THE PROBLEM WITH DATING - AN ESSAY ON SELF RESPECT
'We're all alone, born alone, die alone, and – in spite of True Romance magazines – we shall all someday look back on our lives and see that, in spite of our company, we were alone the whole way. I do not say lonely – at least, not all the time - but essentially, and finally, alone. This is what makes your self-respect so important, and I don't see how you can respect yourself if you must look in the hearts and minds of others for your happiness.' – Hunter S. Thompson
That quote has haunted me over the past 24 hours; recited as a reminder of the absence of self-love within my being, I finally admit to being hexed by the fallen words carelessly spoken by the men I've encountered in my lifetime. I wasn't always this way; but to get back to the independent girl devoid of the need for male attention we'd have to go back 10 years. A decade under the influence of men...
That in itself is the problem with dating, we are constantly under the influence of others, and it seems that only those able to avoid said influence and maintain their sense of self survive. But how does one maintain their sense of self when it was non-existent from the start? You don't. And so the cycle repeats itself. Until it doesn't. Until you awake one morning by his side, listening to him mutter the same poetic nothingness, while his actions speak a completely different truth. And in that moment it hits you; I was made for more.
It wasn't by chance that I came to this conclusion – or maybe it was. The man I was seeing previously was one meant to move mountains, to empower those around him, to ensure that not a single person he encountered let their life pass them by. He was magic. My time spent with him is time that I will never be able to forget, nor ever want to. He was open, raw, and above all sure of himself and his vision. And yet, despite his drive and everything he had going on, he never took a moment of our time for granted. On his final day he reached out to express his feelings for me, and I was so caught up in the newness of you that I paid little regard.
The news of his death crushed me, far greater than the end of you and I, and far beyond the idea that he and I could never return to 'us'. I mourned the loss of his life harder than I had mourned the loss of some family members. I mourned the fact that I was still here, while he, someone who understood how to live, and made a point to do so in every waking minute, was taken. They say that's an unfair thing to think, to wish it was you and not the other, to wonder what would have happened had you gone to meet with him that night. I see it as necessary. Sometimes you need to mentally put yourself in an extreme situation in order to determine how to make it out alive.
So, I began putting the pieces back together, trying to determine where I went wrong. I made a mental record of all the things that made me feel depressed, broken, or hollow; and ironically found that it was the men, who built me up with their sweet nothings only to watch me disintegrate as my depression and anxiety reared it's ugly head, who dictated my happiness. I had given them everything, in hopes that in doing so I would miraculously be worthy of their love. But truthfully it wasn't their love I was after, I didn't feel I was worthy of my own, and idiotically thought that I could find the will to love myself through them. Turns out that self-love begins within self...
I still don't have it quite figured out, and the road to self-respect seems to be an arduous one, but without making the attempt I will never truly live. And so, I will continue on inspired by you. I will live each and every day in your honour, with the same passion and persistence you had towards life. I will make myself a priority. I will no longer cater to the eyes of men, or women, around me for that matter. I will learn to love myself, and disregard those who convince me, verbally or subconsciously, to feel otherwise.
But in order for all that to happen I must first learn how to be alone.
And therefore, I say good-bye to dating, the constant enabler of my masochist ways.
From here on out I am in a relationship with myself, and myself alone.
Rest in paradise angel. Your death gave me the greatest gift of all. The will to live.
And for that I will forever be grateful.
WORDS TO LIVE BY
What inspires you to fall more in love with yourself?
Let me know in the comment section below.