Today I took a little walk down memory lane. It wasn’t intentional or anything, but once the door was opened it was hard to stop. I was searching through my computer trying to find an old document when I stumbled across some old iChat conversations. Instant Messenger. Also known as the start and end to so many relationships, friendships, arguments, flirtatious interactions, plans, rumors, and the medium that captured the person I was so few years ago.
Since college, really since my first heartbreak I have come a long way. I have greater self-awareness and I am much more independent than I was before. My perspective on relationships changed after mine fell apart. I learned that relationships are not easy. They are not perfect. They do not provide security without work and even then it is not guaranteed. They do not define you. Relationships are made up of two individuals that grow and change at their own rate. Some succeed where others would fail and vice versa. Each relationship is unique. I learned what it takes to get over someone. I learned how to accept when something is no longer working. I learned to understand that when someone moves on to someone else it isn’t about you. I learned how difficult it is to move on from a person and a life you thought you had and until you choose to do so it is near impossible. The decision must come from within, but once you choose to move forward you free yourself up to enter a love affair with yourself.
It was a necessary step for me to embrace my independence. There is something so empowering in learning that my happiness, my goals, and my priorities do not have to be tied to another person. They are mine and they can shift and change as often as I do. I think having taken this step will make me a better partner in my next relationship. The problem is I have to figure out how to get to the next step: be open to others again.
In reliving all of my embarrassing past exchanges with ex-boyfriends, crushes, and friends I saw something that I left in my past. Vulnerability. Before I’d really been hurt or rejected or heart broken, I lived as though I couldn’t be. I was open. I was comfortable enough with my feelings to let people in. I didn’t weigh so hard on the possibility that my feelings wouldn’t be reciprocated or that I would hurt someone or they would hurt me. I haven’t been that way in a very long time. I didn’t realize until recently just how guarded I have been the past couple of years and I think it’s about time I start working towards that next step.
Now, I’m not telling myself to go get wifed up or start trying to talk to and date every guy I meet but what I am telling myself is to be open. Be vulnerable enough to let some people in so that when the right one comes along I will be ready. I’m sure I’ve written off plenty of “right guys” using the “wrong me” “wrong time” excuses. I’ve built an unspoken wall that is intimidating to push through and I get that. But slowly, I am going to start taking it down because really, what am I so afraid of?