Over the past year I’ve sailed into and out of numerous relationships. I’m accustomed to smooth sailing and serial monogyny but after ending a seriously toxic long term relationship I decided to give “dating” as opposed to “relationship-ing” a chance for the first time in my life. The results were varied. I found myself on some pretty odd dates with some pretty peculiar fellas but I also met some nice ones. I painted pottery with a boy who listened to 1989 just so we could talk about it, I played frisbee on Alki beach and sipped margaritas while watching the sunset. There were some real weirdos but there were good guys intermixed as well. You may have noticed as I documented my Summer fling before beginning my adventure in Nova Scotia and chances are (if you’ve been reading for awhile) you read about it falling apart in December. My individualized speed dating expedition taught me so much about the world of dating outside of college (which if you have yet to experience is DRASTICALLY different than the world of dating in college). I learned about my value, I learned about what I am looking for in a boyfriend and I learned about the respect I need from others. I didn’t learn much about trust, not at first at least.
I’ve made a lot of bad decisions when it comes to the opposite sex. I’ve bleached red flags white and in turn placed myself in a few really unhealthy situations. After freeing myself from the shackles that toxic relationships bind us with I’ve grown fairly attached to the light. I’ve grown attached to the happiness and freedom that comes with making your own decisions and deciding your own fate. I’ve loved growing into me-the me that doesn’t revolve around a significant other. I have become more confident in who I am as an individual and even though I’ve struggled (majorly) I understand who I am more than I ever have before. Yet, I’ve realized I have a lot of trouble trusting myself.
After so many bad decisions in the realm of love I have trouble taking my down happiness seriously. I look at the toxic situations I have fallen into in the past and I think to myself “How did you let yourself get there? Why did you think that was okay?” I’m so happy with who I am and so certain about where I want to go that I am terrified of allowing myself to sabotage any of it with another “bad romance”. I like to think I’ve learned from my mistakes. I like to believe that I would never allow another sociopath to step into my life and start manipulating me but at the end of the day I’m afraid. My fear is paralyzing and it’s inhibited my ability to trust my own decisions. I’m constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop even when there aren’t any shoes falling in the first place!
I want so badly to guard my heart, to protect myself, to keep myself from looking back 6 months from now and thinking “Jordyn! How were you so stupid and naive?” but the reality is I can’t. I can’t guard my heart completely if I want real relationships-if I want real love. Moving forward it’s important to look at the past and the lessons that have brought me to where I am today but dwelling on the decisions I made when I was 18, 20 and (hey even 22 and a half) doesn’t help me to move forward. Learning from my mistakes doesn’t mean allowing them to paralyze me; learning from my mistakes means trusting the character I have built to make better decisions than I have made prior even if there will always still be risks involved.
Trusting myself is difficult but I have worked hard to build the person I am. I’ve fallen, I’ve broken and I’ve become stronger. Don’t I deserve to respect myself enough to trust I won’t stumble over the same root on the path that tripped me before?
Have you learned to trust yourself? Do you ever question your own ability to make decisions? Do you go with your head, follow your heart or combine both?
P.S. Photo Credit: Douglas Hills, it was so much fun to shoot with him and his wife on Alki Beach last Saturday morning. I was freezing but it was beautiful nonetheless!
P.S. Again!!! I just created a Facebook Page for my blog and it’s feeling pretty sad and lonely. Let’s be friends?