“Waking up to who you are requires letting go of who you imagine yourself to be.” ~Alan Watts
After a few years of living through the betrayal and anger of my ex husband, my friends decided it was time for me to start dating again.
They took me out to the bars, dressed me up, bought me drinks, and showed all the men how cute I was.
I didn’t feel cute. I felt like a fraud.
The bar scene was not for me. I felt like a piece of meat wrapped in cellophane on the shelf waiting for a man to decide which one he’d like to eat.
I dressed up in my newly skinny body and looked the part of the fun loving girl, but inside all I felt was desperation.
I put on make up so men would think I was pretty.
I went through tortures of pilates exercise so my body would look good for others to gaze at.
I smiled and giggled so men would think I was fun and funny.
I didn’t feel fun, funny, pretty, or like I wanted to be looked at. I felt scared.
I kept grasping at a portrait of who I wanted everyone to think I was. I so wanted to be this picture perfect representation that I thought men wanted. I wanted a man to like me so I could feel loved and validated.
I finally realized my imaginary self-portrait was who others wanted, not who I wanted to be now. I was not being true to my new self.
So I trashed the portrait, went home, and got my act together.
I wanted to find love again but not like this. Not by picking up someone in a bar who was looking for love in all the wrong places, just like I was doing. I needed to learn to love myself, because no one else could do it for me.
I wanted to find love by knowing who I was. Then I could find someone who complemented me. So I stopped going out and started to learn who I was, what I wanted in life, and what I deserved in a man.
What I did learn from speaking to men in bars is that real men want real women. I decided to learn how to be real. Learning how to be real would require some investigative research on my part. I had lost myself in my marriage. It was time to find me.
I decided to step out of my proverbial box. I had to try new things and figure out what activities I liked, and which ones I needed to stay away from.
I travelled to developing rural areas. I had my palm read and visited a mind reader. I went food tripping, took up yoga, learned to meditate, hiked on volcanoes, rode zip lines through the forest, joined book clubs, learned to meditate, I found out what tai chi was.
I started to visit international restaurants. I went to museums and hung out in coffee shops. I got into my first Wattpad organization and started to get active. I tried things I had always wanted to do but never could while I was married.
I had fun. I learned that I favored Chinese food over Italian food. I learned that I can forget all the troubles in the world whenever I bake. I learned things about me I never knew.
I stopped wearing most of the make up I had worn thinking it made me look good so men would like me. Instead I decided to look good for myself.
I stared at myself in the mirror and told myself over and over that I am beautiful, even though I didn’t believe it. The more I told myself I was beautiful, the more I began to feel good about myself.
I wanted my beauty to be defined by my self-confidence that began to return when I started to truly believe in what I began to represent.
I started to dress the way I wanted to feel, not the way I wanted to be looked at. I wanted free flowing clothes that I could move in. I wanted to be able to feel my body, not the clothes pinching me.
I started to exercise because it made me feel good, not so I would look good. I accomplished both by doing what I wanted for me, not for them. I found exercise that I loved to do. I increased my pilates exercise and kept on walking, even planning to try rowing and biking.
I stopped going to bars to meet men. Instead, I went to the occasional hang outs with friends.
I stopped looking at men as the answer to my problems and started looking at me to solve them.
I realized that to find a man that had the same interests I had, I better know what my interests are.
When I learned what I liked, I became happier than I had ever been before. I learned to be true to me, not someone else.
I realized that I had been incomplete without the knowledge to define my own boundaries, my likes, and my dislikes. Without knowing what my boundaries were, I would never attract a person into my life that could live within my boundaries. I had never known how to define and stand up for my own beliefs.
When I felt confident with my new self, it was then that I became ready with a new steady omnipresent love. He just knocks me off my feet, but he also teaches me that I am already far better educated to know how it pays to wait for that right timing specifically for what I wanted and how I wanted to be treated. It was far better than telling someone to take me on a romantic date, when I couldn’t define what I thought a romantic date was.
So get on with it, what are you waiting for? Get out there and experience the beauty of life. Find out who and what you are. Live life by yourself; be happy by yourself. It’s your life; make it what you want. Don’t look for someone else to do it for you, because they can’t. Only you can know who you really are.
P.S. here’s a lovely playlist I made a year before I even met him which by the way gave me true inspiration that I have right now, hoping it would also give inspiration to others out there. XOXO