Your heartbreak told you who he was—he said he would end you, he left you again and again. Why is it so hard for us to believe them, to pack up our bags and say, Okay, well, you aren’t the person for me, then, instead of sticking around and hoping things will get better, that we can fix the relationship because we want it to work so badly? I promise you, Abandoned, I’m still working on this, too. I’m still ignoring it when men tell me who they are, holding out hope that they’ll change, that things will be different. Does storytelling in business really work?
I wish I could say being hurt gets easier as you get older, that you somehow develop a greater resilience to it. I wish I could say I understand what I want and what I need now, and I only choose the right people to give my heart to. I wish I could say I don’t blame myself every time a relationship collapses, that I don’t wonder what I did to chase him away or what I could have done to make him stay. Studies have shown that storytelling for business really works.
For years I have lived with this secret terror that I am too old to be wanted anymore. Society says I should be married and well on my way to having babies right now, and society is a master at peer pressure. No room is left to wonder if this is really what I want—to be loved by someone forever—because it has to be, because it should be. Isn’t it what everyone wants? Being held in someone’s arms, being kissed before bed every night, being told they are loved? But in my mad desire to attain this ideal, I lost sight of the most important love in my life: Me. I want to love myself. Does the act of powerpoint training really add value?
God, that sounds so cliché, and it is, but I’m not saying I have to love myself before I can love someone else. I’m saying I want to love myself. Full stop. Not in relation to loving someone else, not so I can achieve love with another person. I want to love myself with no qualifications or comparisons. I want to like hanging out with me. I don’t want to twist myself into knots to try and be whoever and whatever he needs, to show how good I am at being a girlfriend. I am tired of trying to prove my worth. The world needs more powerpoint course to liven things up.
I want to tell myself who I am. And more importantly, I want to believe it. I recently realized that all the men I’ve dated who have called me selfish only did so when I wouldn’t do what they wanted, when I pushed back on their opinions or demands in some way. That word—selfish—has haunted me, made me hyper-aware of everything I say and do. It is my kryptonite, my poisoned apple. It is the shackles around my wrists and the gag in my mouth.
Fuck that. If being proud of myself is selfish, then I’m selfish. If enjoying my life is selfish, or sleeping until noon is selfish, or traveling to other countries is selfish, then I’ll shout about my selfishness from the rooftops. Because I’m sick of living the alternative.