I'm sort of awesome, and you are too.

I’ve never been very good at break ups. I’m not going to lie about it. I’d always been so in love with the idea of being in love, that I convinced myself I loved a lot of people. That wasn’t true, I didn’t love them, nor them me. And looking back on some of the things that I did, I realized how unfair that was. It was unfair, not just to me, but to them as well. I was lying to myself, I was lying to them.

I so desperately wanted to be loved that I fell into some not-so-great relationships. I think this is something that a lot of people do. We’re so damn lonely that we’ll jump at any sort of attention, regardless if we’re compatible with that person long term. And then sometimes, it feels so nice to have someone to talk to and to confide in, we convince ourselves that this is what a relationship is supposed to be like. We ignore the warning signs. I used to have huge problems with jealousy, on both sides, in almost every relationship. There were always trust issues, no matter who it was. I was almost always cheated on. And more often than not, there were communication issues. Now, I’m not saying that every relationship with those issues is bound to fail, I’m just saying that all of mine did. 

And then one day I realized that those types of relationships didn’t make me happy. I eventually realized that I wasn’t happy. I was walking on eggshells, and I was consumed with jealousy often. I questioned everything about the relationship. I never believed them when they said that I was beautiful. I jumped from relationship to relationship desperately searching for someone to love me. So, one day I decided I wanted to be single for a while (as I’d never been single more than 6 months). I spent a lot of time doing soul searching, I wanted to know who I was. I wasn’t happy with who I was, I didn’t want to be that person, so I took a long hard look at myself and started working on those things that I don’t like about myself. It wasn’t easy and I didn’t like myself a lot of the time. I was filled with regret. It was painful, to be honest.

Slowly, but surely, I started shedding aspects of myself that I didn’t like. I knew that I wanted to respect myself, I wanted to be proud of the person I was becoming, so I started reaching out. I began learning more, more about the world that we live in, and I realized that I wanted to help. I’ve always had a part of me that wanted to be a part of a big change. So I educated myself. I became a (mostly)vegan. I interviewed with Invisible Children. I spent two months Occupying LA. I worked with Environment California. I started realizing that although I’ve never really been alright with the way women are portrayed in the media, it was time to start speaking up.

I made a lot of changes. I changed the way that I look at the world, I changed the way I reacted to the world. I started learning more. I started really listening. I changed my perspective on myself, I learned how to love myself, and that I didn’t need validation from anyone to accept my awesome-ness.

I’m happy to say that I’m in the kind of relationship that I want to be in. I didn’t jump into it, we took things slow. We got to know each other before leaping. And now, I’m happier than I’ve ever been. I found someone who actually likes the person I am. I’ve made some of the best friends I’ve ever had, and they actually like who I am. The old friends who actually like me, they’re still around too.

I think, maybe, it’s because I like who I am. For me, everything started falling into place when I accepted the things that I couldn’t change, letting go of the past, dissolving the things that I could, and being excited about being alive.

Getting to know myself was the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. I’ll be doing it basically my whole life. I hope those of you who struggle with this too will take a good hard look at yourself, and know that you are worth loving. No one in your life should dictate that but you. Be the best you that you can be and everything else really does fall into place.

-Tara Jean