a person presenting flowers to a mirror image of themself

Not Your Typical Love Story

A few months back, I wrote about how dating is complicated and how, in the middle of a pandemic, I didn’t know what the world of dating would look like when it ended. None of that has changed, but a lot of other things have changed. So much of our world - including the complicated world of dating - has been put on pause.

Recognizing my privilege

I doubt I’m the only one who will walk away from 2020 forever changed. For the good or the bad, we have all been altered in some form or fashion.

This is the moment I want to take to recognize the incredible amount of privilege I have. I haven’t been impacted by this year to the degree that so many have. I have spent the better part of this year working on myself: I took up meditation, I went to therapy, I did a lot of working out, and I’m still working on those cooking skills.

Reflecting on my dating habits

Through all of this, I’ve had time to really look at the way I’ve been operating in the dating world. I have been dating since I was 18 which means I’ve been dating for... long enough to know better. But, I’ve found myself in the same situation over and over again. I had always attributed it to being attracted to the same kind of guy, but sitting at home with myself and all of my annoying habits for months on end makes me wonder if maybe I’m the problem.

Now, I’m not saying that prior to this I had been going out with a bunch of perfect human beings, but all this time with myself has brought about a level of self-awareness that certainly was not there before.

This time has presented itself with the opportunity to slow down and take a good inventory of where I am and who I want to be.

Self-love was missing from my dating history

It feels incredibly cheesy to say, but I think the thing I’ve been missing is loving myself. I’ve often been overly flexible with the people I’ve been dating. I’ve conformed when I really should’ve walked away, and that really comes down to not loving myself enough to say no. As a fan of Drag Race, I’ve heard it every episode “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you going to love someone else?”

It is tough enough for any of us to do exactly that when the world around us tells us that we aren’t good enough because of the way we look, the color of our skin, our sexuality, how we identify or that we have HIV and the stigmatizing language that surrounds us telling us we should be ashamed of something microscopic.

Maybe being locked up at home, without the distractions of those pretty boys with the shiny hair and the tattoos has been the greatest gift.

The love story starts with us

While in no way have I arrived, the journey to self-love is a difficult arduous adventure with many twists and turns, but I am so much closer than I’ve ever been.

I’ve realized that we have to start with love for ourselves, to respect ourselves in a way that sets the bar for all others who may come into our lives.

Our journeys make us unique and beautiful

I believe each of us deserves our own incredible love story. That love story has to begin with ourselves, accepting who we are, and understanding that all of the things each of us has been through has only made each of us more unique, beautiful, worthy of love and belonging.

I’m beginning to really appreciate the man I’m becoming. I’m not perfect; I won’t ever be, and that is ok.

When this whole pandemic thing ends, I’ve learned to love myself and no matter what happens next, that love is the greatest love story that will ever be.

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