I asked myself what I’ve learned recently about my favourite subject, love. I thought about the people I’ve met in the past few months, about myself and where I am right now.
I’ve had an idea for a book for quite a few years, which I like to joke that I’ll publish by the time I’m 30. When I first thought of it in high school, I said it’d be a book of all the people I’ve ever loved. Each chapter would have a name. That’s why I had to wait until I was 30, so I’d have time to meet the love of my life (the last chapter). When I started University, I narrowed my thesis. I told myself that it would still be about all the people I’ve ever loved but that it would track my understanding of love from the perspective of a young girl transitioning for adolescence into adulthood. It would encompass just as much of the pain of those years as it would the romanticism of each story. Now, I know that there’s a larger theme of self love that underlines those experiences, because my biggest feat in my 19 (“almost 20”) years of life has been learning to love myself.
I wish it was so simple as telling people how to do it. When I eventually finish my book I hope that some guidance will be seen through the intimate and honest experiences of a young woman. That my stories in love and the vast array of dramatic emotion that I have felt over the years will resonate with an audience. It’s important because for all the pain that I suffered myself as a teenager, and for all the time I’ve spent alone since, I feel free now. And it’s because I AM ALONE. Alone in a way I have never been before. But don’t read that as a bad thing, it’s not! It’s incredibly beautiful and strengthening. I wrote in a recent Instagram caption about being alone and I’m sure it was largely misunderstood, because one girl commented that she would move in with me and then I wouldn’t be alone anymore. Alone does not necessarily mean lonely. I have experienced deep loneliness in the past but lonely is not what I am right now. I have this glowing orb inside of me that I am seeing for the first time in my life and I want to possess it. I want to pull it out of me and hold it in my hands. For years, I have romanticized the idea that I was a person who longed to belong to another body. I felt that If someone else finally returned the love I was capable of feeling, then everything would be ok. I would find myself in that person. So I attempted to do that with my first few boyfriends and when it didn’t work out, I was convinced that the only way to recover from my heartbreak was to throw myself into the next boy. I body hopped from boyfriend to lover or whatever’s between and hoped that someone would stay. I didn’t take time to try and understand myself and my inflictions, let alone cultivate any kind of inspiration. I felt irrevocably lost. Until by force of nature, I remained out of a relationship for quite sometime. The closest I got to having a boyfriend was last February and it ended with a very emotional response on my part that really had nothing to do with the insensitive boy on the other side of it. I cried out of insecurity that all the rejections I had experienced in life were my fault and that any boy who got to know me too well would ultimately leave me.
Knowing that something had to change, I tried to look for attractiveness in less superficial qualities such as appearance and I put myself out there in a more organic way. I gave my number to a boy who was funny above all else and half-way through our first date he wouldn’t stop touching me and telling me how adorable I was. Having never properly rejected anyone before, I was sure the most ethical thing to do was call him but panicked when I caught myself on speaker phone with his mom in the car. I texted him to say I didn’t want anything further. Suddenly it was occurring to me that I was more in control of the decision to be alone than I had thought. So I downloaded tinder again, which I had deleted thus far and approached it with a new lens. I match with people that I’m attracted to in various ways and if I’m curious enough I message them myself. Now don’t judge me for this but a couple times I’ve sent a round of “hey!”s to multiple matches at once then sort of weeded them out depending on the conversation. I’ve done this three times and in each round of people, one person stood out. The first was the intern on 102.1 the Edge. The second was an extremely unfiltered boy who didn’t look like his photos. And third, by far the most interesting so far, was a handsome Australian journalist who was only in the city for a few days.
My point if you’ve lost it, is that meeting all of these people hasn’t made me wish for a relationship. Contrary to how I have perceived men in the past, I didn’t use these people to fill a space. Instead, I had a very clear sense of myself through each interaction. In fact, each time I meet someone I discover more things that I love about myself and I’m making stronger efforts to actualize that in my daily routines. I now grocery shop regularly with my roommate and make efforts to buy local produce, including fresh bread from the bakery across the street. I’m in love with the new neighbourhood that I live in and I’m excited about the present and future. I’m pushing myself to think less and do more, and no part of that involves a romantic partner. I read a post on Instagram where the girl, posed in lingerie, told all of her single friends, that they should be glad to be single because it’s better than wasting time on the wrong guy. ‘One day’, she wrote, ‘the perfect guy will come around and you’ll be glad you waited’. Girl, No! It has taken me a very long time to realize that all the energy I’ve spent “waiting for the right guy” is energy I could be giving to myself. I have released myself from a dependency on men and as a result, I have all this space to grow in. I belong to myself more than I ever have. And I love myself more than ever before.