This past 8 weeks is the longest I have been single in my adult life. I’m aways tumbling into relationships, often without realising. I remember once being away with a friend and checking my phone to see someone had tagged me as ‘in a relationship’ with them, without us even having the conversation. I accepted because it’s only polite, right?! Hell, I have been engaged 3 times because I can’t say no.
And because I haven’t been alone since 16, I feared it. I felt like me without love would be like Garfield without lasagne. Turns out this Garfield isn’t really a fan of Italian food, who knew?!
I’ve been trying to work out why I felt that I was only of value if I was loved, and I recalled a conversation with my Mother recently. She’d seen a comic book about depression on my bookshelf when she took some things to my house and assumed I was depressed. I received a text message from her saying something along the lines of, ‘you just need to find someone who makes you happy’.
Firstly – I am not depressed. I like dark stories/comics/books/films.
Secondly – I realised this way of thinking has been pushed on me since forever. I am in no way blaming my Mother because in her day the expectations of women was to fall in love, have a family, be complete. Be whole.
Thirdly – Another person has never solely made me happy. But I have drained myself trying to make them happy. I once dated someone who was self harming and I as I cried to my Mum about not knowing what to do, she asked me ‘What have you done to make her feel like this?’ There is so much wrong with that question. We cannot expect another person to make us happy and we cannot put the weight of their happiness on our shoulders.
In the last 2 months I have read books, got into fitness, changed my diet, found my self esteem, been a good friend (I am not a good friend when my focus is on love), met new people (OK this wasnt always a good idea), been happy, taken a breath and actually started to work out what I want.. I have turned down love, rejected good (and not so good) people, said no. I would never have done this before. I have broken hearts and not looked back. I have taken red flags for what they are, I have cut people out. I haven’t cried once. I haven’t dwelled on the past. I haven’t felt worthless. In fact for the first time ever, I actually feel worthy of something more.
We are the lead character in our own lives but so often we give other people the spotlight. And if you can do that and not lose your own sense of value, that’s amazing. I however, had no idea how much damage this was doing to mine.
Goodbye, lasagne. Hello tea for one.