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I needed to get my shit together.

And now, for the most part, I have. I feel more confident and right about myself than I have in years. It’s so strange to feel this way. There’s a recognizable stream of energy I had completely forgotten about and after weeks of hard work–and motivation building changes in my life–this source of energy has struck a familiar feeling of clarity I hadn’t felt in years. It was as if it had just showed up at my doorstep after a six year absence asking, “Remember me?” It’s been difficult to accept that I was willing to turn my back on what was good for me. Instead, I chose pain. I chose a tougher road for myself. I became an emotional cutter, of sorts.

The hardest part is looking back upon the rubble of my un-lived life and trying not to judge myself too harshly for the wasted time. Last night, I was laying in bed thinking of my three years here in Austin. What a fucking waste. This is such a great city. The people are great, the food scene is godly, and the atmosphere is lush with natural feats so astonishing my hardened former catholic heart can’t help but recall what it was once like to believe that all of this was some ecclesiastical rembrandt created by some grand design. How can all of this beauty be an accident?

Yet, everyday for the past three years, I have ignored all this. I was set on believing that everything would eventually get better for myself without having to take any responsibility for my life. What’s worse is that, in my selfish fight to ignore my problems, I used people to prolong this period of passive living.

And  now I’m going to write something that’s very difficult for me to face. I haven’t dated nor have I been in a relationship in over six years. I have had a few flings, but nothing that was ever remotely close to being serious. After my last relationship, I recall jumping headlong into work and school in order to avoid the pain. But that never worked. And as the months and then years went by, I continued to punish myself for being single. I piled pain upon pain upon myself. How? Through incessant self-sobotaging thoughts. It’s insanity when you sit down and calm yourself down enough to realize how critical and unfair you can be to yourself. It became such a habit, I didn’t realized I was doing it. Emotional cutter, indeed.

I had a coping mechanism, too. When the pain got to be too much, I discovered a clever way to build up my self-confidence: dating apps and websites. All of these guys who ever reached out or showed any kind of interest in me was the only drug I needed to keep myself going. There was a guy I was talking to on OkCupid a few years back who seemed great. He had a nice job, seemed nice enough, and was very cute. He wanted to have drinks with me. I told him I was leaving town for work and wouldn’t be back for a few weeks, but I would be sure to get in touch once I got back. I never did and I never meant to. I never did because I already got what I needed out of him: his interest in me. As long I knew I was still capable of reeling someone in, I was content. I didn’t pursue anyone any further than that.

Instead, I sat on the sidelines and watched my life go by.

I feel it’s important to note that this isn’t about me being single. I have no problems with that. Finding a man is hardly a priority and it never has been. This is more important than that. My problem is that I have convinced myself that circumstances in my life will just work themselves out on their own. Instead of building a life for myself, I keep waiting for life to build itself around me. Clearly, that’s a foolish way to think, but it’s an effective way to hide.

Thankfully, I got tired of hiding. And I know this personal development won’t happen over night, but at least I’m finally working on it. Each day is better than the last. I’m ready to remember what it was like to be me again.

And finally, I think it’s time I return from that business trip.

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