I’ve had a lot of relationships in my life. Since I fell helplessly head over heels for my first love at the tender age of 16, I’ve spend very little time being single.  It isn’t that I actively look for a boyfriend, it just seems to naturally fall into place. As one relationship ends, another one forms.

Sometimes I needed a few months to grieve, but I found my feelings  would naturally float to and fro as I stumbled into one incredible person after another. I’m an emotional person who thrives in closeness with other people, and function best when I have an ally to have my back as well as someone to look out for.

But sometimes I look back and think, wow. What a strange old life I’ve led.

How different could things have been if I hadn’t broken up with him.

I might be back in my home town with a carpenter for a husband, or living in Arkansas and feeding the mules every morning. I might be sweeter and meeker, or I might be a militant demonstrator, travelling the world in my exes camper van, sewing curtains for the front seats out of material printed with the night sky.

Looking back on your past relationships you can’t help but question yourself.  I’ve wasted so much time…What was I thinking? Was it worth it?.. s/he might have been the one… s/he definitely was not. 

Which goes to show you that both relationships and break ups can be a vital part of working out who you are. You learn to love deeply, hurt deeper and pick yourself up again at the end.

With every person you spend time with, you learn so much more about yourself than you even realise. Whether it’s a relationship so sweet you understand the adoration you can inspire, or so volatile and hurtful that you learn to be strong, I really believe that being in a series of relationships isn’t a sign of weakness or flaws but one of progress and development.

Before my most recent relationship I hated conflict, I felt hurt by a slightly raised voice and trembled if I was confronted. What ended up being a few months of intense stress and abuse left me wandering if I could ever let myself be close to someone again. A few months later and I feel a strength inside myself I wouldn’t have thought possible. I can look coolly into the face of conflict and know that it can’t hurt me.

I’m not sure when I will be ready to be with someone again.

Even if I never am, that’s ok. But I wanted to tell anyone who worries that their past break ups have somehow devalued them… you are so much more than that.

Cherish every moment that you smiled and laughed, but also hold those moments that hurt you even closer. Remember every regret and smile at the wrongs that were done to you. They have made you fierce. You are not damaged, but richer for having the courage to love and daring to recover again.

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