When you ask if I'm dating anyone, & my reply is, "No," don't feel sorry for me. When you ask if I'm married, & my reply is, "No, not anymore," don't feel sorry for me. I ask that you please refrain from the sullen expressions of sympathy. Don't tell me that I should look harder, try harder, or that my biological clock is ticking. Don't suggest that I join Match or Tinder, or that I spend my Friday nights charming men at a bar who won't even remember my name in the morning. Don't offer words of encouragement for finding The One -- because the truth is, I've already found that person, & that person is me. This year, I am putting myself out there, but not for anyone to keep. I have reached a summit in complete solitude, standing firm on the rocks that once tried to break me. A summit that took me years to conquer, where I can oversee the precise path that led me to the precise point at which I am now standing. A summit that taught me a valuable truth: that being alone is not synonymous with being lonely.
I have seen love, & I have experienced love in multiple ways, through multiple relationships, through multiple lovers, over multiple years. I have come home to a hot bath & a glass of wine because he knew I had a bad day. I have had impulsive roadtrips, where getting to the destination didn't matter, because we had each other. I have had the magical Christmas with a beloved, the kind of Christmas that has been scored on my heart. I have had the little gifts for no other reason than just because. I have received the little tokens of affection because he was reminded of me when he saw it. I have had the late night emotional moments, where I just needed to be held, & he was there to hold me. I have had the emotional breakdowns, those moments where I was at my tipping point, & I was granted more patience than I deserved. I have walked through the front door to be greeted with a kiss & a homemade candlelit dinner. I have donned a fancy dress & stiletto heels for a night on the town, with my arms wrapped around a man I loved. I have had the infamous walk down an aisle, where I gave & received the sacred kiss that promised a life for a life. Finding love in a person, but never finding love for myself, within myself.
These memories don't make me bitter, they make me better, because these memories are now just that... memories. No longer are they scabs of pain -- they are scars of strength. Love has never cheated me -- love has always changed me. I have learned more about life from a broken heart than I ever have from being happy. The intrinsic value of a broken heart is found when you refuse to let it break you. The culmination of broken hearts from those multiple relationships & multiple lovers, over the course of multiple years, have shaped my passions, inspired my pursuits, & unveiled my true value. All this time, I have been a girl who loved big, but who never knew how to love herself big. A girl who loved others more than she loved herself. A girl who, in her search for love, found love for herself instead.
Through years of loving others instead of myself, I was afraid to examine my own heart, because I was terrified of what I might find hiding behind years of facades & lies, years of trying to achieve wholeness through the presence of another person. I sat myself down after every single one of my heartbreaks to look myself in the mirror -- to literally just stare at my reflection. To see myself through the eyes of the world, & to see myself again, for just me, as I am, with what I have to give. And then I opened my heart to examine its carefully packaged contents. I harbored more fear for opening my heart to myself than I ever have for opening my heart to another person, but when I was able to see what lived within me, I became a changed person.
So I took control of my life & stopped letting other people try to love me in all the ways that I could already love myself. I can take myself out to dinner, I can take myself to movies, & I can take myself on adventures -- & I do. I actually feel completely present when I am by myself... & quite honestly, I have made myself happier than any man ever could. God created in me a wild heart, mind, & soul that was never meant for a cage in the first place, yet I tried to tame it. But it was in trying to tame it that I found the unconditional love for myself.
I may be alone, but I am not lonely. Being alone has brought me freedom, independence, & wholeness. I feel a refined sense of self. I am in charge of one soul, one destiny, one dream -- my own. I have seen love, I have experienced love, & this time it's my turn. I may be alone, but I am not lonely. So when you ask if I'm dating anyone & my reply is, "No," don't feel sorry for me. When you ask if I'm married, & my reply is, "No, not anymore," don't feel sorry for me. I am happy for the ways I have been hurt, & I am better for having once been broken. I love big... & this year, I'm loving myself big.
Megan Elizabeth is a storyteller based in Kalispell, Montana. Take a peek at her blog & portfolio, drop her a line, & follow her story on Facebook & Instagram.