Read my blog post about this resolution here.
I wondered many times what it would feel like to write this, and let me tell you, it’s nothing like I thought it would be.
One of my many resolutions for 2018 was to avoid dating. I envisioned staying single, by choice, for a whole year. I even went on a podcast called Now or Never and talked about it.
For context, I had gone through a breakup in early Oct. 2017 so I was not in a place where I wanted to date.
As much as the resolution was to avoid going on dates, the underlying goals were to check some things off my bucket list, create a life I love, learn to love & accept myself without validation from a partner and do some soul-searching.
I genuinely feel that I had the biggest year of my life so far and achieved these goals on my own terms. I did things I didn’t think I was capable of doing. I made decisions to build a life I love on my own instead of waiting for someone to come along and do it with me.
Here’s the truth: I did end up going on some dates toward the end of 2018. I had some flings. None of them progressed anywhere, and that’s ok. So I guess you could say I “failed” at face value.
I’m still single, but I do not feel like the same person I was when I made this resolution. I learned so much about myself from each of those interactions. As much as I didn’t keep the resolution to not go on dates, I don’t give a shit. Looking back, I wouldn’t change a thing.
I know I also said I wouldn’t download dating apps, but I ended up using Bumble (which is MUCH MORE than a dating app — it encompasses friend-finding, networking and dating).
I also ended up working for Bumble Canada starting in August 2018 as a community marketing manager in Winnipeg. Getting a job with a company with such strong values that I believe in so much was a total dream come true, so I feel really good about using the app.
Besides, that’s some Big Dick Energy if you ask me.
I also use it from time to time because I’m human, and when you have the perfect combo boredom and loneliness it’s easy to reach for your phone and swipe through the deck while you’re watching Ru Paul’s Drag Race. Not the worst thing I could be doing on a Friday night.
In the summer someone I knew saw me out with a guy and made a comment to me about breaking my resolution, and the shame kicked in. Hard. I felt called out. I felt like a failure.
The shame hit me hard that I didn’t plan to recap this resolution. I was so afraid of opening myself up and giving people the opportunity to hit me where it hurts. I thought I couldn’t handle it.
Where does it hurt you might ask? I’m getting to that.
The fact that I didn’t perfectly follow through on my resolution bothered me for a while because when I say I’m going to do something, like go sober for 60 days, I usually follow through. But I quickly found out these feelings of failure and fear were rooted in something more significant.
Even though I did a really solid clean up and assessment of my life there was still something under the porch of my soul, rotting. I knew it, but I wasn’t able to put my finger on it until Dec. 2018 when I started reading I Thought It Was Just Me by Brené Brown.
It was the main reason I decided to not date in 2018.
I was trying to avoid the shame I had internalized from being labelled a slut and ‘the girl with the f*cked up love life’ my whole life.
I figured if I could avoid dating for an entire year then I couldn’t be shamed further. I could finally grow apart from these labels in the eyes of others. If I could be perfect and avoid dating altogether, then nobody else could call me out or belittle me for my choices. I was trying to protect myself.
Shame is the fear of being perceived as unworthy of acceptance or belonging. The more we internalize shame, the more we feel we deserve it and believe we are inherently flawed.
The sad part is that the only person who was still making me wear that label, was myself.
Previous to this realization about shame, people who met me were always surprised when I called myself trashy. I joked about it, but it came from a place of pain. I stopped fighting it after a while and continued to wear the labels, stitched inside my blazer, even though they didn’t fit with my outfit anymore.
But that’s what happens when you internalize shame. It becomes a part of you, undetectable.
My shame didn’t come from thin air — I’ve internalized it from a decade of comments, remarks, judgment, societal pressure and events out of my control.
I am ready to do the work to stop forcing myself to wear these labels going into 2019. I am ready to let go of the judgment directed at me, intentionally or unintentionally. I will no longer joke that I am trash. The resilience that I have built up from this whole experience has made me so much f*cking stronger.
Building strength to combat against shame is a skill, and I truly believe we can learn to not let the shame others throw our way absorb into our being — like water off a duck’s back. But it’s not easy, and it requires support.
The truth is that you can’t put yourself out in the world and be vulnerable without some level of exposure. But is that going to stop you? Or are you going to have the courage to continue regardless? Do you have the strength to know that what they say about you, isn’t who you are?
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Perfectionism is armor. It's not internally driven like healthy striving. It's externally driven and fueled by "What will people think?" . Perfectionism is a twenty ton shield that keeps us from being seen. . Here's to a genuine, unarmored, messy, awkward, compassionate, less-than-perfect week.
Here’s what I want to leave you with: the antidote to the poison of shame is genuine compassion and empathy.
Without that kind of non-judgemental support throughout this journey, I don’t know if I would have been able to come out whole on the other end of this. I feel grateful.
This resolution I created around not dating was a surface solution to a much deeper problem, and I’d encourage you to examine your 2019 resolutions and look for signs of shame. Take a peek under the front porch of your soul and see if anything is rotting down there.
Thank you for following my journey in 2018, and hopefully beyond.