Single

Insecure: Part 1

Walking around the streets of Toronto in a bikini isn’t something I ever thought I would do (I didn’t even like going to the pool in a bikini). But, that’s exactly what I did this past weekend. Actually, when I think about it, there are quite a few things I never thought I would do and plenty of experiences I would frequently hold myself back from due to twenty-something years of being ridiculously insecure.

Insecurity is an interesting thing in the sense that it can take on completely different extremes from person to person. Even the most confident people are insecure about something, and sometimes it’s hard to identify the most insecure people of those among us. I know I definitely faked it. So, when I tell people just how bad I felt for years, they think I’m exaggerating. But, it’s true. What was going on in my head wasn’t anywhere close to the girl I was portraying every day, and if insecurity was indeed measurable, my readings would have been off the charts. I’m talking major records broken here people! In fact, thinking back (I cannot believe that I am writing this and putting it on the internet), I can’t think of a single thing I liked about myself. Not one. I won’t go into detail at this moment (which is why I will go ahead and determine this to be Part 1 of quite a few posts), but being uncomfortable with my body type quickly grew into a mindset I just couldn’t shake. 

Now, before you read anymore, you have to understand a few points, that (1) insecurity isn’t necessarily logical, (2) when it’s allowed to grow unchecked it will consume every aspect of your life, and (3) when you can’t find the validation you’re looking for in yourself, you will go somewhere else to get it. The third point is why you’re reading this today.

I don’t look much different than I did a couple of years ago (the change was completely in my mindset), but back then I hated what I saw in the mirror. Just the thought of showing off my legs/chest was still very stressful for me. In fact, I would often tell myself no guy would pick me if they ever had a choice. However, despite how unattractive I felt, I found my validation in “situationships” (I use this word because I’ve only had one actual boyfriend in my 25 years of life). That makes no sense at all, right? Well, refer to my first point in the paragraph above. 

In these “situationships”, I often found myself tolerating all kinds of lies and disrespect from guys I shouldn’t have been dealing with in the first place, but out of fear of the inability to find something better, I was left trying to fix things that weren’t worth my time. Even when I encountered a good guy, my own jealousy, doubts, and anxiety would tear the situation apart from the start (yes, women can hurt men… we can talk about this later, Part 1 remember?). Either way, as someone who didn’t love herself, I had no business trying to create love with someone else. It was selfish. There’s really no other word for it… How else would you describe an empty vessel hoping to get full from someone else’s supply?

I write all of this to say that I think this is the freedom I enjoy most now that the weight of all of the insecurity is off of me. Actually, I know it is. The freedom from validation. Sure, it’s nice to love my body, talents, and super-weird-introverted-nerd personality, but it’s even nicer not having to go to someone else to help me do that. For the first time I’m truly “single”, and I don’t feel empty or lost. For the first time I’m not franticly trying to fill a void with anyone who gives me attention. For the first time I’m not pretending to be someone that I’m not.

It’s hard to describe and may even sound dumb to you, but I wake up and the sun shines brighter than I’ve ever seen it. I’m happy. I look in the mirror, still happy. I pick up my (dry) phone, still happy… 

-Loni

Loveli Valentine

Everyone wants to enjoy Valentine’s Day, but it’s fair to say that for a decent portion of the population, this day sucks. Unless you’re in a relationship, the holiday isn’t always full of romance and bliss. Instead, it feels more like a day to reflect on everything that you are missing. I can’t speak for the single men who are (more than likely) joyously enjoying their lack of V-Day responsibilities, but often single women spend the day avoiding cute posts on social media, watching The Notebook and/or eating their weight in chocolate. On a day where couples are tasked with creatively condensing all their love into 24 hours of pure magic, it seems like there’s no love left for you.

For me, Valentine’s Day was the most fun in elementary school. Why? Because no one was left out. It didn’t matter if you were a nerd or ugly or super shy, everyone got a Valentine. In middle school things started to get a little too competitive. At my school there was a tradition to send mini boxes of Krispy Kreme doughnuts to all of your Valentines and they would be delivered in their home room on the 14th. Needless to say, if you didn’t get any doughnuts, you felt some major V-Day shame. High school was rather uneventful for me during this time of year, but someone did attempt to be my Valentine once. My Dad called me to the door because “some boy” had candy for me… And, if you know my Dad you can be sure that this exchange of candy at my front door was the extent of that attempt. 

Since then, I’ve never had a Valentine (with the exception of my Dad, Brother, or Grandparents of course), and every year I would get myself down in the dumps about it. I was either very single or in that awkward middle ground of “talking” that our generation loved so much in college which meant I would spend the holiday alone. One particular year I thought I would have my first real Valentine (despite the fact that we weren’t official) and boy did that backfire. Thinking that I would have grand V-Day plans only to discover nothing would actually happen was about a thousand times worse than just sitting on the sidelines the years prior… Somewhere between that experience and now is when I decided to try to put some of my own love into Valentine’s Day.

For those who don’t have anyone to celebrate with, yes, this holiday can be absolutely terrible, but it doesn’t have to be. There’s plenty of love in your life to celebrate even if it isn’t manifested in a breathtaking date with Mr. Right. Celebrate your love for your family, your friends, your pet fish, but most importantly yourself. 

It’s not easy. From one serial single Valentiner to another, I know. But, my Loveli Valentines, our time will come. Until then, embrace the holiday. Show love for all of the things that you love in your life, make someone smile, and think positive thoughts. But, if you’re not ready to embrace the 14th… Pretend it’s a normal Tuesday and resist the urge to text your Ex. 

…But actually, you will regret it later, so just put your phone down now.

– Loni