Tears streamed down my face as I stood in church, singing the worship songs I’d heard hundreds of times before. The familiar melodies felt like my mom rubbing my back, telling me it was OK to cry. It felt like the words were finding me, after months of wanting to stay hidden. I swayed to the music, finally willing to be seen in this place.
My relationship was coming to an end. I didn’t know it in my brain, yet, but my heart knew. The music gently wrung it out, beginning the process even before I was aware.
I would hang on for a few more months, tightly gripping every last shred of what we had. When things would hit rock bottom for us, still, I would hold tightly, being expunged from the relationship, rather than walking away with dignity.
Things were bad between us for so many reasons. One of the many reasons, though, was that I was becoming less of myself, not more.
I was quieter, more anxious. I was jealous. I was nervous and afraid to speak up. I felt like I was both too much and not enough. My emotions overwhelmed him. My desire to spend time together was suffocating him. The things I did that I considered to be thoughtful didn’t seem to reach him. The things I really wanted him to do with me, like running and going to church and cooking dinner, no longer interested him. We were on different planes.
He felt like he was enjoying the season of life we were in to the fullest. I was ready to move forward - grow up. He felt I was holding him back. I thought he was dragging his feet. We were broken long before the breakup.
Chris and I were doing something, recently. I was being goofy. We were laughing. Mac was laughing. We were happy. It hit me, then, that in my old relationships, I wasn’t secure enough to act this way.
If I could give any advice to single girls, it would be this: do not stop looking until you can be your real self. Your full self. Your messy self. The goofy one. The emotional one. The one with real needs, real conversation.
The one who is unafraid.
You will never be perfect and neither will your relationship. I believe, though, that when a relationship is right, we have the ability to be both our best and worst selves, because there is safety. We are no longer performing. We make mistakes. We apologize. We laugh. We cry. We thrive and grow and stop tempering, stop monitoring. We aren’t afraid to ask for things and we give generously.
I’m passionate about this topic because I have seen myself almost disappear into a relationship before. At times, I’ve wanted a person more than I wanted to be myself. It’s scary, but, unfortunately, not unique to me.
Let your anthem be one of becoming more fully yourself, more alive, braver and stronger. Speak up and remember, if it doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.