Like many girls, I was raised on a steady balance of bicycles and fairy tales. Looking back, it’s safe to say I definitely fell right into it. Ever since I was 4 years old, I was pining for that day I’d finally meet my Prince Charming and he would sweep me off my feet. He would be my perfect match and we’d finish each other’s peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We would have the kind of storybook romance people could only dream of. One where we can’t imagine life without each other. A love full of passion, empathy, and sacrifice.
I held onto this hope for almost 20 years until I finally sat down, reevaluated myself, and realized I can’t continue on like this. Up until that point, I would be meeting new people with a thought in the back of my mind that this could be my future person. I would go to events secretly wishing that it would be the day that changed everything. I even signed up for Tinder and allowed the app to use my location, knowing full well some technologically savvy serial killer could be using that information to track me down and cut me open with a chainsaw.
Now I wouldn’t classify myself as “thirsty” by any means. I was still willing to hold out for the right person, my very own Mr. Right. Yet, the guys I was attracted to never seemed to like me back. Instead, I was getting asked out by all these people I just couldn’t imagine a future with. For the longest time I blamed everybody else, but I think at the end of the day, I was the one at fault. I was so caught up in finding my prince, that I forgot that princes marry princesses and I was certainly no princess.
Aside from the fact that I can’t sing and flatly refuse to talk to mice, I let myself become so bitter from watching everybody else find the kind of love I’ve always wanted. It felt like everyone else was part of this exclusive happy club that I could never get my foot in. People used to ask me for boy advice, now all I get is a simple, “You won’t understand.” When playing an intense game of Would You Rather, I asked one of my best friends if a meteor were to hit the earth and kill either her boyfriend or myself, who she would rather it hit. She answered, “Honestly, probably you.”
Somewhere along the way, I stopped having faith and caring about people, because what’s the point? All my friends are going to branch off into their separate families and forget Little Spinster Me in the corner still swiping left on random faces. Okay, I’m making it sound worse than it is, but what I’m trying to say is: in the midst of my search for love, I stopped searching for myself. I stopped being concerned about how MY day went, my OWN interests, and how I want to grow as a person.
Last time I checked I wasn’t summoned to a death like sleep, poisoned by an apple, or trapped in a tower. I have all the resources at my disposal to do everything I’ve ever wanted and I owe it to myself to at least try new things and explore my passions. I can show myself the world and become a more cultured global citizen. I can fill my life with all sorts of activities and hobbies so I don’t have to go looking to be part of someone else’s world. Most importantly, I should take care of myself internally and externally so the reflection I see every morning is one I’m proud of. At the end of the day, I don’t need a guy to see the light and happiness life can bring.
One day I woke up and made the conscious decision to focus on the greatest relationship I’ll ever encounter, the one I have with myself. Although I can’t say I’m completely at peace with the person I am just yet, I can say I’m getting closer. I’m teaching myself every day to be more kind, have compassion, and truly care about those around me. At the same time, I’m learning to cherish the qualities I do love about myself. Before someone else can discover my worth, I need to see my own and that right now is the most important thing.
I know you’re probably wondering, when am I going to tell you about my current boyfriend? Surely after all this self-reflection and personal growth the earth and heavens conspired and brought me this beautiful sun-god of a man, right? Well, maybe that’s how Disney movies end, but this isn’t some fiction animation. This is real life and I believe some of the best days of my life lie ahead of me because my story is still to be continued.