dating and then clawed my way right back out… but only after meeting a really great guy. He will be known as Exhibit B and he scared me out of the dating pool with his niceness.
What about my Exhibit A? Exhibit A was my life, my future, my best friend and now here I am, out with another guy, less than two months later! The nauseating knot in my stomach grew from the feeling of cheating on the love of my life. I then had to remind myself throughout the rest of the date that the ‘love of my life’ left me.
He left me.
When I reached my arms out to him to help him with the emotional pain he was experiencing; he chose to leave and handle it himself instead of as the team we were supposed to be.
And that is okay.
Numbness overcame me halfway through the date because it was painfully obvious to me now that I wasn’t over Exhibit A and I had very little interest in the great guy in front of me because of that. I struggled through until the end, trying to stay positive and light, not showing how sad and confused I had become.
While driving home I went to dial a friend’s number to discuss this bewildering first date and a text popped up from Exhibit B apologizing for not telling me how beautiful I am and that he had a great time. Damn it Exhibit B, why are you so nice and why am I so illogical?! My friend’s voice sounded through my phone and by the end of the conversation determined what was wrong with Exhibit B: he wasn’t Exhibit A and that was not a sin by any means.
‘He should get a second date and you have to give it a real shot this time.” She was right. So, Exhibit B got a second date and it was even more difficult to fain my enthusiasm. Difficult to the point that he didn’t seem very surprised when I told him I just wasn’t ready for what he had to offer which was a lot of what I was looking for.
“The heart wants what it wants baby,” Selena Gomez knows and I should have too. I knew I couldn’t force getting over Exhibit A no matter how awesome Exhibit B was or any other exhibition I would have stumbled upon.
And that is okay.
Embracing our emotions as we feel them is how we grow and heal. I hurt someone else’s heart while I was rushing to heal mine and that did not feel great.
So for the rest of the summer I allowed myself to feel and heal my way back to my sassy confident self. I didn’t date or even engage in conversation with the male species until I knew I was ready. I cried all I could cry. I cried through what felt like a thousand depressing, sleepless nights. During nights out with the girls I snuck off to the bathroom to cry alone. I laughed until tears streaked my cheeks sometimes out of joy, sometimes out of encompassing sadness. I cried until my head hurt and my eyes stung from dehydration.
After each tear fest I would whisper sweet nothings to myself.
“You are going to be okay.”
“You are so ridiculous and so beautiful. I love you. I am loving and I am lovable!”
Every day for six months I allowed myself to empty my heart of sorrow to make room for love. Not the love of a new romantic partner, love for my damn self!
Some days were a breeze, others I wanted to pack up my life and find a distant ravine in which I would live out my days as a lowly inn keeper, doomed to die alone. Then the day came where I no longer had to adapt the fake it, ‘til you make it, motto.
Within days of having this ‘ah-ha’ moment, it happened. It started raining men, pouring men. And I had no warning from the weather forecaster, no umbrella, no nothing.
Enter Exhibit C, D and E; Yes, three guys interested in me in the same week! Yes I know, quality over quantity is the goal but hey it’s nice to know there’s hope at the end of this inn keepers’ tunnel.
Cultivate your own hope when your heart breaks, when that job you interviewed for last week didn’t lead to an offer, even when you are just going through a slump. Rain is a part of life, rain nurtures life. Keep moving forward until the rain ceases or turns into a blessing.
**Re-enter Exhibit B. I admitted some hard truths and decided to reach out to him and he was pretty excited about it. Waiting to go on our second, first date.
**Re-enter Exhibit A, unexpectedly, extremely unexpectedly my ex reached out to me in a positive way. Introducing him to self love 101.
Credit to Madalyn Parsch writer for the Self Love Beauty community on The Odyssey Online.
Note: The Self Love Beauty is a platform for all Self Love Beauty stories from The Odyssey Online.