My last relationship, while relatively short, was so packed with intensity that my life quickly started to revolve around it. I found myself doing mostly the things my boyfriend wanted to do and slightly lost sight of myself in the process. Now that we’ve broken up, I’m discovering who I am all over again and it’s been an amazing experience.
There are a lot of things I want to accomplish and places I want to see. My ex-boyfriend once told me that his idea of a perfect week was working for only a few hours and spending the rest of the time laying on the beach. Don’t get me wrong, I like chilling by the ocean as much as the next person—I’m from California, after all—but I have a long list of other countries I want to visit and in order to do that, I have to work more than “only a few hours.” A lot of our fights happened because I felt like I was always pushing him to do stuff and he thought I was just stressed out all the time.
I hate sitting at home doing nothing. At the beginning of our relationship, several days in a row would go by with nothing being accomplished and us barely leaving the house. I always tried to quell the unrest and act like I was cool with it but I’m not and that’s OK.
If I am sitting at home, I like to play guitar. When I was in college and my roommate was out, I used to spend hours taking hip-hop songs and adapting them to my acoustic guitar. I’m not very good and I only know about four or five chords, but whenever I would figure out a chord progression that sounded that the song in question, I’d play it over and over just because it was fun. At the beginning of our relationship, my ex and I would play guitar together which is cute and everything, but it made me start to associate playing guitar with my ex. Just this week, I started playing guitar again and it’s made me very happy. If you ever want to hear a Fetty Wap song on acoustic guitar, hit me up.
I love to dance and he hated it. After a long work week, all I want to do is go out and dance. I love clubs, crowds, and loud music. My ex hated dancing so I ended up doing it a lot less. Since we broke up, I’ve been going out a lot and having a great time. I wasted so much time!
I like feeling accomplished. My ex and I spent a lot of time sitting in bed on our respective laptops, me applying for jobs and him playing online games. The first few fights we had were because we were both broke and I’d try to help him out by getting him side gigs or sending him jobs listings he qualified for and then he would get angry at me. I like to make to-do lists, get stuff done, and then cross things off as I finish them.
I like to have a lot of little side hustles because I like to do a lot of different things. When I finally got a full-time job, I kept applying for more. I think I’m badass but he was never proud of me—just annoyed that I couldn’t sit and watch a two-hour movie without also having my laptop on my lap writing a blog post or applying to another writing gig.
I like to work hard and play hard and he didn’t really do either. The other day, I came home from the bars at 2 a.m., brought my laptop out to the living room, and started writing my next piece—and it felt like the most “me” thing I had done in a very long time.
I collect stories. I’ve always liked to go on adventures and tell the story later. My ex liked to hear my stories and used to complain that he didn’t have any of his own, but whenever I would invite him to do something fun with me, he would say he didn’t want to and I ended up doing fewer fun things. Not anymore! So long, dead weight.
I like to do things that sound fun even if they seem daunting. My ex was easily put off by things if they sounded like too much work or were out of his comfort zone. Before dating him, I used to constantly do fun things even if they sounded ambitious. My rationale was that if it ended up not being fun, I’d at least have a good story to tell. However, my ex made it seem so easy to just not do things that I ended up following suit. For example, the night I got back from my two-week Europe trip two months ago, my housemates invited me to go to a club with them to see a rapper I like for free but said they were leaving in 20 minutes. I was jetlagged, hungover, and sleep-deprived, and I knew that if I’d still been dating him, I would have declined. Instead, I took a quick shower and went with them anyway because I decided I’d rather be a little extra tired the next day than potentially miss out on a fun night. As I speed-changed into my dress after simultaneously shoving dinner in my mouth and doing my mascara, I thought, “Wow, this feels like something I used to do!” And I was glad.
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