Who looks back at old pictures of themselves and cringes?
If the secret to being happy is living in the present moment and not in the past or future, then Facebook really needs to stop showing me what happened on this day five years ago. But I guess Zuckerberg has bigger fish to fry right now.
It’s rarely at the way I used to look (well maybe my eyebrows), but I cringed this week when I saw an old photo of myself from a time when I was in a very unhappy place. It was taken at the lovely waterfront spot of Doyles Restaurant at Watson’s Bay by an ex-boyfriend. You might look at the photo and think I look peaceful, but I know myself, and I see deep sadness in my eyes.
Sometimes I think I miss my twenties: The energy to party all night and back it up at work the next day, the beautifully plump skin on my face, and spending money on oversees holidays without worrying about adult responsibilities. But I was lost. It was a good decade of being on a quest. A quest to figure out who the hell I was and what I deserved.
I’ve had two very toxic relationships. I know which one my family and friends probably think was my unhealthiest relationship (the one I liken to a case of Stockholm Syndrome). But for me it was the last relationship. Due mainly to the fact that I was nearly thirty when it began, and I thought I had taken all the steps to get myself into a healthy place, only to be sweet talked into the most soul destroying two years of my life. With a man who was too busy with his own ego to realise that there were two of us in the relationship. I won’t go into detail in this article (let’s save all the juicy details for a blog about narcissists).
This week, I want to focus on the overwhelming feeling of living with a man who makes you hear concertos in your head every time you think of him. A man who doesn’t talk himself up. A man who under promises and over delivers. A man who has my back, every second of every day.
Throw your vomit bags away, I’m not going to start gushing about the romance and how gorgeous he is (hot AF). I want to tell all the girls out there who remind me of my former self, that love isn’t actually that complicated at all. Sure, in the beginning there is a major teething process. You have to learn a lot about your partner, and they about you. There is a lot of compromise and understanding of each other’s values to ensure that you’re not compromising yours or his unwittingly.
Love is not possession. Love is not Facebook profiles pictures. And the lesson that took me far too long to learn is that love does not make you live in fear or a constant state of anxiety.
Being with my partner is the easiest thing in the world. It is effortless. I don’t for a second wish that it happened sooner either. For without the downfalls, I wouldn’t have had such a deep appreciation for the state I am in now. Failure is the condiment that gives success it’s failure.
A lovely old friend named Carly once told me that you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince. Boy was she right. Just be careful ladies, the frogs aren’t always green and will usually tell you that they are indeed your Prince Charming whilst having a drinking problem, a gambling problem and a secret online dating profile.
Makes you wonder doesn’t it? Maybe I was never really lost, maybe I was too busy being a compass for lost boys.
In a week where another Kardashian has been cheated on (no I do not follow any K girl on social media, but according to the internet, this was front page news) you have to ask yourself; what’s your currency?
Some girls seem determined to pick a mate based on status and income. I had a friend who used to select guys based on what car they were driving. When I met my man, he had a motorbike and an Opal Card…and I’ve never smiled this much in my whole life.
My currency always has been and always will be; love and happiness (Mazel Tov if you found a rich guy with a good heart). And upon assessing all of the relationships in my life today; I feel as rich as Gina Rinehart.
There’s a great little quote that says: Be with a guy who ruins your lipstick not your mascara. I switched over to waterproof mascara in my previous relationship because every night-out ended in tears and usually me catching a cab home to my parents’ house instead of going home with him. I still use waterproof mascara today because it makes my eyes pop! But the only tears that ruin my make up are due to laughing so hard that I ended up rolling around on the floor like a Looney Tunes character.
It’s ironic how being loved by the right people can make you feel so free.
I never gave up on finding the right man after a few false starts. After the last break-up, I took a good ten months to be by myself. Re-visit all the things I love like reading, writing, singing, dance classes and spending time with my girls. I knew that once I valued myself enough, the right mate would come along.
Of-course every relationship I have been in started with love and I do hope that they are very happy now and most importantly, treating their current partners with the love and respect they deserve (hey I put a lot of work in, someone should benefit).
For anyone out there struggling in an unhealthy relationship, I leave you with a line that I used to repeat on the daily, to remind myself that the distressed state I was in, wasn’t my final destination:
I’m a sundial in the shade; I’m not broken, I’m just in the wrong place.