When I was a teenager, I feared I would never be stable (emotionally or financially) on my own.
After all, through my own tainted eyes, I saw myself as nothing short of a mess: wildly irresponsible, acutely reckless and teeming with an irrepressible tendency to f*ck everything and anything up.
My teachers told me I lacked focus.
It was regularly suggested I get medicated in order to withstand the throes of academia.
My tights were always torn. The moment I stamped out a Marlboro Light 100, I instantly craved another one. I was the “drunk girl” at the house party who fell in her platform boots and skinned her knees.
I kissed boys I didn’t like because I didn’t know how to say no.
My dresser held court to hundreds of notebooks bound by unfinished scribbles of impossibly thin girls and disjointed poetry detailing my broken thoughts.
I was the kind of girl who was scared to be alone because I didn’t trust what I would do if left to my own devices.
As a teenage entity, I felt like I was an open wound traipsing around the universe that almost anything could seep into and infect.
The world seemed to be cloaked in an invisible veil of piercing negativity, and I couldn't help but absorb all of the pain that surrounded me.
I didn’t know how to protect my orbit, and the world felt madly unsafe.
I didn’t think I was capable of making money. I was hyper-creative and a talented actress, but the figureheads at private school vehemently assured me I could never parlay my artistic abilities into a real job.
Real jobs were reserved for perfect students who got good grades and took AP classes.
I either had to change, or I was screwed.
My self-esteem was shot. I didn’t trust the skin I was in, so I resigned to the dismal hope that one day I would meet someone who could take care of me.
Protect me from the perils of the world. Provide the financial stability while I sifted through my 20s, getting endlessly rejected at auditions whilst working a mindless job for $8 an hour in a boutique I loathed.
Sometime in the crux of my early-to-mid 20s, I came to question the damaging standards society had bestowed upon me.
I learned how to channel my creative energy into unstoppable productivity and excelled in my career beyond my wildest dreams.
I learned to take care of myself. I learned how to sleep alone. I learned how to soothe myself after an epic nightmare and how to pick myself up from the floor after a breakdown.
Suddenly, I lost the craving for a stable force to swoop in and save me from my situation because I was saving myself. I didn’t desire stability because I had built a stable foundation within myself.
Rather than search for a love that would rescue me, I began to desire a love that would add a wild zest and freewheeling sense of adventure into my life:
Now I want someone to give me a life of adventure, over a life of stability.
Because I trust I can make my own money.
When I was a kid, I was convinced that only the honor roll students could make money.
I grew up in a conservative Connecticut town where teenagers thought tennis whites were fashion (these people aged fast).
I have the most vivid memory of a Lacoste-sporting academic star shaming me in front of the entire class for saying I wanted to be an actress and a writer, when prompted by my teacher:
“FYI, Zara, you might want to have like, a back-up plan because that’s like impossible,” the mindless drone, clad in pink juicy couture, snickered in her high-pitched, nasal voice (what is it about mean girls and irritating discordant voices?).
My skin crawls just thinking about how I allowed that imagination-less little bitch make me feel so painfully humiliated.
While it’s undeniably hard to make money in a creative field, it’s entirely possible.
What little Ms. Academia neglected to understand is this: When channeled correctly, a creative brain will set you apart in any field. Creativity is a gift that is deeply valued in the workforce.
While I now ecstatically earn my living writing, acting and directing -- even in those days when I was slaving away in the hot fluorescent lights of the cosmetics counter in the dismal department store, I was the top seller because my creative edge and out-of-the-box thinking brought in thick paychecks of hefty commission.
I refuse to be the creative girl who is set on relying on a partner in finance. I don’t subscribe to the theory that artists can’t have full bank accounts.
I also trust that I have enough valuable insight to offer the working world, that I will attain my own financial stability.
The person I choose to build a life with will be the person I love, not the person who can merely keep me financially afloat.
Because I trust the inherent security I attain within myself.
I think a lot of creative kids feel off-kilter and insecure. When you have such a whirlwind existing inside of you, it takes time to learn how to take the heaps of angst and turn it into something awesome.
It’s easy to feel lost and self-destructive when you’re young and don’t fit perfectly into the system.
It’s completely natural to want someone to nurture you when you feel so broken.
But once you begin to question whether your “flaws” are really flaws at all and just might be the very things that make you cool and different, you develop such a strong sense of security within the core of who you are.
When you know you can exist as your own superhero, you stop seeking one. You become drawn to the one who can shake things up.
You crave the person who has the ability to make you absurdly nervous and foolishly excited.
Because I trust that I am enough.
Once I made peace with the girl I was, embraced my flaws, saved my own life and learned to take dire matters into my own two capable hands -- I stopped needing people.
In my late teens and early 20s, I was constantly shackled to a partner. I didn’t think I could hack it on my own.
Now I’m an entirely self-sufficient adult entity, and I realize I had the tools to thrive in the world all along, I just hadn’t figured out how to use them yet. The beauty in my newfound independence is I don’t need a partner. I want a partner.
I don’t need someone to fund me; I want someone to travel the world with me. I don’t need someone to sleep next to me; I want someone who turns me on. I don’t need someone to validate me; I want someone to who I can let my freak flag fly with.
I don’t need someone to complete me; I want someone to inspire me.