(Be)a(you)tiful

Giving away even small pieces of yourself at a time will eventually leave a big hole in your heart.

I’ve always hated seeing friends lose part of themselves when they met a guy. One thing I initially liked about my first serious relationship was that I was unapologetically myself, whether or not my ex liked it. I stayed true to my values and didn’t get rid of any of the activities that made me happy; I simply added my boyfriend to my life instead of working everything else around him. Being myself regardless of where I am or who I am with has always been one of my strengths.

Towards the end of our relationship, though, I lost so much of myself. I compromised on morals that I held close to my heart to try to fix a broken relationship, I gave up on several of my own dreams, and I decided my boyfriend was not only the most important thing in my life, but he became the only thing that was important to me. Since our love story was clearly coming to an end I felt crushed. I could never fully concentrate on anything that was going on in my life in Virginia because my mind was always with him.

When we broke up I quickly snapped back to reality (Oh, there goes gravity!) and realized I never wanted to become so lost in someone else that I, in turn, lose myself again.

This is easier said than done once you’ve given so much of yourself to someone else. Dating again was refreshing, but I have made an incredible effort to stay self-aware in every relationship that I have cultivated — whether it is with a guy I go on one date with or someone I am hoping to be exclusive with one day.

The new harmful pattern that had developed in the last few months with my ex shined brightly with the first guy I liked since we broke up. It happened with the handsome athlete from school and I noticed it as soon as I began to backslide. You see, this particular gentleman had seen my blog and absolutely hated it. He told me that he thought it was a terrible idea to write about my dating life and that he thought I was “better than that.”

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Dang it, I thought, If he doesn’t like my writing every great guy out there is going to hate it too!

I quickly began to rethink my decision to write about dating. Even though I didn’t want a relationship anytime soon, I did eventually want to meet someone. I was afraid that if this sweet, classy guy judged me for writing about my experiences that every single “good guy” out there would feel the same way. After going home and really meditating on it, I decided that I would just have to eventually find a different gentleman who actually did enjoy my writing and would be okay with the fact that I am so open about my life. This didn’t mean that he would be need to love being written about, but he at least couldn’t be someone who would judge me harshly for something I genuinely love to do. This particular man just wasn’t the right fit if he didn’t understand my writing, sense of humor, and ultimately the intentions of my heart.

Single In The Suburbs has become something that’s important to me and although I’ll give up the “single” part of my life one day, I won’t give up the things that I value, such as sharing my life experiences and trying to help others — whether it’s through my sense of humor or sharing mistakes I have made in my own life.

I am a huge advocate for being comfortable in your own skin and not changing just so people will like you more. The right people will love you for the things that make you unique, and the others just aren’t people who are meant to be a big part of your life.

Today’s lesson: One of the best ways to find the right people to surround yourself with is being unapologetically you and paying close attention to who sticks around. There is not a single person in the world who will be liked by everyone; no matter how nice or thoughtful you are, there will always be haters. The more genuine you are, though, the easier it will be for you to find relationships that will be a good fit for you. As Oscar Wilde once said, “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

In Sickness And In Health

Although I’m not an expert on many things, I would say having a chronic illness is a subject I’m pretty well versed on now. I’ve been both single and in a long-term relationship with a CI, which isn’t a super-common thing for someone in their twenties.

We never know what the future holds and sadly there is a lot of pain in this world. I could have never in a million years imagined getting a chronic illness at 22 years old, but here I am. It’s still so weird for me to think about. You don’t ever think things like this will happen to you.

Through this crazy journey life is taking me on I’ve realized the enormous difference of someone staying with you through an illness and someone supporting you. Guys, you have no idea how big this is.

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Real life with someone is very different than the glamour and attempted perfection on a wedding day. (This was from a bridal photoshoot I did a few years ago)

When someone stays with you just to be around, you feel alone. You feel like a burden, and it’s not going to help you get any better.

But when someone is there because they want to be and because they are able to put your needs above their own for a period of time, you have a significant other who is giving a genuine and selfless love — and, in turn, you can be there in their time of need.

This, to me, is one of the most beautiful things a person can offer, and it’s something that can’t be faked. Sickness still isn’t easy, but life is a heck of a lot more wonderful when you have someone who will support you when you need a shoulder to lean on. On the other hand, it’s an amazing feeling loving someone enough to want to be able to take away their pain, no matter what that may be. I’ve felt very strongly about a few people that way in my life, and it’s a very genuine and incredible feeling that I can only attribute to the selfless love I am hoping you all get from a partner.

Today’s lesson: There are amazing people in this world who will love you through your trials, whatever they may be. Don’t settle for someone who will just stay. Wait for the person who will hold your hand and be with you every step of the way, no matter where life takes you both.