Originally uploaded: 4th May 2019
I used to believe a good night out was based, solely, upon my ability to ‘pull’. Pull, to those who don’t understand British slang can have a varying degree of meaning, from a phone number to sleeping with someone. But to me, it was purely just adding a guy on Snapchat. Getting someone's number was too personal and invasive to my very reserved nature but Snapchat meant nothing and people could easily be removed or forgotten. It meant nothing.
I’ll pause there because many people are surprised I even go out mostly because of my very introverted nature but also because I am very awkward when it comes to personal space and I hate cramped places.
Oh and also, I guess, because I am a Christian.
Heck I’m surprised too!
But let me not pretend that just because I grew up in the church I’m this innocent little flower. I may be naïve but I am definitely not innocent.
I was introduced to the ‘night out culture’ – formally – when I started university. And, because of the way it started, I believed the definition of a good night out was if I pulled a guy or even if a guy tried to approach me. However, whether pulling was successful or not I always ended up feeling empty.
There was a lot of ghosting, rejection, humiliation, anger and verbal abuse from both parties. It never ended nicely.
It was messy and I hold my hands up and say first year was full of shenanigans that – although make funny stories – I’m not a hundred percent proud of.
Yet those experiences have teachable moments and I realised a couple of things:
1. Talking on Snapchat doesn’t mean you know the person.
I took great pride in talking to guys on Snapchat.
However as time went on I realised I actually knew nothing about these guys at all. Talking on social media is a funny sensation because it gives people this false sense of security; it feels safe and it feels real but it’s also really easy to misinterpret.
I dare you to remember the conversations with that person while you were in the feelings, and now, actually go reread those conversations now that you’re out of the feelings. Two very different conversations. It’s so easy while in the feelings to mistake a façade as a real person.
2. You are running on their schedule.
Remember Snapchat expires after 24 hours and just like that, Cinderella turns back into a peasant when she/he is not needed. Social media has created this illusion, believing you truly know and have connected with this person but think about it, when are they giving you attention the most? When you need them or when they need you? You’re only relevant when they can schedule you in.
3. Why are you meeting all these guys in the club, adding them on snapchat and then thinking they’re your boyfriend?
I remember telling my cousin, after another situationship* had ended, “I don’t know what I am doing wrong”(*I call them situationships because they were a big old stress to my life). She responded that maybe it’s because I was meeting all these guys in the club believing they would be Prince Charming.
However, while talking with a co-worker about this she added ‘well, sis, you’re not going to meet Prince Charming at church either.’
Her words hit me hard because I wanted her to be wrong but I knew she was right.
There is no right place to meet an unrealistic expectation. There is no right place to meet a person. When I analysed all the situationships I’d allowed myself to be a part of, yes the similarity was that I met them all in the club, but the biggest common denominator was me.
A hundred percent of the time, when I was in these situationship, whether they varied from a night to a couple of months, I knew that it would never last.
I told my housemate this once after crying over a guy. Sad, right? You know what’s even worse? It was my birthday. I cried so much I bought her to tears.
“I knew it wouldn’t last” I said, wiping away my tears, “but I would still go back to him –”
Hold on a second, past Sarah. You said what?
My housemate was bewildered by this notion, she had seen how badly this guy had treated me, and asked me: ‘Do you really deem yourself worthy if you are allowing yourself to be treated less than you deserve?’
You see my expectations were set so high that they were unattainable even for me. My expectations were depictions of my own self-loathing, and could be seen as a form of self-punishment. Why? Expectations and perceptions become skewed when you are not able to see yourself. Expectations and perceptions become skewed when you are not able to see worth within yourself.
I did not see worth in myself.
You could look into my childhood, unpack my insecurities as a child but that’s not what this piece is about. The truth is, the truth I’ve been struggling with, is worthiness.
I did not deem myself worthy enough and thus I needed the attention and validation from people who I did not connect with to prove that I was worthy of love. I was and am deeply insecure. Like many of us we need other people to prove we are worthy of love, wherever it stems from, it is a dire need to prove ourselves.
When entering into these complicated relationships we consider the things we could get out of the other person, rather than considering what the other person could take from us. We form, manipulate and transform this neutral person into Prince Charming without truly knowing them. We can change the person.
But changing them was never the case because you cannot change a person, the only person you can change is yourself.
Let me say that again for the people in the back that couldn’t hear:
You cannot change a person, the only person you can change is yourself.
That’s the secret.
Get into a relationship with yourself and be honest. Say the words aloud that you believed were so obvious. Hear yourself saying them.
And that, my friends, is what I did when the last situationship ended. My perception of myself and of my worth was so skewed that it was easier to stick with a person that would repetitively call me ‘stupid’ and an ‘idiot’. However, once I started a healthy relationship with myself and analysed myself – congregating who I thought I was to who I really was – did I see growth.
From my edges and my hair to my intuition and spirituality.
It was only when I started the relationship with myself that I realised I was afraid of abandonment. I needed empty words, not just to prove I was worthy of love but, to prove the person wouldn’t leave. As the relationship with yourself developed I became more aware of yourself, more accepting, more forgiving.
But this is a constant battle.
In conclusion, don’t go looking for a significant other in a particular place to prove your own worthiness. Start an honest and healthy relationship with yourself and become aware of the unhealthy habits that control your behaviour.
Do not become compliant with your insecurities.
Dance because you want to dance.
And above all, know and rely on the fact that you are a whole entity without the validation of another person whether you’re in a relationship or single. Lastly – and this is the most important – the relationship with yourself is a continuous, strenuous journey that never stops.