As published in The Florida Villager
Once upon a time there was a woman who believed that love could conquer all. Then one day, her husband left her for another and the man who then entered her life claiming to be her knight in shining armor turned out to be adept at deceit himself.
With her heart broken and the life she thought she had now only an illusion, she crawled into her tower and sought the meaning of something more important than relationships; she sought the meaning of herself.
That woman was me. I say, “was” because I am no longer that woman but it wasn’t an easy journey. No journey of self-discovery ever is. It requires you to be brutally honest about yourself and commit to making changes.
As far back as I can remember I was never without a boyfriend. What I realized was I had been in relationships I knew brought nothing to the table and yet I remained long after I should have ended it. Why was I settling? What was I afraid of?
Being in my tower, I was on a pilgrimage to find “me,” to become self-actualized and to experience something I had never experienced before – being free of a relationship in order to find myself. A relationship can be a great thing but it can also be a distracter and pull you off center in who you are. I know several friends who can’t be happy or function to their full potential unless they are in a relationship. They go from man to man and then wonder why they can’t find what they are looking for. How can they possibly find someone else when they haven’t even found themselves?
If you want a “happily ever after” heed my advice. Take time off from dating in order to explore yourself, your world, and how you want to live in it. Get a realistic view of relationships and how you want to fit into one. Redirect your life’s path by deciding what is important to you. Don’t just settle for a warm body. So many of us settle even when our soul cries out for more. We don’t push ourselves toward our inner goals because it feels too unfamiliar, painful, or fearful. It’s too difficult, so we stop midway and settle. Give yourself a chance to feel free. Free from preconceived notions of how your life should have gone, what you thought you wanted in a man and a relationship and how you have viewed yourself up to this point.
I realized relationships are not Disney; there are people in those costumes. Mickey is not Mickey. I still believe in Disney but I have readjusted my vision because I now have a clear picture of who I am. Don’t be afraid to take some time for self-discovery and step outside of your comfort zone. Transformation can be scary, but boy does it feel great to break free.