My relationship(s) with myself


Illustration by Stephanie Deangelis

I’ve never been in a serious relationship – but that doesn’t mean I am emotionally damaged or whatever you want to call it. I would like to think I just have a higher level of emotional intelligence, which is why I have never settled for any guy. Well, until now but that story has barely started.

My first crush was my first kiss. We were good friends. He was the first guy to pay attention to me. Not my friends. Not the other girls on the party. Me. He wanted to ask me to be his girlfriend a week after my birthday at a school event. I didn’t know then, and he didn’t go. He told me a day later, saying he would do it in person soon. He didn’t, and we didn’t speak much after that.

Around the same time, I was rekindling with an old childhood friend, Paul. Another very good friend. Until he wanted to play ‘The Question Game’. And then he asked me about my bra size. Poor lad probably didn’t even understand how bra sizing works. I kept it strictly friendly for a while, but a girl has needs.

I regretted it then because I wasn’t sure of what I wanted but I don’t regret it now because it made a lot of who I am today. That lasted a good four years, mostly off than on. That wasn’t a romantic relationship. He was always looking for the next bird he could shag. I felt powerless. I didn’t know how to get guys to like me for me and not my bra size.

Was I too fat? Was I too smart? Was I too quiet? Was I enough? And feeling like you’re good enough takes time. And effort. And it won’t come from a guy, or what he says or does. I decided that focusing on myself would be the best thing I could do, and then guys would look at me.

After a few ups and downs, I realised that it was me who didn’t like myself. I had done excellent for myself, even moved abroad to pursue my dreams. It wasn’t until I was truly purely on my own that I learned how to like me and that it is okay if there are some days that I don’t.

Through all that, the most important thing I did, on my own, was to unlearn that self-destructive thinking. To erase pictures and ideas I had in my head that were stopping me from reaching my full potential. And no one can do it for you. Not your parents, not your friends, and even less your significant other. Only you.

And I am so happy I wasn’t with anyone before that. Being alone (not lonely) made me so good at being on my own. It gives me the determination to keep doing what I love, follow my dreams and become a better me every day. Because after all, you are everything you will ever truly have in your life. And that is your power to conquer.

By Maria Campuzano