In about 36 hours an article about me will be published in a local magazine. The article is about being single in Kansas City. I have no idea what the reporter will write, but I do know the goal of the feature is to hopefully connect people… so I’m assuming it will paint me in a positive light. I hope. What I do know is I’m much more prepared to enter the dating scene today than I was a month ago.
A month ago I was still so focused on picking up all the broken pieces from my shattered sense of self that the idea of dating was horrifying. How could I trust again? How could I be vulnerable again? How could I love or hope ever again? It seemed impossible. There are only so many things we can actually control in this life. Changing jobs, moving houses – those things I could make up my mind to do. But emotions? Fears? Those were overwhelming. In fact, I started going to a counselor for the first time in my life because I recognized that even with all the positive changes I’d been making, I was still consumed with hate and hurt and anger and disappointment… not just in the man who chose to break my heart, but in myself for letting him.
Truth be told, it was never a healthy relationship, and if I’m being perfectly honest with myself, the best thing my ex ever did was destroy me to the point I was forced to rebuild. And I’m very proud of myself. Proud of the choices I made to put myself on a healthier, happier path; proud of the friends and family I have and the amazing support they continue to provide; but… as confident and focused as I’ve become over the past several months, I had no idea how I could ever be in a healthy relationship… especially after realizing the one I’d clung so deeply to, fought so hard for, was never worthy of me.
Understanding one’s worth comes so naturally to so many, and yet remains an elusive myth to others. I fall into the latter category. At least, I did. Until I met you. You’re the guy who came out of nowhere. The one I didn’t expect and didn’t think I deserved. You told me I was beautiful, not just once, but often and descriptively. It wasn’t a blanket statement. You spoke of my eyes, my smile, my hair, the way I light up a room. You made me feel special just the way I was. The way, when we were out together, you’d turn a room of strangers into friends and somehow still manage to make me feel like the most important person there, I can’t even describe what that did for my self-confidence. The way you’d always find your way back to me in a crowded room, through your eye contact, your smile, your physical presence, the light touch of your hand on my back as you guided me through a room… I finally understood what it felt like to be adored. I’ve never felt adored until you.
And more importantly than the way you made me feel so special and so beautiful, it was amazing to have someone I respected and trusted make me feel that way. All this time I had been wondering if I could ever trust again or make myself vulnerable again and with you… I never had to second-guess it. From the first moment, I felt like I knew you and, more surprisingly, that you knew me. With you I was safe.
It was a whirlwind of a month. One neither of us were ready for, and neither of us in a position to sustain. I wish we could. But, instead of focusing on what isn’t to be, I have decided to say thank you. Thank you for reminding me of my worth. Thank you for teaching me that I deserve to feel special and loved. That I should expect a man to be open and honest with me, even when it’s difficult. That I should expect doors to be opened, calls returned, compliments given. I should be able to listen to the man I’m dating talk because he’s so interesting and I want to know everything, learn everything, hear every story, hang on every word. I should want him to meet every friend and family member because I’m so proud of the fact that a man like him is in my life. And he should want the same in return. That is adoration. It’s not about chasing someone who doesn’t want to be chased. It’s not about believing in fairy tales or romantic comedy endings. It’s about loving yourself, raising your standards, knowing your worth and sharing it with another.
You taught me that. And I don’t know how to thank you enough. You truly are one of the most beautiful souls I’ve had the pleasure to know. Thank you for loving me and more than that, for teaching me to love myself. I’m only sorry the timing wasn’t right for us; but thank you for putting me in a place where I know I’ll be able to move forward on the dating scene with more confidence, albeit I’m sure a stunning degree of awkwardness will continue to shine through… I mean, I am still me.