Wednesday, June 29, 2011


From the point I was twelve years old until I was 16 I was in relationships. I was rarely  single during that time; at most I was single for a month. It sounds ridiculous and it is. That’s not how life is supposed to go. Romance is supposed to come in high school and college, not carry you through your formative years. You’re supposed to develop as a person, not as a couple.

I failed that class.

I grew up learning that to be valuable I had to be with a man. I assigned my value as a person to who I was with and what they did and what we did as a couple.  I was never Taylor. I was Taylor and (insert name) or (blank)’s girlfriend, never just me. So after my last run in with the laws of love I decided to respond with a law of Physics: The Law of Action and Reaction. If you push me, I’ll push you back just as hard. I took on a fast; a fasting of the heart. I decided to take one year of being single. A whole year dedicated to just being me and living my life without the interference of boys. My first few months were difficult. I almost gave up on it, but when I wasn’t following my fast I realized I felt like shit. When I was following my fast I felt a lot better about myself. I broke down into tears often, I struggled with my identity, and I didn’t feel right. I felt heartbroken and angry and resentful. I didn’t know who I was and standing naked before the world was frightening. It was more frightening than writing this blog or facing the truth that I had fallen apart. So after 2 months of struggle and debating, I dedicated myself “fully” to the cause or idea of being single for an entire year.

It was a conscious decision to be single for a year. It sounds stupid, but I had a few people I wouldn’t have minded dating, and I almost did date some of them. By some I mean one. The one guy I had consistently been interested in; I was more interested in him than my boyfriend-to-be in the months before Matt and I. And for the first time in the 3 years we had known each other, I was single. He was single. Shit was going to go down.

Shit did go down. But not in the way I anticipated or wanted. We ended up struggling to be friends. We argued a lot, stopped talking, yelled, cried, basically every facet of emotion available. Eventually I realized that losing him as a friend wasn’t worth it to me. The security of being wanted mattered less to me than having him as my best friend. This was the first time in my life I made that choice: friendship over love.

December came on quickly and my resolve was beginning to wear thin. I was tired of being lonely; watching all of my friends fall in and out of love, cute couples at the mall. Most of my single friends laughed at me. I had only been single for 6 months; most of them had been single their entire lives. In my reality 6 months felt like an eternity. I was at a football game with my friends when it hit me…I didn’t want to live like this. I didn’t want to have to force myself to not want a relationship. I realized that wanting a relationship was a good thing, but I needed to want it for the right reasons. My wavering dedication to my “cause” evaporated. I was resolute. I was going to make it one year without falling in love or having a boyfriend, and I was going to find myself in the process. It wasn’t an easy process. As I had learned so much about myself in relationships, I learned infinitely more about myself when I was outside of one.

I don’t need to narrate to you every instance of turning down an opportunity to “get with” someone. There were a few, but not that many. I began to focus on myself. I worked on gaining real confidence, not arrogance. I started to read books I wanted to read, meditate, and go to yoga. I worked out, ate healthy, and I began to form stronger bonds with my friends than I ever had. My life began to turn up. When I wasn’t dedicating myself to someone else I discovered I could do many more productive things. I began to realize that this woman I was becoming was someone worthwhile, someone valuable, and someone I shouldn’t have ignored for such a long time. I realized that discovering yourself is the most important thing you can do before you fall in love. You can’t be in love if you don’t know yourself and I spent years being ignorant of who I was. I assigned who I was to the people around me: my boyfriends, and not to the person looking back at me at the end of the day: myself.

I realized that there was more to my future than becoming a wife and mother. There was college, a career, adventures, life, and so much more. I realized I could discover all of these amazing things by myself, and that that was okay.

On the 8 month marker of the end of my relationship and the eighth month of my romantic fast I walked along the beach Matt and I had spent much of our time together on. In the previous months I had felt sadness, anger, and resentment whenever I went there. And yet, as I stood there, 8 months later I just felt pity. I felt pity for Matt. I finally overcame the hurdle and genuinely felt sorry for him. Not in the “he lost me” way, but I had seen where he had come from. His controlling father and the pressure to achieve drove him rather than his own want to succeed. For that, I felt great pity. On that day, 8 months later, I finally got over him. I got over what happened. I was finally able to set my anger and sorrow aside, and officially move along with my life. From that day on life has changed. Everything has changed. I can’t describe the feeling of being happy with one’s self. I am genuinely content to be who I am and I’m proud of who I am. I love knowing that no matter what happens, I will be able to move onward and that life will take care of itself. My only obligation is to live life and to live life happily, or at least try to.

The four months between then and now have passed rapidly. I’ve graduated form high school, I know where I’m going to college, I’ve met new people, and I have become a new person. Over this year I have realized that life moves so quickly and that it’s waste to spend any of it waiting for someone to tell you who are because you’re the only person who really knows.

This past year taught me more about myself, and my life than I could have ever imagined. I learned to be happy in my own skin and confident in what I was saying. I faced my fears: not only of heights and the dark, but also my fears about myself. I have come to the realization that life can be just as fulfilling alone as it can be with a companion. I feel lucky to have had this experience, even though it was scary and hard and confusing at times.  I stand on the beach I did one year ago. The water is the same beautiful shade of blue, the sand still cushions my feet and drips between my toes. The rain clouds are just as grey and the fog is just as thick, but everything is new. Everything is different. These are not the same blankets or fog or drizzling clouds. This sand is not the sand I stepped upon a year ago. The water, though the same glassy blue, is not the same. It extends to a new horizon, one I could not have even imagined reaching 365 days ago. The world is new, everyday, every hour…and so am I. 

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your experience. I commend you for bravely going through your difficult situation. I am nearly 40 years old and I never recover from a breakup like this. I always took the easy way out and just found someone else. The problem with that is it seems that all the heartbreak that you skip kind of builds up. The next breakup is more painful than the last and so on. This makes getting over the spit more difficult.

    Your healthy, well adjusted approach leads to healthy self esteem and self confidence. You should be proud of yourself. And thanks again for sharing this experience. I suspect many people are going to gain perspective