When I was little, I dreamed of weddings and flowers and a handsome princes as much as the next girl, but my mom gave me a beautiful gift. She encouraged me to be strong and independent, "Go to college, have fun, live your life, find yourself and then find someone you love to share it with." I didn't properly appreciate that admonishment as a teenager. I saw all the girls around me wearing make up and growing into their bodies and building a shrine to Valentine's Day and boys who bought them gifts or held their hands between classes. And neither of my dads gave me a good example of how a spouse should treat their partner. I was adrift in a sea of teenage angst wearing combat boots and blue lipstick with my dresses. I never wanted to fit in or be popular, but I did want to be loved. I wanted so badly to find my other half. My soul mate. The one person who marched to the beat of the same drum.
I settled a lot, and put up with shit that I really shouldn't have, on my search, but props to mom's wisdom, because I never stopped being me. I was a girl with goals, and passion, and great big dreams, and I'll be damned if I was going stop wearing polyester pants and pink flamingo bowling shirts for anyone. So much internal conflict. What was wrong with me? Where was this person that was going to complete me? It took me years to realize what some people still haven't. I AM NOT HALF. And you are not half either.
We are complex, diverse, amazing very whole human beings all on our own. Much to my chagrin, mom's right about this too. We don't have to get married or have kids or a white picket fence to be complete. If you feel like something is missing, I promise it's not a mate.
Sure, we can desire companionship, and love, and sex, but none of this really means anything if we can't love ourselves first. In the immortal words of RuPaul, "If you can't love yourself, then how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?"
Believe me, I have been through my share of shitty relationships to figure this out. I'm allowed to blog, podcast, travel, party, make money, have adventures and absolutely love my life with or without a partner. Don't believe anyone who tells you otherwise, because they're probably trying to sell you something. The media is great at this especially for women. Our culture has traditionally given the same one size fits all step ladder to every little girl. Be desirable and socially normative so you can get married and raise a family.
But what about the other million possibilities? What about women who don't want to get married and settle down? The ones who would love to find a partner but haven't met them yet? The ones who want kids but can't have them? The ones who have loved and lost? Are they somehow less than? Sad, derelict ships endlessly sailing with no safe harbor?
Absolutely not. Because you are whole and worthy of loving yourself, of divine love (however you interpret it), and of all your dreams. It took me years to realize this and truly embrace it, but I'm eternally grateful that I did, because when I got married to the most amazing human being at the age of 32, I was a whole person sharing my life with another whole person. And I didn't settle, or give up who I am, I shared the life I already loved with the person I loved and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Creating my own sunshine 🌞