Engagement season is upon us, which means all us 20 somethings are either scrambling for a ring, a potential situation that may lead to one, or validation that our choice to remain single is totally acceptable. It is the season of well meaning “do you have a boyfriend??” or “what happened to that nice young man I saw on your Facebook this summer?”‘s (let us not even get into the fact that most of my family refuses to acknowledge the fact that I could have a girlfriend just as easily as a boyfriend). And eventually, this well intentioned firing squad of questions begins to probe your inner being, leaving cracks in your “girl power” armor you worked so hard to build up ALL FALL.
You sit their in your goodwill flannel and think to yourself, “why don’t I have a boyfriend?”.
As the pumpkin pie is being passed around the table, you start to notice your hands.
“Why do my fingers look like that? I really need to stop biting my nails.”
Someone asks if you would like some more wine, and suddenly you’re wondering to yourself..
“Do I drink too much? Maybe I should hold back a bit.”
Before you know it, you’re critiquing your voice, your hair..even that little mole on your face you always used to be so proud of. The doubt seeps in and a hunt is born.
Everywhere you go for the next few weeks you begin searching, hunting, for anyone to fill the cracks. Whether this is a quick fix or not isn’t important. Frankly, the thought doesn’t even occur to you. Tunnel vision has commenced.
You begin to go on dates. Some go well, some don’t. You spend your weekends listening to prospective lovers speak about video games, sports, and an assortment of other things you don’t care about. There is one who sparks your interest with their passion for books and movies, but it pops and fizzles out as quickly as it started, leaving a small burn.
Eventually, the brown hues of fall turn to green and red, and you are still lonely. The red and white stripes from the candy canes on your tree become your most trusted confidants, and you walk around with a plastic smile and a Mariah Carey tune in your pocket.
There is love in the air, but it must be a fine mist, for all you can see are dead ends, one right after the other. You don’t give up though. You are a fighter!
However, New Year’s comes around, and not all the dating apps in the world could find you a relationship that lasted longer than a song on the top 40’s list (not that you like that music anyway..but still).
It’s not until February 15th, that you feel you can finally catch your breath. The romance is over, and everyone seems to be moving on with their lives. Even you..almost.
Whilst everyone has moved on from their intensified period of infatuation with infatuation, you are left battered and bruised.
After months of being shot back and forth from racket to racket on a tennis court from hell, you are tired. Pouring yourself into one person is hard enough, but you gave a dixie cup’s worth to many.
You gave a little to each and left none for yourself. It had never occurred to you, that you are allowed to pour into yourself. You are allowed to reduce, reuse, and recycle love with yourself; a system engineered to leave you with a never ending cycle of validation.
By April, the recycling fountain is in full swing, and there is no such thing as a “validation vacation”. There is no king of the world, because there is a queen, and it is YOU. Now, finally, the search was found to be inconclusive, and the hunt was laid to rest. There wasn’t much out there anyways.
I’ve recently known the disappointment that comes with placing your validity in someone else, and it really got me thinking about how often I’ve done it without even realizing. With the holidays coming up, I started feeling that familiar itch to have someone in my life. As an independent woman (lol but seriously), I don’t NEED someone in my life telling me I’m beautiful, and that I make them so happy. Why can’t I do that for myself? Why aren’t I ALREADY doing that for myself? Relationships with others leave you at risk for pain, but a healthy relationship with yourself won’t ever. You can find infinite happiness and joy within yourself, but too often it’s a gold mine left untapped. This holiday season I want to challenge myself and those around me to work on their relationships with themselves, instead of their next mistletoe conquest.
Happy Holidays (a tad early), and may our 2017 holidays be spent cherishing OURSELVES.