What’s worse, breaking up with your best friend or your boyfriend? In either situation you’re left with no shoulder to cry on but your own.
My first romantic relationship started when I was 15. We started off innocent and pretty adorable. For every month-anniversary we exchanged hand-written letters folded into a tiny envelope sealed with a smiley face sticker. I also had three best friends in high school. We did everything together, like shop, sleep over each other’s houses, eat pizza on the living room floor and laugh until our stomachs hurt.
Flash forward to college, cooking dinner with my boyfriend of four years in my apartment and walking past one of my old best friends on campus like complete strangers. I wish I could explain why we stopped being friends but I can’t. One day we were sitting at lunch together munching away, and the next day when I asked what she wanted for her birthday she said, “from you, nothing.”
She never gave any explanation for the distance she created and I never felt brave enough to ask. I know that people and life are subject to change, but it’s scary how it happens so quickly without even realizing.
My sisters look at me and say that I’m just comfortable in my relationship. They say because I haven’t been in a relationship with anyone else that I never had time to learn about myself. People tell me that not being friends with the same girls anymore is okay because now I have space to grow up.
But that’s not true at all. Being on my own isn’t the only way I can “find myself” or mature as an individual.
Now that I’m 19 years-old I understand and admit that I haven’t figured myself out 100 percent. However, I do know that I don’t need an “Eat, Pray, Love” revelation to discover who I really am. Who I am and my happiness are not defined by my relationships.
My happiness and I are defined by my accomplishments and the goals that I reached thus far. There’s a lyric from my favorite band The Maine’s song “(Un)Lost” and it says, “Always remember how lucky you are to have yourself.” Ever since hearing this, the line has become my mantra.
Realizing that all I have is me was difficult to accept because, like every other relationship, mine has problems. They range from quick bickers about what we listen to in the car to having to take a break when I started college and he was only starting his senior year of high school.
Of course, I’m grateful for my relationship and am always trying to make it better, but after all the breaks and miles between us, I made myself learn to be alright if I was alone.
Once I stopped worrying if I had a boyfriend or not or that my best friend hadn’t spoken to me in two weeks, I learned to be happy with myself. I learned to let life happen and not overreact. I learned to pause and look around. What did I see exactly?
I saw my articles getting published every week and that they were being shared by thousands of readers. I saw the friends I was making while I was doing something I love: Dance. I saw there was nothing my so-called best friend could take away from me by telling me she didn’t want to spend time with me, and that a boyfriend wasn’t the only person in my life who could bring joy and laughter.
Accepting myself for who I am and acknowledging that sometimes I’m going to have to face challenges alone proved tough. It took courage, a lot of it. Stepping into the unknown of solitude is one of the scariest things I’ve ever done. There isn’t anyone to lean on—and that’s the point.
Separating myself a bit from people that I could have been completely dependent on allowed me to find out what I like, what I don’t like and who I want to be.
Today, I’m not the same person I was the day I met my boyfriend and old best friend nearly four years ago. I’m not even the same person I was last week. And I’m glad I’m not. Though I’m not totally satisfied with myself yet, who would be having barely lived two decades?
I know I don’t have all the answers yet, but slowly and surely I’m figuring them out. From people entering and exiting my life to facing new opportunities, I’m continuously growing. I’m going to make decisions I’m not happy with, but doing so is a part of life; making mistakes and messing up every now and then.
If I expected to be happy and content each and every day, then I would be just the opposite. I would let myself down so much more when I realized that not everything went according to plan.
Letting life run its course and not forcing change to happen, I am able to get through anything and figure out who I am in the process.