I was on the back side of a failed four-year relationship when we reconnected. What was supposed to just be two old friends from high school catching up turned into a date. Dinner. Bowling. Drinks. Spending all night just talking and laughing. And what ended up being a date turned into being completely inseparable for weeks. All of the feelings I had suppressed twelve years prior came flooding back to the surface.
We talked about it, and I admitted that I was starting to feel long-buried emotions again… only to be met with a half-hearted admission of reciprocation with an easy-out clause. “I really care about you, but I cannot do long distance,” I was told.
“But you are going to make some man the luckiest, happiest man in the world someday.” I didn’t believe it.
For once, I had a man treating me the way I knew I deserved to be treated. A man who made me feel absolutely beautiful. I woke up every day with a smile on my face, and went to sleep with the same smile still lingering. I felt like there was no way I would ever find that again… because isn’t that what fairy tales are made of? And we’re taught as little girls approaching adolescence that fairy tales aren’t real. No prince charming is going to come along and save us; we are the heroines of our own stories. This was the elusive fairy tale, and I wasn’t letting it go.
Except I did let go. We went our separate ways, and new relationships were formed. We almost forgot about each other. Almost, because even though he forgot about me I couldn’t get his words out of my head. He married. I stayed perpetually single. No man ever was able to live up to the standards that my time with him had firmly set in place. Every single male that I tried to let get close to me was only after the short term. Netflix and chill. Hookups. I wanted dinners. Fun nights out just enjoying each other’s company.
I wanted someone to look at me like he was the luckiest man alive.
All I got was looked at like maybe this guy would just get lucky.
That’s when I decided to give it all up. The looking. The waiting. The putting myself out there. I started working on loving myself, because that is the most important love in this world. In order to be loveable, we have to love ourselves.
The standard for love that we put on ourselves is what determines how we let others treat us.
And that’s when it happened. I finally felt truly free for the first time since my reunion with the man from my past. It didn’t matter that I was single; I loved myself and that was enough.
After a little patience and a lot of luck, I was somehow able to find a man who not only met but exceeded my standards. I got the dates. Time spent together just enjoying each other’s company. Endless smiles. I once again felt beautiful just by the way another person treated me; like he was the luckiest man in the world.
So maybe fairy tales really don’t exist, but once we set ourselves free we can create the love that we know we deserve… and just maybe, someday we’ll have that kind of love after all.