I have always been full of love, but I have also been full of heartache.
I am a sensitive soul with a heart that’s always looking for its matching beat. I am a vulnerable spirit with an insatiable need for connection. I am an open, honest human who is naked to my truth.
So, because of this, I tend to fall, I tend to break, and I tend to float a while in heartbreak’s wake.
I used to drown myself in doubt, constrict myself with fear, and bind myself with misconceptions about not being enough. I let my lack of love control my movements and therefore found myself not moving at all.
I held onto to unwritten stories, and I gripped all of the unfinished tales of my love life. When I reread these sagas, I would see my failure over and over again. I desperately wanted to fill in a happy ending, but I cried so much that my body ran out of ink.
It seemed that finding love wasn’t going to be easy for me. The journey to love tended to come with caveats, secrets, and way too much dependence. Eventually, I was burned out, feeling so much without getting much in return. I knew deep down something had to change.
So I decided to do things a little differently. Rather than swiping right, I turned right toward my purpose instead. This new journey turned into five years of dating myself.
It wasn’t easy at first. In the beginning, I’d still try to make short stints work, keep summer romances lit in the fall, and beg the sun not to rise from late night trysts. I still wasn’t all in it.
Over time, I started taking more space for myself. In that space, I started hearing all the needs and wants that went unfulfilled for years. Through this self-awareness, I began to heal and to grow. In the space between fears and dreams, I started to become.
Eventually, doing things alone became far less scary than doing things to feel validated. I started to travel alone, adventure alone, and even tried the ever-so-difficult practice of eating alone at a table for one.
I found power in buying single tickets to events I felt called to attend. I found confidence in saying goodbye after a first date knowing it didn’t resonate with my heart. I found serenity in waking up grateful to be on this solo journey.
It took a while, but I slowly started to fill the voids that unreal love had carved into my body. I’d fill the space with movement — whether it was falling in love with yoga or falling onto the entirety of the bed. Soon the cracks and the holes were filled with air that moved through my soul; they were still there, but now they were full of purpose.
In this time, I learned to create boundaries. I learned to sing my heart’s song. I learned to give and take feedback. I learned to negotiate. I learned to meditate. I learned to love myself without anyone else’s take.
I also took myself on dates. I would splurge on workshops about topics I really wanted to learn, and I would bike around Manhattan and stop to picnic in the park. I got the hang of my likes and dislikes that reached so much further into my consciousness than “where do you want to go for dinner?”
Sometimes it would get lonely, but only when I wasn’t giving myself the right level of compassion. Sometimes I’d drift back to my history with love, but then I’d trace my inner eye back to the life I was writing at that moment.
Today I know that the stories from my past were tethered to my need for validation and my disconnection from expectation. Today I know that my journey toward love is really the journey toward my highest self.
After five years of dating me, I know what it’s like to find love in my own heart and dance with the romance in my soul. After five years of dating me, I’ve learned what it’s like to fall for my own company, take care of me, and build a beautiful world through vulnerability.
Let’s go with resilient.