Being broken up with is always one of the hardest lessons in self-acceptance to experience. When my partner ended our relationship this Summer, I felt broken. I understood where the word broken up came from. I didn’t tell many people aside from my close friends because it took me a very long time to admit that we weren’t getting back together.
When I started dating again, it felt good to be admired and taken out and feel adored during a time when the usual thoughts in my head were, “If the person I loved with all my heart didn’t want to be with me, why would anyone else?” But I continued to date and continued to bury the sadness and anger by keeping myself as socially and physically busy as possible. Healthy, right? I began drinking too many glasses of wine and getting too cozy with American Spirits, when I barely touched either for over a year. There were days, there are days, when I look at the empty bottles of Benshen and the list of orders and the emails from suppliers of lost packages and just stare blankly, as if it’s all in a different language, not wanting to deal with anything. Getting up in the morning became later and later as I didn’t feel inspired by the life I was leading, wasn’t clear anymore with my vision, wasn’t sure where I was. I was spiraling downward into old patterns and behaviors that I thought I had cleared out, while trying to maintain a “EVERYTHING IS FAN-FUCKING-TASTIC” persona on the outside, because I teach meditation and work in wellness and that’s what we’re supposed to do even when we admire vulnerability, right?
I do my best to acknowledge the hard times but I realized it’s always in that past tense, when the storms have passed and the sailing is smooth. Jesse Israel recently penned an article for Well + Good where he talked about the challenges of being human and how he began opening those conversations of his personal experiences of life’s ups and downs, in the present tense, during MediClub. How revolutionary, I thought, to open the dialogue in the moment versus maintaining the “I have it all together NOW, but here’s how my life was a shit show in the past” while keeping in the shadows the very real, very human, very high + low moments that are actually, are ACTUALLY what weave us together and allow us to feel connected. Brené Brown once said, “The two most powerful words when we're in struggle: me too.”
I had hit a point in dating where I was sitting with a guy that I had starting seeing, having dinner in his loft when his roommate began talking about a girl he liked. The guy I was with exclaimed, “SHE’S AMAZING, oh my god she hangs out here all the time!” I immediately thought, “Huh…Do people think that of me? What qualities do I bring to the table? How do people view me?”
It wasn’t an insecure moment. It wasn’t dramatic. I didn’t even bat an eyelash. It was actually the most eye-opening experiences in being able to look directly at how little I knew myself and how much I relied on others all of these years to define my self-worth. I literally couldn’t figure out, in my own experience of myself, what I offered that would lead someone to use the word “amazing” to describe me. Do I bring fun and humor to the table? Do I bring excitement? Am I a good listener? Am I kind? Do I make people experience happiness and lightness or do I bring a dark cloud of Scorpio heaviness? Am I a good conversationalist?
In that moment, I realized all these qualities that I wanted to bring, that I wanted to experience, within myself and others, were hidden beneath layers of insecurities, beneath not knowing myself in a way that I had unwavering confidence in calling myself, “AMAZING.”
It made me realize that the wellness world and mindfulness has taken a wrong turn in teaching us that if we do these things that fall into the category of self-growth, then we will experience happiness. But what I think is that these practices, these techniques, these tools - mind, body, and spirit - are here for us to not chase an illusion of happiness of but to get to know ourselves better, something we spend lifetimes running away from, something we’re using the wellness world to constantly drench ourselves in positivity while suppressing any real feelings and experiences that make us utterly human.
So of course the question becomes, how do we do that? How do we really get to know ourselves rather than stuffing it down with affirmations and quotes and yes, with meditation and yoga and green juice? How do we REALLY do it? This, in my opinion, is where I decided to take a break from dating and to date my friends, to date the people I love, who naturally bring out the best qualities in me. To be surrounded by friends and community who activate those personality traits in me that leave me walking home to an empty bed with a big smile on myself. One of my best friends and co-founder of We Are the XX, Allison Rapson, said to me the other night as we sat on her couch drinking tea “self-love doesn’t have to mean self-isolation… it means putting yourself in the experiences that allow you to feel loved, whether that be alone or with others, so that you can have an experience of what love really is, what it feels like to be nourished and nourish others.”
I believe it’s time now more than ever to allow ourselves to be vulnerable, to challenge ourselves in the moments that feel the most awkward, to get to know ourselves in ways we’ve run away from, to allow ourselves to be HUMAN, and to extend our humanness, our realness, our openness to others along the way.