This time last year, I was definitely at my lowest. This time this year, I wouldn't say I'm at my highest, but I'm surely not at my lowest anymore. I'm at a calm, steady, content, confident, balanced place. I'm world's away from crying in Jakira's lap and questioning every single thing about myself, my life, and my decision. You see, last year at this time I was going through some things. I had just broken up with my boyfriend of two years and that was a really big deal for me. I was 19 and had been in love with him since I was 17. He was my everything - my best friend, my cheerleader, my support system, my world. And when we broke up, even though I think we both knew it was the right thing to do, my world came crashing down. It shattered to pieces and I went down with it.
Breakups of serious relationships are an interesting thing. They almost always catch you by surprise which makes all of the pain even worse. It's very hard to go from talking to someone all the time to not talking to them at all. It's very hard to go from thinking that you have your future figured out, to having everything be up in the air. It's very hard to go from being apart of something bigger than yourself to being on your own. It was very hard for me. It sounds strange to phrase it like this, but in a way, it feels like something died. And I guess something did. So, you grieve like you would any other "death" only this person, lord willing is still alive, they're just no longer a presence in your life. And that is hard because who you are becomes entangled in who they are and what you had together. So, you wander around lost for a little bit.
And wander around lost I did. It might not have looked like it on the outside, or maybe it did (either way I don't really care). I made some decisions that I probably shouldn't have, although I don't regret them. I lost sight of my self-worth and put up with things from men that I didn't deserve. I struggled to articulate who I was and what I wanted from my life long term because all I really wanted was for it to stop hurting so bad. My grades slipped. I spent a lot of time in bed. I cried all the time. I wondered incessantly about why it didn't work out and why I couldn't eat my cake and have it to.
But, today, a year and some change later, I see why everything happened the way that it did. And I thank God for it. I made a decision to bet on myself and pursue my own freedom. I made a decision to only be committed to myself, even though I deeply loved someone else. It was the hardest thing I've ever done. (Granted, I'm only 20 years old, but love is real no matter the age y'all and losing love sucks no matter how old you are when it happens.)
My relationship was amazing and I wouldn't change a single thing about it. I firmly believe that once you love someone, you'll love them forever. But, everything happens for a reason. My relationship ending was the hardest thing I've ever been through, but it was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. Because in losing the love I had, I learned to love myself. In learning to love myself, I found my passion for life again. In revitalizing my passion for life, I pursued myself and every opportunity that came my way to the best of my abilities and I didn't have to feel guilty about it. I don't feel guilty about it. In pursuing myself and every opportunity, doors have opened for me that are beyond anything I could have ever asked for or thought of. I truly do not believe I would have been able to do the things I have in the past year, like go to Thailand and Ghana, or intern in NYC, or get a grant to do my own original research if I had stayed in the situation and headspace that I was in. I just don't think these things would have been possible.
I am genuinely happy today as I write this. I feel free. That's not something I can say I felt around this time last year. Sometimes I'm lonely. The thing about love is that once you've experienced it, you always want more of it. But, I know that now is just not the time for me to love or be loved romantically. And that is perfectly okay with me. The only person I'm committed to is myself and it's a deep, unconditional, fulfilling kind of love. Besides, my friends are all of the "bae" I could ever need and if I ever get lonely, I have an amazing family that offers me more love and support than I could ever ask for up on a platter constantly.
I have bloomed in the past year.
I had the courage to bet on myself and it has paid off everyday.
And even though I know now is not the time for me to love or be loved, I'm looking forward to when it is time again. I pray for my future partner daily. I pray that he will be smart, kind, gentle, family-oriented, have a heart for God, and that he will see me for all that I am, have been, and will be. But until then, I'm so overjoyed to focus on my lovely friends and family, my work (all 10,000 commitments) and to travel all of the globe at the drop of a hat. I don't have to run my moves by anyone or take into account anyone else's feelings or needs. I'm the star of this show. I'm in control. And I'm not responsible to or for anyone else. Right now, at 21 years old, this is perfect for me.
So, ladies, I've said all this to say: have the courage to walk away from a situation that is no longer serving or growing you. I know it's hard when feelings and potential futures are involved. But if it just doesn't feel right anymore, you feel hindered, or you just want to see what else is out there, then lovingly and respectfully walk away without turning back.
Put all of the eggs in your basket and dare God, the universe, and yourself to follow through. Bet on yourself. It's terrifying, but I promise you, that it pays off.
With all of my love,
(It's the bloom y'all and yes, I cut my hair to symbolize that amongst so many other things. It was just time for a change- everything else has this year, in all the best ways.)