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Simple. Is it existential crisis worthy? Perhaps. But the truth is that I really might be alone forever, so where does that leave me? When I realized that this was a legitimate possibility, I was shocked. All my life, I had been told about “divine timing” and how “my time would come” and that “the one is out there.” I found myself wallowing in self-pity because I felt that without a significant other, I would grow old and have a life void of meaning.

When I was younger, I thought every year I remained single was a reminder that I was undesirable. I constantly compared my love life to other peers and began to hate myself for it. As silly as it seems, to an impressionable middle schooler/high schooler, being in a relationship was everything. I wound up growing tired of looking for someone to date in high school; I decided that college might be the time for me since I’d be in a different city at a bigger school.  Once I got to college, however, my focus shifted to navigating college and doing well academically. Though the romantic desire was there, it felt more subtle as I was preoccupied with more timely matters.

Over time as I made friends in college, one topic that kept coming up was dating apps. My friends shared stories of their worst dates, worst pickup lines, and the rareness of a decent interaction that led up to an amazing date. I asked them, out of curiosity, if they were on these apps in search of a relationship. The consensus was that they went on the apps with the idea of simply getting to know people, but wouldn’t be opposed to a relationship if it were to happen naturally. As a result, I also went on dating apps like Tinder and Bumble and saw for myself the casualness of it all. People around my age weren’t all dead-set on “finding the one,” or just hooking up; there were also a majority of folks who were just there to get to know others.

Once I came to my own conclusion that dating apps are whatever the user wants them to be, I decided it wasn’t for me, but not because I was in search of love, dating, or hooking up. Rather, it was because I didn’t feel ready for any of these options. It finally dawned on me how much emphasis I had put into being in a relationship and finding love, but that I hadn’t taken the time to even consider if I was even going to be prepared for that scene. While I decided I wasn’t ready for “real” commitment, I used these apps to get to know others if the opportunity presented itself, but no longer put the pressure on myself of dating.

[bf_image id="q5berp-9t1yn4-aijkqs"] As I kept going through my college journey, it felt like a void was growing in me. I thought that if I were to ignore this icky feeling, it would go away. Yet, it grew even stronger as time passed on and I realized that I no longer know who I was. I felt incomplete and isolated even when I was around my friends and family. I no longer felt like I enjoyed things like anime, drawing, and K-pop as much as I did when I was younger. The clothes I wore didn’t feel like they suited me anymore, and I started thinking of myself as an imposter. I felt like I didn’t know myself because others had influenced me for so long. As I started to try and get to know myself, I realized that solitude was my fear. I was afraid that at the end of the day all I would have was myself.

One night, I chose to drown out my intrusive thoughts by watching Beyoncé’s Homecoming on Netflix. I felt deeply moved by her dedication to her art and was touched when she sang, “Me, Myself and I, that’s all I got in the end/ That’s what I found out/ And it ain’t no need to cry, I took a vow from now on that/ I’m gon’ be my own best friend.” That night, I took it upon myself to write down a bucket list of places I wanted to visit in Davis, shows and movies I wanted to watch, and other things I had been wanting to do.

Slowly, I began to take myself out on dates and explore Davis, which is something I had been yearning to do. I started out small by going downtown to eat at my favorite restaurant by myself and found it to be peaceful. I explored small stores that had caught my attention before and though I was hesitant of going out by myself, I was more disappointed that I had held myself back because I was waiting for someone to take me exploring. I had become so dependent on the idea that someone would swoop in and save me from having to be by myself.  It should come as no surprise that my anxiety has prevented me from blossoming, but as I became interested in meditation, I learned the importance of being present.

Being present and enjoying myself was something I had never been able to do, as I always worried about the future and about what others may think. Yet, as I spent more time with myself and pushed away the thought that others would care about my actions, I started noticing that I’m pretty freaking fun. I love being out and about, going into small shops, trying new foods, and really started getting into my spirituality.  Though there are times that are more difficult than others (especially during the holidays), I am proud of the progress I’ve made in my life. To show love to myself, I think about what it is that I yearn for and try my best to implement my love language in any way I can throughout my day. I learned that I don’t have to wait for anyone but myself to fulfill me. I do my best to implement the following in my life, but the most important piece of advice I have for others is to listen to your body and its needs:

1. Eating

You are deserving of yummy food so please remember to eat! Taking myself on dates (pre-COVID) would involve getting myself lunch or dinner out. Now, it’s more of setting up a meal at home and treating myself when I so desire.

2. Drinking Water

I keep a cute sticky note on my desk to remind myself to drink enough water throughout the day.

3. Talk to Loved Ones

My friends and family make me incredibly happy, so I send them a text or call to remind them how much they mean to me. 

4. Laughing

My favorite thing to do is laugh. I love my smile and love to see myself happy. 

5. Words of Affirmation

I remind myself that I am worthy of everything in this world and that I can do anything I put my mind to. It makes me happy that I can fulfill one of my strongest love languages. 

[bf_image id="pkrnbz4tr4tx4jhzk963kjmf"] In practicing these things, I remind myself that I’m my greatest masterpiece and I’m doing a great job taking care of myself. Through this, my motto has become to treat myself the way I’d like to be treated. Though the journey never ends, the steps and progress are fulfilling and when I look back to the person I was when I started, I remember how far I’ve come. I’ve become comfortable with the idea that I might be forever alone because I’ve proven that I can be confident and thrive by myself. 

Diana is a senior at UC Davis majoring in English and minoring in Communications and Education. She spends her free time reading, painting, watching anime or trying local foods in Davis or in her hometown, Oakland. Diana is an advocate for self-love, body positivity and spreading kindness while keeping it real.
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