How I let go of the “single-girl” stereotype to make space for my first real relationship.
I have a guru.
As anyone on a path of self-exploration and growth should.
About 3 years ago, I started to write a blog. It was candidly titled “The Perpetual Bachelorette,” and it’s purpose was to share my experiences with internet dating. I was going on 32 years of consecutive single-dom. The behind-the-scenes purpose was to prove to my happily coupled up friends that they really needed to stop saying, “Have you tried internet dating? I heard a lot of people meet that way!” I wrote for over a year and it was about that time that I went to meet with my guru, Jimmy. I had been so excited about this blog. The fact that I was writing and getting good feedback. That I found a creative outlet for my ‘unfortunate’ state of still being single in my 30’s. And, if I do say so myself, thought it was entertaining if nothing else. I couldn’t wait to talk to him about it.
This is the part we insert that moment when your guru tells you to stop what you’re doing immediately. I’m sure it wasn’t quite as harsh as I remember. He said something along the lines of, “Puddin, I love what you’re doing, but if you keep putting ‘I’m going to be single forever’ out into the universe, that’s exactly what the universe is going to deliver. Don’t write one more word under that title.” I tried to argue my point that it was just supposed to be funny, that of course I didn’t actually want to be single forever, etc etc. And then I realized he was right. And I stopped posting immediately. I told myself it was only until I could come up with something better. Which took 3 years.
So I stopped writing. And dating. And started reading books like The Secret, Before Happiness, The Untethered Soul, and everything ever written by Brene Brown. I dove headfirst into finishing my Masters degree and becoming a psychotherapist. I started seeing clients and doing more listening than talking. I had to let go of supposed-to’s.
One question that I still haven’t been able to really answer: how do you let go? As a therapist who also happens to practice a lot of yoga, I hear and say this phrase daily. “Just let it go.” But what does that actually mean? And how do you do it? As a final farewell to TPB, I’ll leave you with one last story. In the midst of all the transition I went through; internships, trying to get a job, working 5 different places part time – I met someone. I saw and felt something with this person I hadn’t experienced in years. Without realizing it, I put every last hope I had into this situation. And it turned out that I thought it was more than it was. I made excuses for him where he didn’t deserve them. I lied to myself about what was really going on. I wanted so badly to believe this was it. And then it wasn’t.
Once again, the weight of my perpetual-singleness was heavier than ever on my shoulders. I cried a lot. And annoyed my friends a lot. And then something happened that I still can’t fully explain. I let go. But for real this time. It wasn’t just that I said it. There wasn’t something I specifically did to make it happen. It was a moment, a click, a release, a new idea. An acceptance of the fact that maybe a relationship wasn’t something I was supposed to have, and that my life was still fulfilled without it. It wasn’t meant to be in the cards for me, and that could be OK. Even though I’d said this a hundred times before and thought I was “doing it” for so long, one day it just became true. It was a freedom I didn’t know existed.
About 2 weeks later, I stepped into an elevator on my way up to my new private practice office, and a guy that had a strange sense of familiarity stepped in shortly after. And we’ve been inseparable ever since.
There is a quote by Joseph Campbell that says:
“We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us.”
I still can’t give you a step-by-step guide to make that happen. But I know it has a lot to do with working on yourself and creating a life that gives you joy, fulfillment, peace, or contentment. And those Buddhists are on to something with their practice of non-attachment. I very much believe in the power of guru’s and psychotherapists as guides. But sometimes the best therapy is letting go of trying to analyze and figure it out, and just experiencing. Sometimes the best therapy life has to offer happens “off the couch.” If you’d like to continue to follow me on my quest to answer the letting-go question, and a handful of others, you can continue to follow my blog here, or the social media links above.