I went on a first date a couple of weeks ago.
You might think… “Alex, that’s not that unheard of. You’re single and 23.”
You’d be right.
But here’s the thing — I’ve been single for like…. a whiiiiile.
This first date, though, unlike others that came before it, was different. (While I won’t say much about the guy to respect his privacy —he was honestly wonderful and I had a really nice time— he is not at all the focus of this post!)
This date was different because I am different.
For me? Heartbreak became a catalyst for change. I started to change things… slowly, but surely. I grew, I changed, I became a version of myself I didn’t recognize— and I mean that in the best way possible. I met someone else, I let him go. Honestly, I realized that I just needed to be single. I needed to learn who I was. I needed to process and reflect and grow and change on my own. I needed to travel and learn and un-learn and grieve the life I thought I would have. I had to strip away layers and layers of who I thought I was and get down to the core. I had to deal with my trauma.
I will say — not all women do this. Sometimes they meet the right person and skip these steps or sometimes they meet the wrong person and skip these steps and might repeat the process a few times before it sticks or they meet the right one.
For me, I just knew I wasn’t ready to be with anyone… but I’m not saying it was all peachy keen. Personal growth also sometimes feels like a toootal shit storm. It felt like every single one of my female friends found boyfriends or fiancés. I felt left out. I felt misunderstood. I felt sad. I felt lonely.
But they say that hindsight is 20/20 and mine sure is. I realize now that I was just dating myself. I spent a lot of time alone… Getting to know what I enjoyed and what brought me peace. Getting to dream big audacious dreams for myself. Setting goals. Going to movies. Reflecting. Drinking a glass of wine. Eating Taco Bell. Driving and thinking. Having dance parties. Working out. Understanding my wants and needs in a relationship and what I want out of my life —in all facets—going forward.
I found myself again.
I felt like it was a ‘waiting season’ while I was in it. Now I see it was still a ‘dating season’ but it just looked a lot different than when I had dated around or been in a relationship. I dated myself.
Now… If you’ve made it this far, you might be wondering how this relates to the date I went on a couple of weeks ago. I should preface by letting you know that there was a benchmark for comparison. I went on dates last fall, when I thought that I was ready. Each one I would be so nervous — a rock in my stomach, mind racing, heart pounding type of nervous… “What if he doesn’t like me?” was all I could think to myself.
As I drove to go on my recent date, however, I was mostly just excited. I know exactly who I am and who I want to be (and be with). I know my worth. I know that I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. I know that that’s okay. I know that my person is out there in the universe somewhere. I know that I’m perfectly imperfect and exactly as my maker dreamed me to be. I know that I’m still Alex— a daughter, sister, friend, teacher, employee, student, blogger, lover of life & laughter. I know that no matter what happens on a date, I will always have myself to fall back on.
I know that a man’s opinion of me will not change my opinion of myself.
By ‘dating’ myself, I found out all the ways in which I am so worthy of love.
I won’t soon forget.
I was talking this concept through with a few friends, and it boils down to this:
It makes dating less scary.
I’m still picky —perhaps pickier, even— but I’m no longer afraid of what a man thinks of me.
I just might not be 1 particular guy’s cup of tea.
But I think I’m still pretty damn sweet. 🍵☕️