I’ve spent the last year in solitude. Three hundred and sixty-five days without a man to love or cling to. No one to cry to or celebrate with. Netflix and chill were me curled up in front of the TV with my favorite blanket. Nights out or days in we’re spent with me loving myself totally and completely. I made the decision to be single for an entire year one year ago today. Scared because I had never truly been alone. Yet, excited because it was healing that my soul needed. My body and spirit, but more important my heart needed. I am an emotional cutter, often reflecting on things that cause me an immense amount of pain. However, this year my demons I could no longer run from. Being single for a year, there was bound to be some growing pains.
I am thirty years, still mind-blowing to say, mother to one and never married. Engaged, but never got past the “will you marry me?” to the “I do” part of the process. Somewhere along the lines my opportunity to go from fiancé to bride was muddled by hurt, betrayal, and selfishness. No party more or less guilty than the other, it just didn’t seem to work out. Thus, after the ending of my last relationship this decision to enter into a covenant with myself meant I would have to be vulnerable. I would have to allow myself to feel things I might have tucked away.
I’d have to fight myself. The old vs. new. It meant no sex. No kissing, or hugging. Absolutely no form of affection to be received during this time.It meant only one thing, learning to be okay with me.
Lessons Learned: Single For A Year
Loneliness is fleeting.
In making this decision one must understand the ability to let go. Let go of the need for good morning and good night texts. Let go of the “does he miss me?” thoughts that creep up in moments of solitude. Being alone and feeling lonely are two different things. We must never confuse them. Our thoughts or feelings of loneliness often come from our need for human connection. We often feel alone after ending a relationship and for some [or most of us] this causes us to immediately rush into something or rush back to something that is of no benefit to us. We do this just to avoid being and/or feeling alone.
However, loneliness is fleeting. And much like the rest of our knee-jerk reactions, it goes away in time, if we allow it. Fill your void, your space with things that will return self-love to you. I began to workout. Buried myself in work. Loved on my child and my family. And I divorced any remnants of what was my former self.
Break Bad Relational Habits.
Part of divorcing my former self meant letting go of people, places and things that came with her. There was this guy, quite possibly what I would consider the “perfect” guy. Our love was quite unconventional. He lived in one state and I in another, but it mattered not who he or I was with, we always came back to one another. When he would come into town it would be as if no time had passed between us. He became my best friend, my protector if you will. All I needed to do was send one text and he would be there. He was always there, yet we never moved beyond that. After years of knowing and loving each other, we never became more. As much as I valued what our friendship had become, I had to stop giving him a pass. I had to stop making it okay and I had to let him go. It was time to move on because the love I want isn’t found in him. But more importantly, it starts with self.
My homie, lover, friend now a faded memory.
Now like a stranger as he lives his life and I live mine.
We as women especially worry about whether or not if a person is going to miss us. We’re afraid to let go because it forces the reality of never being wanted in the first place upon us. Yet, that is not our feat. We all have bad relational habits, I have many. There are those of us who ignore every instinct in our body just to avoid being alone. And how about those who self-sabotage out of fear of being hurt. We all have something. And coming to terms with them, acknowledging them and then breaking free of them is harder to do when one is constantly connected to another being. After a while, tests would arise and I’d be able to quickly recognize that my past ways would not be beneficial in my life’s current direction. Saying no became a life-changing necessity for me. And it will for you too as learn how to…
As women who are constantly taking care of other people putting ourselves often feels like a foreign concept. Or perhaps some of us feel that it is selfish to put our needs before the needs of those around us. It’s not. This entire year has been about putting myself first. I’ve become very selfish with my time and with my space. I realized that things I was learning I had the ability to carry over into other areas of my life. It wasn’t till I took a trip to Birmingham this summer that made me realize the correlation between the two. I WAS often one who avoided having these tough conversations with people. And by tough, I usually mean the “break-up” talk. However, as I was completely cutting the cord with the toxic relationships that circled around me I was also able to end friendships with people I had out-grown.
Case & point: A now ex-girlfriend of mine was getting married. I wasn’t going to be in town for the wedding, but the bridal shower would be during my weekend visit to Birmingham. However, I opted not to go. I would only be in Birmingham, but for a short time. I didn’t want to spend my time with her and her friends, who have never really accepted me, despite my attempts to be cordial. Having that kind of energy around me, issa no for me. Instead, I wished to laugh and love with my friends who I knew would refuel me before my return to the East.
The next morning I received a text saying, “you don’t have to pretend that we’re friends”. Instead of fighting it, I said okay and let it go. For a while now this friendship had been coming to an end. And my days of fighting with people for their place in my life were over. I’ve learned to choose me in every aspect of my life, something I had yet to master without feelings of guilt. Upon turning thirty, I decided that I would live and love intently. Disregarding the negative thoughts of others. In doing so, I’ve taken a step to mend the broken pieces of my family.
Because it makes me happy. Now, what step did I take? A secret I’d rather not share right now.
My question to you, at what point do you become the leading role in your life?
Love Starts With You.
Many of us look for love in the wrong place because we fail to realize that WE are love. Love is an action word. It is more than just a feeling or an emotion. It is in the way you talk to yourself; in the way that you carry and/or treat yourself. Love will ALWAYS start with us. Allowing yourself to fall in love with every piece of you is the greatest freedom one can know. It’s not vain or conceited to appreciate your features, even the imperfect ones. It doesn’t mean that you love someone less just because you’ve opted to love yourself more. Self-love is not a privilege it is a right. Our God-given right to be happy with who are as people and individuals.
Every morning I wake up with a smile on my face and joy in my heart because I am beautiful. I am strong. I am worthy. And I am valued. Learn how to value yourself before you can expect someone else to do it. Learn how to love yourself before giving someone else the responsibility of doing it. One must exemplify the kind of love they wish to receive. And you cannot give it to someone else if, you have not properly been giving it to yourself.
As I weeded through these last 365 days, one thing was for sure. I had to cleanse myself. Earlier I mentioned that I was an emotional cutter. Often times I’d read old texts, look at old photos….fight the urge to reach out [but often times fail]. And constantly wonder whether or not I was being thought of and/or missed. Letting go became my refuge. Delete these things from your life. The memories will always be with us, but the physical remains remove them from your life.
Keep a safe distance from the people who bring up the former [or block them altogether]. For me, cleansing was a liberating process. I was one who felt the need to explain my actions to you. I felt the need to tell you why you could no longer be apart of my life. However, in some instances, you have to just make the cut without warning. There were a few people, without warning, I blocked their phone number. Don’t want to see your calls, no longer receiving your texts. And while people like to make fun of those who often block someone on Facebook or Instagram, I have no problem doing it. It’s less about being petty and more about recentering my focus. I cannot focus or move on from you if I am constantly seeing you, yes even in something as small as FB notification has the ability to bring up unwanted emotion.
This was unhealthy for my healing. So you had to go. As painful as it was to delete these photos, remove text threads I have never felt more at one with self. I have clarity and the freedom to move about without the memory of what was or what could’ve been hanging over me.
I leave this thought with you:
How many of you are willing to say “no more’?
How many of you, at this point in your life, are willing to put yourself first? To let go of the past. The hurt and the anger just to be able to have control over your own life.
In essence that is what this journey has done for me, it restored my power.
I still haven’t gone on any dates. Haven’t given my number out, some days I feel as though I’m ready to let a man back into my space. And others, I decide to wait just a little while longer for that special man, whoever he may be.