My wifi network used to be Single4ever. Single. 4 (yes 4, not for). Ever. A dumb decision on my part when every time someone would ask to connect to my wifi, I’d have to tell them which network, Single4ever. Especially a dumb decision when I’d have to say that to someone I was dating. How do you tell a potential love interest that your wifi network is Single4ever without sounding like you either want to be single forever, or like you’re a hopeless mess who nobody could ever love?
The latter is pretty spot on to the way I used to think about myself, that I was a hopeless mess who no one would, could, or should even try loving. Why did I feel this way about myself? I really couldn’t tell you the correct answer to that question. Part of me thinks it’s because I’d been let down and disappointed by one too many men (more boys in my opinion) who not only took me and my kind heart for granted, but didn’t see me for who I really was. And another part of me thinks it’s stupid to blame these boys for what resulted in my own lack of self-esteem, because no matter how many times I’d been disappointed by men who didn’t matter, none of these tiny little heartbreaks should’ve made me feel unlovable. No one should have the ability to make you feel unlovable, because you are indeed lovable, and so am I, and it took me a long time to realize that.
Yes, I’ve been hurt before, heartbroken, fed-up, hopeless, and quite frankly afraid. Afraid that I’d be alone forever, and afraid that being alone would never bring me happiness. And it’s not necessarily the alone part that I was most afraid of, it was the fear of being that way forever. Because I was alone for a very long time, single was my seemingly eternal status, and I often prided myself about it. I wasn’t ashamed or embarrassed about being single, I wore it like a badge of honor, and I think I felt that pride slowly disappearing as each day, month, and year passed that I hadn’t yet found someone I wanted to share parts of my life with. My singleness went from fun and spontaneous, ‘I can live however I want with no attachments whatsoever,’ to doubt and confusion, ‘Do I want to find someone who I love being with? Do I need to find someone who I love being with?’
I had fun being single, there’s nothing really not fun about it, but being that way for so long gave me a craving for one special person. Like depriving yourself of sugar or pizza or wine, or anything you thoroughly enjoy having, eventually when you haven’t had it for so long, you want it so badly. But that’s the thing, I didn’t crave a relationship, I craved a person, someone who all of these articles on the internet rave about, someone who makes you want to be better, someone who challenges you, compliments you, someone who you wake up every morning excited to share your life with. A relationship wasn’t the metaphorical pizza I deprived myself of for years, it was finding someone who could make me realize what real love was.
Not being in a relationship never bothered me, I didn’t need dates, or flowers, or an instagram full of couple photos. What bothered me was that I didn’t have love, the romantic kind of love that everyone says is so great. I’d never felt it or experienced it, or even thought maybe this is it, and I wanted that. I wanted to know what love felt like. I wanted love and I wanted to feel loved by someone who accepted me for who I really was, and who I wanted to be. And when I collected enough courage to actually be myself I found it, or maybe it found me, maybe we found each other.
Because when you’re alone for so long, sometimes you dislike yourself because of it. Sometimes your satisfaction of being independent turns into doubt and worry and hopelessness, ‘Why would anyone ever love me?’ But you can’t let doubt win. You can’t sit around feeling sorry for yourself because you don’t have something that you think everyone else has. And you can’t try desperately to find it, because desperation doesn’t reflect who you really are. There are people who love you every day, and they’re the people who accept you, and that’s when you find love, when you’re yourself, and when you find someone who makes you feel comfortable enough to be that way.
I can’t say I believe in love at first sight. I can’t say that when I first met the person I love today I knew it was ‘love’ immediately. Like this magical kind of feeling with sparkles and fairy dust, no I can’t say that I felt that. Was there attraction? Absolutely. Was there lust? Most definitely. But it wasn’t until we uncovered the parts of ourselves we’re reluctant to share with others, the parts of ourselves we’re scared to let others know about, or see, it wasn’t until then that I knew it was ‘love.’ I knew it was love when I could be my complete self and feel accepted for it. I knew it was love when I was equally as happy as I was afraid, because I care so much about this one person that I’m just as scared of losing them. And I knew it was love when I loved him anyway, when I didn’t let fear lead the way. I let love in, and I let it take the reins, and somehow, it stayed.
Love doesn’t just magically appear, it doesn’t magically happen, you have to let it happen, and you have to work at it when it does. Love isn’t always convenient, it doesn’t always have good timing and it definitely doesn’t always look or feel the way it does in books and movies. But no matter how weird and difficult love can be, you should never feel like it’s hard to love someone and you should never feel like it’s hard for them to love you. Relationships are hard, but love, I don’t think love is hard. Love is something that if it’s real, it’s always there.
Be yourself. Don’t doubt or worry or fear. Spend your life with the people who make you feel good, the people who make those doubts, worries, and fears fade into the background. Spend your life letting every bit of happiness in, and love will come with it.