I got married young. One-semester-into-college young to be exact. With the intelligence provided by hindsight, I now realize, it was too young. For back then, I didn’t even know who I was. And some 25+ years later, I am just starting to figure that out.
When I was a young girl, I went from trying to please my parents straight into the demands of pleasing a spouse. Most days I did my best. Other days, I could have done better. However, in general, my goals were to make everyone else happy. I tried not to argue too much. I complied with everyone’s requests as much as possible. I worked. I smiled. I submitted. Eventually, I became so numb that I was just going through the motions of life. I was not an active participant in my relationships as a daughter or wife. I was just there.
Of course, at the time, I didn’t know I was a walking, emotionally void zombie. (I mean, do zombies ever really know they are zombies?) I didn’t have the time to consider my feelings in between having and raising two kids, working full-time in retail, completing my bachelors degree and maintaining the motions of happiness. Or, if I am being brutally honest, the times that I started to acknowledge and voice my opinions, I was shut down by myself or others. In those few moments of failed protest, I gave up. I rolled over. I quit. I wasn’t just quitting on my relationship, which is sad on its own level, I was quitting on myself.
As time went on, my zombie life naturally killed all chances of survival. I became cold, depressed, and divorced. Sure, there are multiple factors that lead to the demise in relationships. I did not create them all. However, I can own the ones I did.
The one that I realize the most now is: I didn’t know how to love myself. I had no confidence, no joy, no desires. I didn’t like who I was. I didn’t know what I wanted. I didn’t even know who I was. I was just a lifeless shell of a moderately successful, functioning adult. But, I was miserable inside.
It is only now, years after a divorce and a few bad dating experiences, that I have found me. By taking the time to stand up for myself and try new things, I have discovered passion, joy and hope. Through taking risks, I have found security. And by throwing out my training wheels, I found stability.
How did I do this? I started to date myself. I got dressed up and went out for sushi. I took myself to they symphony or a movie. I tried bucket list items. I created a blog so I could write again. I expanded my photography skills. Sometimes I discovered something new that I liked. Other times, not so much.
Either way, I was out. I got to decide what I liked and what I didn’t. And through this all, I discovered that I wasn’t so bad. Heck, I was even lovable.
When I started looking at myself as worthy of love, I found it. And all it took was some good sushi along the way. Now that, is a good date.