As I scroll through my Instagram feed, I can’t help but feel envious of all my friends who are in these wonderful, committed relationships. They post cute, candid-looking posts that all seem to carry the hashtag #RelationshipGoals. And then there’s me, with a post in which I am double-fisting ice cream wondering when I will have my turn at one of those.
I’m a pretty positive person, and I truly believe in the idea that things come into our lives when we least expect it and when we need them the most. But, it gets difficult to try to maintain a positive attitude when everyone else appears to be truly living, while you simply go through the daily motions of life, like a well-oiled machine. All the while, you ask yourself,
“Why not me?”
“When will it be my turn?”
Followed by the series of questions that attack every insecurity you’ve ever had.
“Maybe I’m not fit enough?”
“Maybe my nose is too big?”
And the worst thought of all…,
“Maybe, I’m just not good enough for anyone.”
Despite knowing deep down that statement is far from the truth, rationality still doesn’t stop this thought from poisoning me.
Most of the time, I forget that the process of self-love is, in fact, a process. Self-love has its ups and downs, but just because you come to a place where you finally have accepted that your imperfections make you perfect doesn’t mean that the next day, something won’t happen that brings you back to a place of self-loathing. I forget that I have to consciously work every day at reminding myself that I am loveable, beautiful, and talented – that I am enough.
What I miss most about being in a relationship is having someone to turn to. I have always been so accustomed to handling everything on my own, whether it be financial stresses, academic stresses, or even my own health issues. I’ve always been independent, choosing to take care of others as a distraction from my own problems and needs.
When I found myself in a relationship and in love for the first time in my life, I let every wall come crashing down. It felt so nice to have someone who actually cared for me and looked after me during all the times I forgot to. It was comforting to know that my tears meant something to someone and that I was loved for who I was. To have someone who I could be 100% real with was a gift I had never received. But, just as suddenly as that gift came into my life, it was gone, leaving both my heart and mind in shock, shattered.
The days turned into weeks, the weeks into months, and the months soon turned into years. I found myself back at the gym and in fitness classes. I picked up the novel I had previously set aside to make time for him, and I worked on building the strong, resilient, and independent person I once was up again. But this time, I promised to build stronger walls and to never allow myself to be so vulnerable with anyone ever again.
And maybe, that’s why I haven’t found anyone yet. Part of me still refuses to let go of the hurt. Part of me is terrified of what opening up again will cause in the end because I now believe that love can only bring pain. The answer to the questions that swarm my mind when I scroll through my Instagram feed isn’t that I’m not fit like the other girls or that my nose is too big. Nor is it that I am not enough. The answer is that I am too afraid.
I am too scared to put myself out there again because if I do, I run the risk of being hurt again, and will have no one to blame but myself. Commitment doesn’t scare me, but letting go of control and placing my heart in hands that don’t know how to hold it does. Love is such an abstract thing, and maybe that’s why I struggle with it so much. Love’s not as concrete as most of the things I enjoy in life are, like the soothing ocean and beautiful sunsets. I can’t touch it, nor can I hold on to it to make sure it never changes. The world’s impermanent nature applies to our love as well.
I find myself helplessly gazing at the future, wanting to be open to vulnerability, but at the same time, feeling afraid to open up my heart. Maybe that makes me too complicated and difficult to love in some people’s eyes, but in my eyes, it makes me a cautious lover who is willing to wait. A lover who won’t settle for just anything.
I am talented, intelligent, beautiful, courageous, and resilient, so not just any lover will do. And I know that I deserve someone who sees my worth and will help me remember my strengths when I’m feeling down. I deserve someone who will challenge me instead of simply giving in and I deserve someone who is passionate, who is gentle, and who will never leave me questioning his love. Certainly, I deserve a reflection behind every word. I deserve letters, post-its, and late-night texts saying “I miss you.” I deserve nothing short of a true, epic love saga.
I deserve everything because I know that I deserve the world and that the world will one day bring me a love that’s everything I’ve ever wanted.
But for now, I’ll sit in my confines, double-fisting my favorite dessert, ice cream.