Tuesday, November 5, 2013

We're Balloons: The Capacity to Love and Be Loved.

When I was a kid, I had an irrational fear of balloon animals. The twisting of thin latex filled with full-to-capacity air freaked me out. I hated the sound of a balloon popping. Like the equally horrific Jack In The Box, I dreaded the inevitable three seconds of piss-your-pants fear that was supposed to be fun and an integral part of childhood. I’m not sure why, but I never ran away from the balloon animal booth even though it was an experience that was always filled with anxiety. I knew there were risks, but it seemed worthwhile to see little pieces of rubber evolve into a magical flower or a cat with three legs.

I always admired balloon animal artists because they could do something I couldn’t: inflate a balloon with their mouths. As a kid, I was so embarrassed when balloons were passed around at parties because I knew I wouldn’t be able to blow them up. I was always that kid who was red-in-the-face relentlessly trying to be like everyone else. I never successfully managed and someone’s nice Mom would help me while all the other kids made me feel bad for my weak lung-capacity.

Recently, a lady in my meditation group asked me how I cope with the way ignorant people treat me. She admitted that she had cyber-stalked me a bit and found it admirable that I can be confident when it’s clear that my self-esteem has been often compromised by society.

I told her that people are a lot like balloons. She looked confused. Truthfully, I didn’t know where I was going with my balloon analogy either, but I just ran with it. Some balloons are easier to inflate while others take quite a bit of effort. It comes down to a person’s capacity to grow. We are all conditioned with certain beliefs and some people feel there’s no need to stretch and open their minds to unfamiliar ideas. I get that. Some people will look at me and see someone who is broken because they don’t have the capacity to see me fully as a person. I can’t control that. The only thing I have control of is how I see myself. While it’s frustrating, I know it’s impossible to change a person without their consent. So, that’s why I think people are like balloons.

She seemed satisfied with my answer and I left. On my way home, I realized that I needed to hear that message myself. At the time, I had been mending a disappointed heart after yet another potential relationship dissolved into my current season of singledom. I was in the usual “I’m never dating again” mode and even looking at a happy couple filled my heart with sadness.

It was so easy to be in the man-hating mentality because four of my close girlfriends were also swearing off relationships. Commiserating over heartbreak is enlightening for about a week, and then it quickly becomes group therapy with no hope of resolution.

Some popular topics of girl group therapy:

1. “I wasn’t worth being loved. I’m so ugly.”

2. “I’m never going to find anyone, I’ll end up alone.”

3. “I’m done with dating, I’m never going to love again!” – this declaration actually helps to make number 2 quite foreseeable.

These are all lies that are encouraged by our disappointed hearts. Don’t let that inner-douchebag fool you, you’re just sad. Be sad, but know that life is in a state of constant change and those feelings will dissipate with time.

When I go through a break-up, I always feel awful and blame myself. It never gets easier. I automatically assume that it’s because he’s ashamed to be seen with me. In addition to my physicality, I also think it’s because of my fledging career, living at home with my family again, etc. I pull out all sorts of scenarios that make me feel terrible. The truth is that sometimes, I’ve just got too much booty for one man to handle (Thanks DJ Felli Fel, haha). On a more serious note, my reality entails that some men just aren’t comfortable being with a woman who isn’t conventional. That’s their thing, not mine.

I think we all find ourselves in that pit of despair when we let other people define our worth. After discussing levels of capacity with meditation lady, I started to see girl group therapy from a different perspective. So much of the laments involved our own inadequacies while completely ignoring the fact that maybe that guy was just not the right person. The details don’t really matter after a break-up. It just wasn’t meant to be and the end of one relationship opens up the potential for a better one (when you’re ready).

Instead of accepting the end of a relationship as just a season coming to a close, we make up all sorts of fantasy stories of how great it could’ve been. We brush aside all of the red flags and see ourselves and our men on the cover of a romantic novel that you’d find in line at the grocery store check-out. Rubbish! The disappointed heart only allows visions of the would-be greatness that will never be instead of the reality that he just didn’t have the capacity to give anymore. Don’t believe it.

With the help of meditation lady, I realized that my true failing in the way I interacted in relationships was my own inability to have the capacity to value myself. What did I expect? I couldn’t even recognize my worth; it became so evidently weird that I had the audacity to expect someone else to love me when I couldn’t manage to love myself. Relationships aren’t meant to be a point of validation. Expecting someone else to love you when you can’t even love yourself is a lot like having someone blow up a balloon first and letting you have the sloppy saliva seconds.

I’m so glad meditation lady asked me that question and forced me to find an answer. The stories and advice we share with other people are often messages we need to apply to our own lives. From that brief interaction, I had to confront the reality that I sought love from others because I struggled to be happy on my own. Until I can see the value in myself, I know my insecurities will inevitably sabotage any future relationships.

Being in love is one of the most amazing feelings in life. In my opinion, having a true connection with someone who doubles as best friend and lover is an experience well worth the risk of being vulnerable. While the idea of sending another, “just want to make sure you know I’m a Little Person” pre-meeting text makes me sick to my stomach, I look forward to dating again (when I’m ready). Everyone has the capacity to love and be loved. In my opinion, I think it’s wise to learn from mistakes, but at the same time go into new opportunities with an open heart. Like everything else in life worth pursuing, being available to love and be loved takes work and believing in the possibility.

Friday, October 4, 2013

The M-Word

A few weeks ago, I was asked to speak to a class about my experiences as a Little Person. I’m always surprised when people find my life interesting. To me, it’s just, well, life. I’ve known no other body and after 29 years on this earth, living as a Little Person has always been just, living. After addressing that “Little Person” is the politically correct term, someone chimed in and asked if I had heard Bill Burr’s bit about midgets. I hadn’t. He assured me that I would change my view after hearing his perspective.

I didn’t.

It’s annoying when people try to change my mind about this topic after I’ve made it clear it’s not a matter of discussion. “Stop being so sensitive.” “It’s just a word, don’t give power to it.” Don’t tell me how to feel. Unlike most people who were bullied as kids, I don’t have the luxury of shedding my childhood taunts as an adult. People still laugh at me and yell out, “look at that midget!” and laugh with their idiot friends at my expense. When labels like “midget”, “fat ass”, etc. are used; its sole purpose is to alienate a person, not just as a description. Derelicts thrive on putting others down because it satisfies their own voids in life.

The sad truth is that people don’t care about issues that do not directly affect them. We support equality for group A, but screw group B because we don’t give a shit about them! As a person who has experienced cruel behavior throughout my life, I try my best to be compassionate towards everyone. I still have a hard time with blatant assholes, but I try really hard to be understanding of them, too. I still think shitty things, but I have the decency to keep those thoughts to myself. I’ve never called out an asshole for the sake of entertaining my friends. Well, not soberly anyway.

While I understand the value of desensitizing labels, I feel that it only works when everyone is on board. At 29, I can intellectually process that people who call me a midget (after being told it’s not cool) in 2013 are just ignorant jerks. Not everyone has the same stance on derogatory terminology. Some people are deeply opposed while others have built immunity to labels and welcome anything. If you are one of those people who have successfully mastered the “sticks and stones” policy, congratulations! In respect for the rest of us working toward being seen as equal members of society, please keep your revelries to yourself.

It doesn’t matter what the word is, if someone doesn’t like it, it’s just a matter of respect to honor his or her request. If someone were to tell me that he didn’t like to be called a “person”, I’d stop calling him a “person”. I don’t need to understand why, it just is and I’d respect his decision. I’d make sure to try extra hard to remember his name so I never have to refer to him as a “person” ever again.

I understand that it’s hard to learn new words and break old habits. Change can be difficult to accept, especially when our precious go-to jabs are being compromised. I’m embarrassed that I am personally guilty of using the R-word quite a bit in my youth and even throughout adulthood. I was ignorant and didn’t realize it was offensive until recently. I’ve stopped using the R-word and replace it with more appropriate descriptors. It took some effort, but it wasn’t difficult. I’d be a hypocrite if I didn’t try my best to correct my own wrongdoings.

We’re not children anymore. It’s shitty to attempt to make someone feel bad for being different. Don’t offer excuses when people express their discomfort of certain words. It’s a shitty thing to do. Be an adult. Take responsibility and value that opportunity to respect a fellow human being. Life is hard; you are either another problem or a beautiful solution.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Photo By: Douchebag

After a two-month Facebook break, I re-activated my account because I missed keeping up with friends I don’t see often. However, this time, things have changed a bit. I only log-in twice a day and I haven’t downloaded the app on my phone. I ultimately decided to cut down on FB because the plethora of “People of Walmart” posts made me feel gross.

I’m not disgusted by bold fashion choices, but by the hourly reminder that society can be so cruel. At some point, people have lost their sense of integrity and consider it acceptable behavior to snap photos of strangers just to humiliate them. We tell our children to be decent people, but even as adults who should know better, we’re bullies.

For the people who think, “well, they shouldn’t have dressed that way” or “they should get to a gym”, think about this: do you always look your best? We’ve all had those days where it was just too much to snap on a bra or run a brush through our hair. Are we exempt from being posted on websites like this because we look like shit at Target instead of Walmart?

I’ll admit that I don’t like these websites because people have snapped photos of me without my permission many times. It doesn’t matter what I’m wearing, I’ve been the focal point of many camera phones because I’m a Little Person. To some people, I’m weird looking and they just can’t control the urge to share this sighting with someone else. These amateur photographers think they are privileged to having a personal photo of me. It doesn’t matter where I shop, people will still dehumanize me for being me.

In 2009, I went to the Little People of America convention in New York City. It was my first time in New York and I visited all sorts of monuments and had the most amazing pizza in Little Italy. My girlfriend (also a Little Person) and I stopped by the Guggenheim museum and had lunch at its café after viewing the exhibits.

While we were eating our sandwiches, my friend noticed that someone was taking photos of us. At the time, I was stuffing my face with a delicious Panini and without thought, turned around to face the perpetrators in time for them to take another photo. I was disgruntled and my mouth was full of food. Great.

If I had been there alone, I would’ve let it go. People have been rude to me my whole life and it doesn’t really faze me enough to exert energy on ignorant people. However, this time, it was different because someone I cared about was also part of this nonsense. We were both quite upset and I decided to say something.

Most people do shitty things like this because they don’t think they’ll have to face any sort of consequence. Unfortunately for these two people, I just wasn’t in the mood to overlook blatant rudeness while I ate my $18 sandwich.

I walked over to their table and told them that they were rude for taking photos without our permission. They had a few lame excuses and somewhere in the conversation I threatened to take this up with security. Other people in the café were starring and the couple seemed to be quite embarrassed. They eventually agreed to erase the photo. Instead of taking their word for it, I treated them like criminals and forced them to erase them all in my presence. I watched as they deleted each unflattering candid photo. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy this moment. I did.

Unfortunately, I don’t have the time and energy to personally confront all of these people. All I can do at my end is come to terms that some people just don’t get why this is mean. It just is. However, I try to do my part and choose not to “like” or share these photos on FB. I also limit my interaction with people who find this deplorable behavior acceptable. It’s just not a decent thing to do.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Shit Happens: Why I Left LA.

In December 2012, I made an abrupt decision to say goodbye to Los Angeles, a city that had been my home for six years. I didn’t have a plan, but I knew that I’d figure it out once I moved back to my hometown in Honolulu. There were all sorts of reasons that led up to this decision, but the greatest of all was the realization that my dreams of pursuing a career in entertainment had died.

To be honest, my dreams had been dead for several years. I was so stubborn and couldn’t accept that the thing I thought was my purpose in life, well, wasn’t. I became jaded by Hollywood. Nothing was exciting anymore. I’ve met heaps of celebrities, gone to red carpet events and acquired several accolades I never thought was possible. However, at a certain point, all of that shit lost its luster. I found myself staring at a blank corner of my apartment every morning asking myself, “Why do I even bother?”

One of my girlfriends sat me down one day and said she thought I had clinical depression. In response, I told her, “well, my dreams are dead and I don’t know what do with my life, I’d surely have some sort of mental illness if I wasn’t depressed.” We never spoke of it again.

I was one of those very generic cases. I moved to Hollywood right after college to pursue my dream of being… something. Like many fame-hungry hopefuls, I had no plan and no talent. I started my quest at UCLA where I studied screenwriting because I was convinced I would write my own screenplay. As a naïve narcissist, I was completely delusional and thought I was special. It would be only a matter of time until someone figured out I was amazing! Hahahaha!

While every person is indeed unique and wonderful in his or her own right, not everyone has a Lifetime special-worthy story. I soon discovered that I was just a small fish in a HUGE pond of other idiots who also thought they were meant to be anything but ordinary.

For me personally, I know that I’ve struggled a lot with the way people have perceived me. It was frustrating that society couldn’t see beyond my physicality and was sometimes cruel to me. As a person who struggled with adversity, I wanted to live the words of Gandhi and “be the change” I “want to see in the world”. Instead of volunteering at youth facilities or furthering my education in social change, I just wanted to be rich! I also wanted the ignorant people from my past to eat shit for being mean to me.

The truth was that my heart motives were very ugly and far from genuine. I wanted to gain notoriety because I felt so powerless growing up in a society that constantly viewed me as insignificant. I needed therapy, but instead chose to hustle through years of horrible open mic nights and subjecting myself to the worst form of rejection: auditioning.

As with most things that aren’t a good fit, the hustle eventually became laborious and I found myself utterly depleted by my efforts. I didn’t want to accept that everyone was right and I was truly a failure. My dreams had died and I had no one to blame except for myself. After six years of playing the game and tarnishing my name (such an idiot for not establishing a stage name) I decided to call it quits and move back home.

My 22-year-old self would be horrified by my current status in life. I’m 29, unemployed and living with my parents. After months of submitting resumes and being rejected after several interviews, I’m still jobless. Although I’ve been fortunate to maintain a few freelance gigs and manage a fledging online business, it’s still uncomfortable when I get the inevitable look of disappointment when I tell friends/family that “I’m still looking” (i.e. not making enough to move out!).

My first three months back in Honolulu were pretty depressing. I ate a lot of potato chips (had to buy new pants) and caught up on a lot of TV series I had neglected over the years. While it wasn’t the most productive season, I gave myself permission to be sad while I locked myself in my room and submitted to countless jobs and trying to find my place in a city I didn’t really know anymore.

I eventually pulled myself together a bit and started to take care of myself again. I started to shift my focus away from junk food and onto aqua aerobics and meditation. I started learning about mindfulness and worked on applying its principles into my current situation. Instead of seeing this turning point as one of the most disastrous moments of my life, I saw it as an opportunity to move forward.

Over time, I started to see things differently. When shit happens, it doesn’t have to be complete devastation. It just is. Sparing some time to feel the sadness allowed me to confront the situation in a realistic view. The more I reflected, the more I realized what had led up to this point and how I had control to decide how I wanted to interpret it. I had a choice: continue to drown myself in self-pity and potato chips or accept that life had changed and move forward.

People still give me a lot of shit about “giving up” on my dreams. While I may have quit a life in entertainment, I didn’t quit on life. I decided to cut out a part of my life that was no longer working. There is a significant difference between giving up on something that has life and something that no longer has the capacity to grow (DEAD). The act of giving up isn’t just a black and white concept. There are several grey areas. For the most part, people can sense in their gut where they stand within the greyness.

My Mom occasionally asks me if I feel I should’ve come home sooner. I always tell her, “no, I wasn’t ready.” There is always perfect timing to every decision we make. While our personal timelines may not be in alliance to a conventional scale, there is never time wasted.

I know for sure that if I had sent my 22-year-old self a slideshow of all the devastation (and awesomeness) she was about to endure in Los Angeles, she would still go. I’m grateful for my time in LA. I made lifelong friendships, experienced an unconventional lifestyle and gained an education that could never be taught through any textbook. While I’m currently in a less-than-favorable (it can get pretty shitty!) season at the moment (by a conventional gauge), I am so grateful for the beautiful lessons I’ve learned and excited for the ones ahead.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

You suck at parking.

When it comes to dealing with shitty situations, people usually fall under one of two categories: people who empathize and people who make life even shittier. A great example of the latter would be the folks who distribute those “you suck at parking” cards.

Collectively, I think most of us can agree that parking enforcement officers are complete jerks. Those douchebags have gone out of their way distribute tickets we deserved! As elitist Americans, we fume over those violations and project our own carelessness onto people who were just doing their jobs.

I really can’t understand the people who carry around “you suck at parking” cards. Sure, we joke about this sort of douchebaggery, but why is this acceptable behavior? Has it become a social norm to chastise people we don’t know based on a first impression? To me, it’s quite disgusting.

I’ll admit that I get annoyed when people take up two stalls, etc. It’s not nice, but not against the law. While a minor inconvenience, is it really the end of the world to find another spot? Was it really necessary to find that stack of cards (that you spent your own money on!), get out of your car and let that person know he/she sucks at parking? If it was indeed completely necessary, you suck at being a decent human being.

There are always two sides to every story and the truth is invariably somewhere in the middle. Getting all riled up over something trivial has never served me well. I don’t feel better; anger just occupies a space that would otherwise be filled with something more productive.

When I find myself annoyed at someone I don’t know (and this happens a lot), I always make up some sort of backstory to justify shitty behavior. My go-to scenario involves the subject matter of a bad case of diarrhea. I feel like having the runs is a very universally awful feeling. If you’ve never experienced this level of life-and-death urgency, don’t worry, you will. If this happens to be you, you lucky soul, Google it now so you know what to expect.

It’s a really simple exercise of empathy. The next time you see someone who has “ruined” your day (you dramatic douche) by parking like a fool, find some solace knowing that person probably had a bad case of the shits. For anyone who has every experienced an unkind reaction to an exotic meal at a C-grade restaurant, you will know this feeling well. There’s no need to make his/her day even shitter, he/she just couldn’t spare an extra 30 seconds. Be understanding of their plight and be grateful you aren’t currently in a shit-inspired quest to find the nearest restroom. Life is good!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Rejection is underrated.

My Dad called this morning and told me about a comedy show going on tonight at O’Toole’s in Downtown Honolulu. He was reading an article about Comedian Nancy Lee and thought I’d be interested in checking out the show. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Nancy Lee (who is hilarious) a few years ago and looked up the show’s details through Facebook. It turned out that she’s in Honolulu via Los Angeles to promote an upcoming film called, “The Wedding Palace” debuting on September 27th.

I clicked on the trailer’s YouTube link and laughed as I watched what appears to be a very funny film about Koreans and how they crazy-up EVERYTHING (business as usual). Then, my heart skipped a few beats when the story shifted from silly romantic comedy to an arc involving Na-Young, a Little Person who was about to marry into a very traditional (& unaccepting) Korean family. Whoa, whoa, what?!

Then, I started crying as I thought about a similar experience I had years ago. My heart sank. A funny YouTube video momentarily shattered my morning and I was in tears.

After a 10-minute ugly cry, I composed myself and felt silly, yet concerned that I still had a lot of unresolved issues from a very painful season of my life. The first person I’ve ever loved (& seriously considered marrying) ended our relationship because his Korean Mom told him I was not a suitable partner for him. She had never met me, but like many Korean people, she felt I wasn’t worthy based on how I ranked in a conventional way.

It wasn’t just his Mom. His Mom was so intent on getting rid of me that she called his Grandma to also chime in on her Anti-Little Person campaign. Her efforts worked as he eventually told me that his family trumped his relationship with me.

I was heartbroken, but I eventually came to appreciate that he had the decency to let me go when he knew he didn’t have the capacity to be fully committed to me. Letting me go was the best thing he had ever done. I honestly have no ill feelings toward him or his family. The way I see it, he was in a horrible predicament and chose the path that best suited everyone involved.

At the time, I felt so inadequate. I thought I’d always have to deal with not being accepted and I almost started up a dating website called “DateAnOrphan.com” because I feared what seemed to be an inevitable obstacle in any future relationship. Heartbreak makes a person a bit crazy, but a part of me still thinks it wasn’t such a bad concept.

My parents actually had a very similar problem when they were about to get married. My Dad is Japanese and my Mom is Korean. I’ve been told many times that my ethnic heritage is “weird” because Japan and Korea were once feuding countries. Like most situations where I’m faced with an ignorant person, I just smile and abruptly walk away. I’m not one to explain myself to strangers, so I don’t.

My Mom told me that my Dad’s family didn’t like her because she’s Korean. She felt very unaccepted, but luckily, my Dad was a real man and married her in spite of his family’s ignorance at the time. While they had a few hiccups in the beginning of their marriage, my Dad’s family eventually warmed up to my Mom and now being Korean isn’t an issue.

My Dad is a great man. He is a beautiful example of what it truly means to be a husband. No matter how much opposition he faced from his family, he had the good sense to understand that their perspective had nothing to do with how he felt about my Mom. My Mom, in turn, endured the unplesantries because she had the foresight to understand their prejudice would either be temporary or not matter.

People have all sorts of reasons to feel resistant toward unfamiliar human traits. Just about ANYTHING could cause an aversion to a particular person: race, sexual orientation, disability, political beliefs, etc. It’s all pretty silly. The inability to accept unfamiliar people is just a testament to one’s own inner smallness. Everyone has the capacity to branch out and accept people, but most choose not to stretch beyond what is comfortable.

At the present moment, I don’t know how I feel about marriage. Truthfully, I think weddings are silly. Back when women were sold into marriage, I could see why a girl would want to spend her last day of freedom being fawned over like a princess. I get that. In 2013, why is it necessary to spend thousands of dollars on one day? Isn’t it enough to have found your best friend? To me, pairing up with someone who loves you just as you are is as abundant as it gets in life.

The only reason I’d consider marrying someone is because a spouse is legally allowed to be by his/her partner’s side no matter what happens. When I think of “true love,” it involves being by a person’s side through the good as well as the bad. Coordinating colors and bickering over flatware is easy. Standing by a partner through life’s inevitable ebbs and flows is what it means to be committed.

I now look at being dumped from a different perspective. It’s not just about being rejected, but identifying that a relationship is no longer growing. If someone isn’t investing when things are fine and dandy, he/she surely won’t be there when shit gets real. If someone wants out, let him/her go.

Friday, May 3, 2013

It was my Sadness, Not Me.

When people in healthy relationships offer me advice, they’ll usually mention that “no one is perfect” somewhere in their story. People in unhealthy relationships will also claim that they’ve stayed because, “no one is perfect.” Okay, I get it, no one is perfect, but how do you know when to walk away?

Being heartbroken was one of the most painful seasons in my life. I’ve been through physically painful experiences, but nothing could even compare to the gutted feeling of being left behind. There are two very different people involved in every break up, the one who wanted out and the one who got dumped. This is a reflection of when I got thrown away. Too dramatic? It’s always a Taylor Swift song on repeat in the mind of Scenario B: the girl (or guy) who got tossed back into singledom.

It’s been nearly three years since I experienced the rock bottom of my first real heartbreak. These days, I laugh when I hear Taylor Swift’s “Back to December”. It was the song that I kept on loop while I sat at my dining table sobbing, wishing that my ex would regret the day he left me. It got so bad that my neighbor would pound on my paper-thin wall and scream, “That’s enough!”

It was never enough. I would just pop in my ear buds and continue crying sans pants on the floor next to a thicker wall. Looking back, my sadness didn’t have much to do with my ex, but rather the emptiness I mistakenly thought he left behind. In reality, I was finally confronted with the voids I’ve always had, but used relationships to fill.

He was my best friend. He made me laugh and we got along well. He didn’t steal money from me or try to prostitute me. He was much better than the usual scum I dated and I thought “better” meant he was destined to be the one. I was wrong. We both used each other. He wanted casual intimacy and I wanted someone to make me feel pretty. For men, sex requires very little intimacy. If I wasn’t in the picture, I’m sure his sock drawer would’ve provided an equally suitable candidate. “Better than before” is hardly a title to translate to “forever”.

We inevitably parted ways because he found someone he actually wanted as his girlfriend. I was gutted. Instead of seeing him as a selfish jerk that led me on for months, I could only focus on my own inadequacies. I stalked his FB page like a maniac and constantly compared myself to his girlfriend. After much deliberation in the confines of my own broken-hearted insanity, I concluded that I was a hideous beast!

The sadness acquired during a breakup has a hallucinogenic tendency. No matter how many times I tried to be positive, I had a horrible habit of focusing on everything I lacked. “I’m not pretty enough.” “It was probably because of my walker.” “I don’t blame him for not wanting his family to know about me.” “Of course he could do better than me, I suck at life.” “Was it was because he felt judged by my reaction in regards to the finger-in-the-butthole request?”

It was my fault. I’m a horrible, selfish bitch and I don’t deserve love!

Now that I’ve had time to heal from the sadness, I’m utterly embarrassed of my behavior. I’m forever indebted to my friends who allowed me to soak their sweaters with tears as I verbally shitted all over myself. I never believed them when they tried to affirm that I was indeed (insert anything pleasant here) and would find love again. To me, they were all horrible liars! Now, I realize that the hallucinogenic power of sadness heavily influenced everything I felt and said.

Time eventually healed my emotional wounds. Well, time plus the work it took me to fill my voids with a more truthful sense of myself. My sadness was wrong. I wasn’t a complete shit who didn’t deserve love. I just needed to figure out why I had such a negative self-image and why I only looked to relationships for validation.

I am particular humiliated that I begged my ex to give me another chance. As he packed his things, I remember holding onto his arm pulling all of my weight in the direction opposite of the door. I pleaded with him to stay with me because I couldn’t take the pain of losing him. I ugly-cried like a lunatic as he picked up his belongings and walked out of my life.

It was so silly to beg him. What did I really think would happen? His affections for me had obviously disappeared and at that point, he’d just be with me out of pity. I’m so grateful he walked away. Had he felt an ounce of sympathy for me, he would’ve continued to live a double life and I would’ve accepted it. At the time, I didn’t mind living in a delusional bubble as long as it protected me from the reality that I didn’t know how to love myself.

At the moment, I still have loads of issues. I have a better sense of self, but I still notice several insecurities when I get involved in a new relationship. I actively try to separate myself from my fears, but it’s a work in progress. I’ve since dated a few people and each person was an improvement from the last. The true delight of dating is allowing yourself to discover great qualities you never realized you wanted. It’s also a great way to come to terms with characteristics that you definitely DO NOT need in a partner.

Since my first break up, I’ve improved in many ways. I no longer feel an intense pressure to be in a relationship. While it would be nice, I don’t want to settle for someone who isn’t ready to invest in the relationship. Like over-indulging on an entire package of Oreos, I just can’t binge on any more garbage. I don’t just want a relationship for the sake of having one. I want a partner. Someday… when the time is right.

No one is perfect, but the right person will move mountains. He/she won’t just use you as a hiatus until he finds someone better. I think that’s the difference.