Once upon a time, there was a girl named Sheena. She was vibrant, curious and always sniffing out the next big read or the trendiest new workout.
She was energetic and carefree. She had so much energy she'd have to run around a park or jump up and down on her bed to quell even half of it.
But ever so gradually, she lost her appetite for life. She stopped being curious and started being hungry... for food and food only. She ate herself into comas and slept too much so she wouldn't have to feel.
Simply put, she gave up on herself.
She blamed her starry-turned-sour-eyes on pop culture. She watched one too many Disney movies and one too many romantic comedies, and thought one day she'd meet someone who'd save her from all life's cruelties. Someone who'd save her from herself, and that place of hers she goes to when she falls down and doesn't know how to get back up.
Love, she thought, was the finish line, the golden pot at the end of the rainbow, the one and only cure for sicknesses she didn't even know she had.
Much of the time, that's what single Sheena does. She eats to the point of stomach upset, drinks past the point of drunk and becomes unsettled in a room full of silence. It's like she's totally OK with self-sabotaging until she finds one guy who can make everything right in her world. She's a ticking time bomb, and love's supposed to be the explosion.
I didn't think I was of the school of people who believe their problems can automatically go away once they've found a romantic partner. But I am one of those people.
There are times I genuinely believe the things I hate about myself, like my weird relationship with food or my propensity to revert back to middle school, bullied me, will suddenly just vanish when I meet the right person.
Maybe they can. I'm not saying your problems won't go away once you've found someone who brings you happiness. Maybe you've already found that person, and maybe your problems have fled.
Here's the danger in thinking love solves all, though: Let's say you're in love and problem-free because a man has helped you stop feeling sorry for yourself, but then you and that man break up and love is lost.
At that point, you're not only sitting alone with your problems again, but you're heartbroken. You're ten steps behind where you started off, and even more unable to save yourself.
You're not off the hook once you've found love. It's no one's job to save you from you. Only you can save yourself from you.
No man can save me. No man wants to save me, nor should he have to. And if he finds me like this, in my beaten-down, sluggish state, well, I can't help but to feel sorry for him, because I want to be able to save myself before he can find me.
In life, we have to be our biggest champions. I'm trying so hard to be that champion for all of you by writing this. But when I go home later today, I'll have to be that champion for myself, and that's where I'll trip up and break down. I'll have to be my biggest fan, supporter, kick-in-the-ass. And to do that takes training the mind as much as it does the body. It takes stamina and resolution. But most of all, it takes self-love.
You are not Cinderella. There is no Prince Charming. You are just you, love is just love and a man is nothing more than just a man.
Get your head on straight and save yourself.