I read this essay on Huffington Post Women yesterday. It inspired me. It conveys so well how I often feel, have felt, and yet the words have failed me. But I don't need to find the words, because this woman, this Lexi Herrick, has already done it so well. I received permission from her to repost it here. Remember, there's no shame in being alone. Don't stay somewhere you aren't happy just because you are afraid of being alone. You can do it, ladies. If you find love, great, hold on to it while you can. I know I will. But if you don't...or it doesn't work out, you can stand on your own feet. I too recently discovered that fear of the unknown, fear of being alone, often keeps us stuck in place when we don't need to be.
Recently, someone questioned my affinity for red wine. My answer, like most of my answers, was probably not at all what they expected.
"We bonded," I said, laughing and taking a sip from the glass that had inspired such a question.
"Well, I used to hate it. I was going through a difficult time when I started to drink the dry, red wine. It was just so strong and raw. It was powerful and bold. That's what I wanted to be. For the first time in my life, I just wanted to be those things, on my own. I wanted to be alone. I wanted to be fearless and bold. I wanted to be a strong, powerful red wine."
Isn't it strange to realize you actually want to be alone? It was for me. It was weird. It was weird to genuinely not desire the things I used to need so desperately, and always had. It was weird to change into a woman I both admire and fear, because she can appear unrecognizable at times. But that's OK, because I think we all need to lose ourselves, to find ourselves. I think we all need to be left alone, to learn how to stand alone. I think we all need to choose to stand alone, to know we need no one else to be the strongest, most incredible versions of ourselves.
Why do we feel so pressured to need a counterpart? What's so wrong with taking some time? We don't give ourselves enough damn time. We need time to breathe. We need time to think and to learn. We need time to shake a couple hands, get lost in a few pairs of lovely eyes and share stories with strangers that make us laugh. We don't need to jump into the arms and beds of different people until one of them decides to stay for a little while longer than the rest. We don't need titles and commitment that's rushed, or done so for any reason influenced by others. Why love someone if you don't love yourself? Why settle in life to satisfy some ridiculous human-made complex of being inadequate as a single-status person? We don't need that. We need adventure. We need friendship. We need natural confidence and bravery. We need to make the choices that are best for us and for our own happiness. We need funny stories, big pizzas, long drives, bright stars, brilliant ideas and moments that make us feel infinite and proud. That's what I need, at least.
I just want to be alone for a while. I don't want to owe anyone anything. I don't want to have to explain why I'm guarded. I don't want to hurt anyone, because I'm not ready, and a person's heart is not something I would ever place into hands I don't trust. I don't want to have to make excuses. I don't want to worry about anyone. I don't want to be pressured. I don't want to make my decisions with or for anyone else. I don't want to be told what to do, where to go or who to be. I don't want to make promises I'm not ready to keep. I don't want to be concerned with what he wants or needs from me. I don't want to feel guilty for choosing myself for once.
It's OK to want those things. For god's sake, it's OK to be a little selfish sometimes. It's OK to want to fall in love with your career and passions. It's OK to want to stay out way too late with your friends and get a little lost sometimes. It's OK to laugh so hard that you cry and make a few mistakes. It's OK to pack up your bags and go on trips at a moment's notice. It's OK to take chances. It's OK to do and say things you may have been fearful to before. It's OK to want to spend a little time loving yourself.
There's nothing wrong with wanting that. There's nothing wrong with you. It doesn't make you heartless or cold. It doesn't make you undesirable or unwanted. It won't make you incapable of happiness or future relationships. You'll have those loves one day, and when you do, you'll be happy within yourself. You'll have that light in your heart, and fall in love with the way you see it shine in someone else.You'll want them, not need them. You'll know the difference. You deserve to.
"So, did it happen then? Did you become like the red wine?"
"We're getting there."
Lexi writes to you from central Pennsylvania, where she blogs, works in corporate marketing and continues to study the fabulous field of communications. She's addicted to caffeinated beverages and people who make her smile. She's an advocate for equality, knowledge, healthy relationships, compassion, self-confidence, integrity and above all, love. The most incredible gift she has been given through writing is the ability to connect with the remarkable people in this world who read her work. She wants to thank them for teaching her, growing with her and changing her life.