Photography by Priscilla du Preez, Unsplash
Growing up as a little blonde curly-haired, blue-eyed, innocent girl I surrounded myself with birds, animals and mud rather than humans. I would spend hours in my imagination rather than reality. As I basked in the energy of my make-believe life, I would sometimes place mud patties and bush salad-greens out on an old tree stump to my handsome husband (dog) and my two-and-a-half (rock) children. Other times I would be here to protect Earth from alien invaders (the ‘townies’ from the nearby motor camp) with my stick gun and stone grenades.
Fast forward 30 years and nothing much has changed in my Lala Land except the doubtful whispers of my ovaries and my lowered visual standards in a future partner, but I am still happy creating my own reality and doing what I can to protect Earth.
Now every ‘single’ person would have heard the “you won’t find love until you love yourself” line. I’d sarcastically agree to the people that preached that to me with my hands held high – “hallelujah sister”. I’ve seen many people that don’t love themselves fully with partners that still love them immensely, so I don’t believe that people are unlovable just because they still don’t fully accept some aspects of themselves yet. But I do understand the self-love buzz, whether you are in or out of a relationship. Loving myself has been the key to my now joyful life, not to mention the best narcissist repellent.
Authentic confidence in someone that accepts themselves as they are and owns their feelings and experiences without having expectations of others is extremely attractive to everyone and well, everything really. These illuminating people don’t try and control life, they surf through the ebbs and flows of a forever-changing world with full trust in themselves to handle anything and don’t rely on external things to fulfill them.
The thing is we can’t control anything external and sometimes, at a certain age, we end up somewhere different from where we expected. These expectations have been moulded by the society we live in. Maybe that 30-year dream isn’t my destiny after all? Maybe it is? But I’m definitely not waiting around for the answer nor am I adapting my life for a specific outcome. I’m now living for every little moment in life, finding the pleasure and contentment of creating a life worth loving.
I don’t get disappointed with waiting for a bunch of flowers to be given to me, I buy my own flowers whenever I want them. If I want to go on holiday, go on a drive, out to lunch, a hike, a swim, watch the sunset, have a massage or anything – I simply listen and just do it.
Do I miss Sundays cuddled in bed with a partner with loud man-farts? Sometimes, as they were a giggle, but mostly I get out of bed and go find physical touch from others at my Five Rhythms dance community. I don’t wait for romance anymore, I give that to myself. I fulfill my needs when I want and no longer wait for the sense of lack to set in, or worse, compare my life to others.
In 2018 at 36 years old, I took this being alone thing to the next level. My family thought I’d finally lost the plot. We often get witnessed by others to make promises to another person, ‘To have and to hold, in sickness and in health… and all that jazz. But not often do we have ceremonies to make promises to ourselves. My excited bestie was beside herself to be my witness.
It was a beautiful day. I dressed in white, we wore flower headbands with coral hibiscus flowers from my garden. We lit candles and had beautiful music playing. No da.da.de-da and no aisle. It was the most affordable wedding I had ever been to. I read out the things I promised to be and do for myself e.g., I promised to trust my intuitive feelings, to make my own wellness a priority over helping others, to speak up if my boundaries are being crossed and so on. It was a powerful exercise that brought suppressed emotions to the surface of times when I hadn’t respected myself. As I read them out loud it was witnessed in the presence of someone I love strongly and it was deeply healing. After the ceremony we laughed, ate cake and then went out to ecstatic dancing. I felt free from the attachment of needing to be married to someone else and was awoken to the need to honour myself. I became more open to accepting love.
Now allowing life to unfold is my biggest priority. I believe like a spider we weave our own web of life but we can never control the elements. With many heartbreaks, we can see them as eroding our hearts and we can form barriers of protection with certain people or we can see it as our heart breaking open to hold the ability to love life and others stronger with more intimacy and compassion.
If you are like me, ‘single’, use this time wisely to get to know every aspect of self:
- Find what brings joy to your life.
- Feel into emotions that come up for you with this free space.
- Find out what gives you more energy and what takes your energy.
- Find a connection with nature, community and build beautiful intimate friendships.
- Build passion projects.
- Find time to learn something new.
- Explore your senses by finding your pleasure and sensuality.
Don’t focus on what’s wrong, focus on the things that you love and let the energy you create while doing these things flood your entire being, fill your entire life and influence everyone in your presence. Find pleasurable experiences you want to arrive early to, because you are so excited about the unexpectedness of the surprising opportunities that await you everywhere.
Write a list of three experiences you want more of in your life and go out and fulfil them yourself without the expectations of anyone else to meet your personal desires. Make a promise to yourself and know that you are worthy of these things.