So for this to work... let's imagine we're all sitting around the fireplace, in a cabin somewhere high up in the mountains, overlooking a lake that has partially frozen over. The sun has set, the sky is an explosion of purples, pinks, and oranges. We all have just eaten the best meal ever (the details of which I leave to your discretion). We're feeling sated, a little bit sleepy, and our thoughts are a bit fuzzy.
For a very long time, I thought I would always be alone. I kind of...created this blue world where I was always the victim and all of my negative experiences made me into this untouchable, unlovable thing. Very dramatic, yes?
I'm a firm believer in people doing what they want to do when the time is right for them. This principle became apparent to me when one December morning, I decided that enough was enough. I'd sign up for a few dating apps/sites, put myself out there, and see what happened. For someone as inexperienced as myself, it was...quite thrilling. I was blatantly telling the world that I wanted to be with someone, that I wanted a guy in my life. Maybe that's not a big deal to some of you, but it was for me.
Within the first week, I was talking to a lot of guys. Some were interesting, some were clearly just looking for sex, some were probably homicidal... but they were all new and different. By week two, I had come across a guy that I really liked. Interestingly, he wasn't exactly what I had envisioned for myself all the years that I had been single. He was a lieutenant in the military, a philosopher, an armchair astrophysicist, a pirate at heart, and adorably Southern. The first time I heard his voice, I couldn't stop laughing because of how...well...Southern he sounded. He was a strong person and talking to him made me feel strong too- to the point where people in my life picked up on it. I had men and women responding to me in ways that I had never experienced before. It's like...he helped me open up a bit, become less guarded, and that translated into how I related to the world around me.
Though things ultimately didn't work out between us, I am so grateful that I had him in my life for the time that I did. I learned so much about what is important to me in a relationship, what I need to feel connected to another person, and how important it is to be with someone who can challenge you in positive ways.
So what's the point of me writing this? Valentine's Day is swiftly approaching and I know that despite our intentions, we can still feel a bit hurt being single on the (allegedly) most romantic day of the year. I just want everyone out there who hasn't really put themselves on the market, or are bruised from broken relationships, to know that it's okay. We gain nothing by using our loneliness to create an impenetrable shield against the world and our fellow human beings. We have to keep going, keep putting our best foot forward.
When dating, I think the best way to approach it is to treat each person you interact with as a learning experience. You can learn about how you respond to certain situations. You can also learn about what attracts you to another person, what traits you believe to be essential to your happiness. The people you meet can also help you discover aspects of yourself that you had previously been unaware of. You might be challenged to grow, or challenged to hold onto your roots. Regardless, it's an opportunity to assess yourself and learn. If things come to an end, that's okay too. The people who change you for the better are not necessarily meant to be permanent fixtures in your life.
For those who aren't ready yet- you will get there. It only took me 26 years to work up the courage :p Sometimes things that happen in your life will help you become ready... sometimes all the encouragement people have given you over the years will finally click with you and you'll want to take that step for yourself. I truly believe that all of us will end up exactly where we're supposed to be. Chin up, everyone :)