Choosing Yourself

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Dear Reader,

Today I find myself in a mountain brewery, a glass of lemongrass ginger cider to my left and a boisterous crowd of people to my right. However, the crowd to my right does not belong to me. Quite the contrary in fact, I sit alone at the bar, without conversation or companionship, writing away, just as I planned.

Years ago, stepping foot into this brewery alone would have left me feeling lonely, longing for someone to love me, and full of anxiety and fear of judgement.

After years of wandering solo, of anchoring into my autonomy and company, and developing a deep and honest love for myself I find great joy in sitting here, surrounded by people, but still very much alone.

In fact, I look forward to a weekend of solo time, of garden watering, dandelion pulling, succulent planting, a weekend of singing and dancing, taco eating and cider drinking, picture painting, uke practicing and word writing. I look forward to diving into these activities solo.

While I take great joy in being alone, I will undoubtedly have moments throughout my days of longing for a hug, of wishing for someone to reassure a worry, and perhaps for another to laugh with me under the Spring sun.

In these moments of fleeting loneliness I will remind myself of a poem I once wrote:

Sage reminds me

of a man

I once loved.

Sheets strewn,

windows clouded,

breath easy,

and catching,

all at once.

Hours escaping,

lost in the folds

of our skin.

Now my hours are,

all mine.

My breath still catches,

when I smell him

on clouds of sage,

when I long for arms,

wrapped tightly,

around my body.

But these moments are rare now.

My breath catches more often,

when bird calls fill my ears,

and warm air,

hot like breath,

kisses the sweat

off my neck,

as evening bugs

dance to the music

of my echoing voice.

In these moments,

my feet beg me to move,

deeper into the moment,

into the field before me,

into the wild freedom.

And with my blessing,

they take off running.

They do not belong,

wrapped around another,

encased in sheets,

held down by weight

not belonging to them.

They belong to the world,

to me,

to freedom,

and joy.

The journey of choosing myself, of choosing autonomy and turning away from romance has not been easy, it has been fraught with second guessing, with loss of tender love, and with many moments of loneliness. But in these moments I take the time to listen to myself, to ask myself what truly makes me feel loved, fulfilled, valued and seen. And often I can give myself the answers to these questions. I am able to learn the needs I can fill and those I need help filling. I am able to truly see and understand the complex, strong, unique and beautiful individual I am.

Choosing myself has meant turning away love from others, but it has also meant welcoming in unmatched love from myself. And as I learn how to choose myself, I learn how to carry self-care, self-love and the ability to truly listen to my needs into a romantic partnership somewhere down the line.

But for now, you can find me dancing in fields, pounding keyboard keys and smiling as crowds of people erupt into laughter from the corner of the bar.

May you all choose yourself first, whether you’re in partnership or not, you are your one true life partner.

Sending big hugs,