I set out to do this thing some months ago. Something I’d only ever considered in passing. I was too busy living life to commit to a thing like that. But every time I tried to brush away the thought like a careless flick of the hand (as if to say “pff, go on”) it would come right back to me. And so I decided. I would do this thing. I would commit 6 months of my life to focusing on me.
NO dating. NO hookups. NO flirting. NO entertaining in ANY way.
And I entered in without a plan. Which is basically the antithesis of everything that I am. I was afraid that if I gave it too much thought, I’d talk myself out of it. Buuuuut the problem with not having a plan is, when things get muddled, when you want to back out, when you can’t remember why you started… you have nothing to refer to. So things got muddled… and I wanted to back out… and I couldn’t remember why, how I got to this point in the first place.
Right. Right. Right.
So, let’s rewind to like, 2 years ago.
Actually, no. Let’s go back like, 4 years ago.
I won’t rehash the entire situation, it isn’t necessary to go into detail about what was happening around me. Rather, it’s what was happening IN me that matters here. I had spent an entire lifetime living up to everyone else’s dream. I was like a perfect little puppet… except no one needed to move the strings. I was perfectly capable of running their show on my own.
Except it was getting more and more challenging to run makeup and production and lights and direct and ACT with a 1 year old. I couldn’t hold the dream together anymore. I was exhausted and heartbroken and defeated. On my own.
And I wasn’t alone. Not technically. But that one-man-show stopped feeling like my idea (as so many had convinced me) and I was angry. I began to look back at a life that so many saw as ideal and see the cracks. I began to long for things that I’d never had and never knew I’d needed. The simplest things. Intangible, priceless things.
And those very things that I needed to give me life, began to eat away at the thin, chipping facade that I’d been holding up for show after show. And while life continued on, I began to resent myself for the choices that no one forced me to make. I could blame the audience for clapping and throwing roses and asking for autographs, but I put the show on. I was there for it. I ate it up. Until it tasted like poison.
Once you face that truth. The reality that you have to own your shit. You can’t go back to the lie. But where else could I go? I’d made a promise. No REAL sins had been committed against me. So I stayed and ate poison with a smile on my face. Sweet, faithful Megan… silently cursing the sickening smiles that were reflected back.
Until 2 years passed and I was released from my contract. Like a miracle. Or a curse, depending who’s telling the story. I was released back into the world. Without a plan.
So the plan became: Do you. Do as much of you as you can do… and then do some more. And I did. Oh, I did me, alright. I broke me. And broke me some more. I had no boundaries or rules or rhyme or reason for anything I did relationally. Because I’d done that and hated it.
As time wore on though, I started to recognize that the problem didn’t begin in my marriage. Oh no. It began way back when I was little Meg. When perfectionism meant giving small bits of myself away in insignificant doses so that I could fit a mold. So I could do what was good and right to everyone else… so that they’d love me.
So fast forward.
The beginning of this year was, duh, a shitshow. A dumpster fire. Throw it away, let’s start OVER. But we couldn’t. It just kept going. And getting worse. And we were all stuck inside. With ourselves. And our children (God BLESS you parents). Where could we run, but toward the issues that could no longer be masked. No matter how anonymous we felt when we left the house, face covered, social distancing. It was there waiting when we returned.
Those first few months of the pandemic were ::WOO::, Jesus. They were rough. Ngl.
But something really soft and new began to reveal itself within me. I hadn’t wasted those years of my 20s, into my 30s. Those years were good. Those years were growth and acknowledgment of a power, so great, within me. I’d spent nearly a year after my marriage trying to find myself and I had been there all along. I didn’t have to scrap the whole show. So much of it was based on a true story.
Those years revealed tenacity and loyalty and patience and true, unconditional love. Because love isn’t a feeling. Maybe that initial “falling in love” is a feeling, but that shit wears off. And who are you then? Do you still choose to love? Do you still choose to support? Do you still choose to stay? Every. Single. Day?
And I don’t regret it.
I’m capable, even now, of offering that kind of love. And... I believe that that kind of love exists for me.
I was NEVER perfect. The best thing I took from that was the ability to see my own mistakes and choose to be different. But at my core, I realized, I’m solid. And I want/ed someone to match my solid.
Getting there has been the hard part. I didn’t know how to get those intangible things I’d been longing for. Two very simple things, really.
That’s where the 6 months came in. I needed to find my center and operate from that space to attract those qualities.
But at the start of the thing, I hadn’t worked that out. I thought I just needed to hit ‘DELETE’ on every man who was even mildly interested up to that point and go on a “man cleanse.” Very quickly, I realized that it wasn’t just men whom I’d lacked boundaries and rules with, it was ALL of my relationships. I was carelessly offering the best parts of me, indefinitely, to people who never deserved me.
And that was hard to swallow. Because again, that was my bad. Who could I blame for that? Once you start to heal, you can reference and respond to your past hurts, but you can’t continue to react to/from them.
Boundaries keep those reactions to a minimum. You lay out your expectations and fortify them when there’s confusion. No one can trigger you if you’ve established your position and decided to maintain control over yourself. Which is the ONLY thing you can control.
Definitely easier said than done.
I didn’t start on this journey the way that I should have (with a plan and a goal) but I think it affirmed the belief that I wasn’t so far off track. I wasn’t grappling with all of life… just some of it. I still am, I think.
Aren’t we all?
I’m learning some hard truths about myself. I’m recognizing flaws in the foundation of my worldview on relationships.
I love hard.
My love is loyal and unconditional. But I’m also learning to navigate it. I’m learning how to recognize that love coming from someone else and when it’s not love at all. Love doesn’t obligate a person. It’s selfless and honest and speaks for itself, it does not tether or restrict. I want my love to look and feel like that.
Loving myself feels like that.
When you love yourself, you see things differently. You no longer see the stage you set up and the show you created. You no longer need to direct or control. You get to play yourself… and let everyone else play the role they auditioned for.