I’ve been putting off writing this post for quite some time now, so here I am, on a plane forcing myself to write it. The main reason I’ve been procrastinating writing this (besides the fact that I’m a natural procrastinator) is that this is something I’ve struggled to accept for the past few years. After being in a long-term relationship during very formative years of my life, I didn’t think that it was okay to be single. I wasn’t okay with the person I was and I clung onto everyone else. But, it is true. You are your longest relationship. You are the only person who will be with you for your entire life.
I think Ed Sheeran sums it up best in his song Save Myself when he says, “Before I love someone else, I’ve got to love myself.” Partially because of my love of Ed and partially due to how affected I was by that quote, I decided in April to get the second half of it tattooed on my rib cage. I’m not going to sit here and lie to you all and say that I’m 100% okay with the person I am. But I can confidently say that I work on bettering myself every day and have been able to accept more and more of who I am.
This also isn’t me saying that you can’t be in a relationship if you aren’t happy with who you are. That would be extremely hypocritical of me considering I’ve been dating my boyfriend, Tommy, for almost two months now. This is me saying that you need to put yourself first. You matter more than anyone else who you want to date, be friends with, etc.
I am a people pleaser. I would rather have everyone around me be happy than myself. I learned in this past year that is severely detrimental to my mental health. After breaking up with my long-term boyfriend, I began to pursue another boy. We had completely different ideas of what we wanted and I knew this from the beginning. However, I still did whatever I could to please him, see him, and make him want to date me. This gave me extreme anxiety. Whenever he didn’t respond to a text or a snapchat, told me he was busy when I wanted to hang out or said he wasn’t ready for a relationship — I entered panic mode. I was ignoring all of my issues and focusing all of my time and energy on a boy who wasn’t capable of doing the same for me. I definitely don’t blame him for this, it was not his responsibility to take care of me.
After ups-and-downs of our “relationship”, we finally called it quits for real in mid-March. Although I knew from the beginning he didn’t want a relationship, I had convinced myself that he would change his mind. He didn’t. It was now my turn to learn how to rely on myself and I had absolutely no idea how to do this. I entered the most depressive stage in my life. I completely stopped attending classes and spent most of my time sleeping.
Luckily, I have some amazing friends who encouraged me to seek professional help. I started seeing a therapist, taking medication, and preparing for the upcoming summer. I started to focus on myself. I shared my blog publicly, something I hesitated to do for years. I got a new job, landed an awesome internship, and picked up photography again. I decided to stay in Massachusetts for the summer to experience living alone. I even booked my first solo trip to California to visit one of my best friends (aka the trip I am currently on a plane to).
Right before the end of the semester, I met Tommy and ended up in an incredibly healthy and supportive relationship with him. However, I still make sure to put my needs and wants first. He isn’t the biggest fan of tattoos, but I still got a new one on my back (sorry, not sorry, Tommy). I try to make as much time as I can to see him during my busy summer but I still know that I need to keep my job and internship a priority.
You are your longest relationship. Prioritize yourself. Be selfish with your time. Get that piercing you want. Further your career. Go talk to a therapist. Book a vacation. Do things for yourself, things that will benefit you. Your significant other, family, and friends are still important, but make sure that they are not holding you back. Spend time with people who build you up and support your dreams. If someone is holding you back and it isn’t something that you can fix, it is completely okay to cut ties.
Always remember that you matter. Treat yourself with the respect you deserve. I believe in you, and it is time to start believing in yourself.