I am not that girl anymore.
I was that girl for a while. I loved the thrill of it all. The chase, the back-and-forth, the almost something that never really was. Knowing his silhouette in the dim lights of a too-crowded nightclub, but not his full name. I knew the color of his t-shirt, but not the color of his childhood bedroom walls. His name in my phone was probably questions marks and number signs.
I loved it all because I felt so free. I felt like I was the operator of my own stop light, and I had it set to green means go. That was the way I liked it. That was the way I felt like I had the most control.
But within the past year or so, life has thrown trucks and tsunamis at me. Within the messes, the emotional breakdowns, and the confusion that is growing up, I’ve had to learn to relinquish one thing that has always been my crutch: control (or the facade of such).
Inevitably, life is full of stressors, responsibilities, and never-ending to-do lists. We walk, drive, or take public transit from point A to point B on autopilot mode. We live in a time and place where everyone is doing something, and at least for me, the stresses I once considered normal began to feel like swords severing my spine. Life was changing, my goals were growing, and my old habits had to go along with it.
And that is when I threw myself into the black hole that is self-discovery. Being a young adult in a big city, I started to think about what I would want to be known for. I am so many things, but the essence of what makes me truly unique was still a blank storage space.
When people asked me who I was, I was so used to changing my answer every time. Depending on who you were to me, I’d either give you an answer that I thought would make me seem “cooler,” “smarter,” or “nicer” (you get the idea). I was constantly trying to fit the mold of what I wholeheartedly believed others expected of me. But the one person I constantly lied to and let down was myself. And that’s not okay.
In the midst of all this, I asked myself what I valued in life. When I looked at my good days, what did they consist of? Was it work? Was it learning at school? Was it friends? Was it parties? Was it music?
At the end of the day, I realized that I loved numerous activities and things, but often came back to relationships. Family, friends, romantic encounters, and everything in between.
When my relationships didn’t feel genuine, neither did I. I love going to parties with friends, hanging out, Sunday morning brunch dates, the list could go on — but I often thought about love. Romantic love.
It’s something I’ve never experienced. Yes, I’ve been on dating apps, dated around, and had my fair share of fun and games. I’ve been the one chasing, I’ve been the one to be chased, I’ve been the one to hurt, as well the one that hurts for months afterwards. But something to look back on and nostalgically smile? Something to show me what love was? Those were unopened mystery books to me.
And I deserve to have that mystery settled.
So, maybe I’m not that girl.
I’m not that girl who is totally satisfied with hook-up culture and almost-maybe’s. I’m not the girl who is okay with forgetting your name after a night, and the one who doesn’t feel anything anymore.
I want to feel more. I want to have someone to go to at night when the sun goes down and it’s quiet in the world. I want to think about someone and see their smile when I close my eyes. I want to make someone’s heart happy. I want to be more than a number, more than a night, more than a memory.
I was afraid to admit it for a while. I thought admitting that I wanted a relationship would make me just like everyone else. I thought it would make me weak and easy to be taken advantage of. I thought it would open me up to vulnerabilities that had broken me into pieces before.
But I realized that being vulnerable means being brave. I am opening myself up to a journey that might be full of regrets and hardships, but also life lessons and bliss. Before, I had been scared to lose control and be given to the option to let someone into my mind, which I’ve been learning is the essence of who I am. I was scared of the possibility of pain. Sometimes (maybe most times) I still am. But I am human — not perfect. And this is okay, too.
So the next time someone asks me what I want, I’m going to say it proudly: I want a relationship.
No, that doesn’t mean I’m not fun. That doesn’t mean I’m typical. That doesn’t give you any right to make assumptions about me. But what this does mean is that I’m going to start being honest about what I want. I will not hide behind a mask of “I’m fine.”
I am allowing myself to be honest. I am allowing myself to be free. I am changing (and that’s okay).