I’ve been on my own since last May. Ask my best friends, and they’ll say that’s a lie. I think it’s very true. I have not been in a relationship in a year, and SO I’ve (technically) been on my own. Ask my friends again, and they’ll say a year is no time, and that I need to give it (this is really what they’ve said to me) 3-5 years! I’ll admit, I get their point. And there’s a part of me that wouldn’t mind knowing what that’s like. I think it’s important to spend time with yourself. I think it’s important to take your time in love, and I think it’s important not to jump out of one thing and right into another. I really, really do believe all those things. Swear!
And in my mind, I’ve been practicing all of them. In my friends’ minds, though, I guess I expedite the process. I can see where they’re coming from. If I were to get into a relationship right now, it would seem as though I moved on rather quickly. Taking 3-5 years seems more sensible. I get it. I do.
Then, there’s my brothers. They are all together on a different mission. I think they’d like to just arrange my next marriage (if there is to be one). I think they feel as though they somehow allowed me to get into bad relationships by not being “protective” enough. LOL. Those brotherly instincts have kicked into high gear, and I kinda feel bad for the next guy they meet.
Everyone is (understandably) concerned about me. It means a whole lot to me that they care.
Truth is: My failed relationships are no one’s fault. They’re not even something I blame myself OR my partners for. They’re just failed relationships. They just didn’t work. The people involved were not bad people. You know?
But like, seriously tho, what is life? I mean, what formula is there? How do we measure the value of our existence?
If I measured it by my mistakes, it wouldn’t be very valuable at all. But when I measure it by the times I survived those mistakes, got up from falling, or kept going when I could’ve quit? My life is of great worth. Great meaning. Great purpose. And that! That makes me look at the mistakes differently all together. They no longer feel like mistakes, but rather lessons. Lessons that have made me better. Lessons that will help me fulfill my life’s purpose.
To put it into perspective: I don’t know that I’d be the same Brandie (freely, as I am), if I hadn’t lived the life I lived (especially from 22 years old to 30). I will be able to draw from those experiences continuously like a bottomless well of inspiration for the rest of my life. That erases any type of regret. Do you understand?
You can’t carry regret around with you, man. You just can’t. There’s no room for it. If you’re holding on to old things, how will you grab a hold of the new?
Tell you what. Let's do this together. (I've done it before and clearly need to do it again.):
Work on forgiving yourself, first. Because you can’t drop it until you let go of the hope that the past could’ve been any different OR that you should’ve done anything other than what you did. It’s done. It’s done! And it’s over. So. Be okay with that. And do everything you can to let go and let it really be over.
What does this have to do with being a hopeless romantic? Well… nothing and everything.
What I’m doing is giving myself permission to open up again. Reminding myself that there was no way I could’ve known how things would turn out in my relationships. I couldn’t have known that hearts would be broken, or that promises wouldn’t stand. I couldn’t have known any of that. There was no decision made that didn’t (in the moment) feel absolutely right. I followed my mind in the first marriage and more of my heart in the second. Neither worked. I have spent time over analyzing what I could’ve done differently in the past and how I should then approach the future. The thing is though, I have to continue to practice believing that everything is and has been exactly as it should be.
Because I don’t want to continue walking around being jaded by what happened. I’ve been so afraid of opening up. SO afraid.
Quick Story: Since about October I’ve been dating, right? Well, there was this one guy, Long Beach we’ll call him, who I was just SO very fond of. He was handsome, stylish, super intelligent, cultured, well read, successful in his career, charming, charismatic, old fashioned (in the sexiest way –omg. sorry, but it had to be said), he loved God (major points), loved his mama, and as if all that wasn’t enough, he was a music and vinyl enthusiast, a Martin fanatic AND… get this... He was an artist. And I mean, his work was completely, just amazing! It was abstract and thought provoking. If I described the scene when he sketches or paints in the mornings, you’d want to know his name and number. Seriously. Anyway, at some point I began to be really interested in him. It terrified me. I was petrified of my feelings for him, because if I had feelings for him then he had the power to hurt them. You know what I mean? I couldn’t handle that. I couldn’t get my already hurt feelings hurt again… And so, I pressured him to confirm his feelings for me. That way I could relax and allow myself to feel the way I did. I was a crazy person. I was trying to control things in an effort to protect myself. That’s no way to be. As fate would have it, he wasn’t ready to confirm his feelings, and I wasn’t ready to accept that. I wasn’t going to put my heart on the line. And so for both good reason and no reason at all, our 'thing' ended. My actions were driven by fear. Period.
And so, I don’t want to continue doing that. I just want to be completely open to… whatever. You know? We don’t know what can come of something/anything until a thing comes of it. You understand? If we hold back, if we’re guarded, jaded, or refuse to let go of past hurts we won’t get to experience what beautiful newness could’ve been placed in our hands, because our hands are clenching too tightly to the old.
Let go (of whatever you’re clenching).
I am. I’m just gonna work really hard at letting go of this fear of being let down. Of promises not standing. Of being hurt. The fear of that anxiety that sat in the pit of my stomach for months while my marriage was ending. The sickness and weight loss that came with it. The idea that I made a mistake in choosing him. The idea that it could’ve turned out any differently. I’m letting all that go. For good.
You know why? It’s simple.
Because I’m a hopeless romantic. I just am. And that is something my friends know for sure. My mama REALLY knows it. When I say I'm just dating and taking my time, she always says, "Girl, I give you a year before you're married again." I don't know about marriage, but it’s literally a part of my makeup. I love love.
And you know what else? I don’t wanna be by myself for 3-5 years. I don’t want that! Who wants that?!
I want to love and be loved again.
And that’s it. That's that.