HOW I TURNED SWIPING INTO SELF LIKING
It began in the week of Valentine’s Day. I had just been disrespected by yet another loser, rejected by another idiot- who was still hung up on his ex and to top it off, had heard from an old flame and was not in the mood for any more of the above. So with a spring in my step I declared my Valentine’s celebrations as ones of self love. Calling on my favourite gal pal to accompany me, our foray in massages, facials and poke bowls made for the perfect night. But something was missing. The more I dabbled in acts of self love, the more I wanted to. So I gave myself a challenge: 30 days of dating myself. No more online apps, swipes, likes, matches or messages left awaiting replies in cyberspace. The next 30 days were about me and reclaiming my love for myself without a boy; or a man rather, getting in the way. Reestablishing good habits and routines that put me first after falling off the bandwagon in pursuit of Prince Charming. Who clearly has gotten lost many times on his way to me.
Week 1: Blur
The first week was a blur. With the pressures of starting a new job, with new responsibilities and new people to smile at and remember names of, I was pushing myself to stay awake after 8pm. This left no time to swipe and even less time to exercise. It was a week of surviving.
Week 2: Patterns
This week saw me start to develop new patterns and routines. I began fighting the fatigue and pushing through to make my pilates classes and gym slots more consistent. I bought a book and began treating myself to the little things that denoted self care in my eyes.
In attempts to meet someone ‘organically,’ I gave my number to a friend’s friend to see if that would ‘spark joy.’ Instead it sparked a chase that I soon felt was one sided and gave up on. Leaving me with very few leads and soon, utmost contentedness in being in my own company and for the first time in a long time, not being embroiled in all the drama that came with a crush.
Week 3: Discovery
Week 3 saw me notice couples and their interactions in a new light. I began to see couples that supported one another and lifted their partner up. Couples that were proud of each other and wanted to show the other off. Couples that were genuinely excited to be spending time together. And all these feels started to swirl in my mind. I want to feel these things with someone special.
I went on a second date with someone I met weeks ago, after much pestering from him. I enjoyed the laughs, attention and time spent focusing on something that was not: work, gym, eat, sleep repeat. I realized then and there, how important a hug is. How important it is for me to feel valued and loved. How important it is for me to see myself smiling. How important it is to live a balanced life.
Week 4: Solutions
This last week has been the hardest. I’ve been emotional, due to other factors and as a result crave the presence of a companion more for comfort and support. I was so close to caving and downloading dating apps again but I knew I had to be strong and hold out the challenge. I’m not going to lie and say this was easy. It wasn’t. I’m someone who sees online dating as a step in being proactive in the journey that is finding someone special. The very thought of me sitting around and ‘wasting time’ when I could be putting myself out there was a challenge in itself to get my head around. But upon reflection, I know that I need that alone, time just as much, if not more, than those times of proactivity. It is in those quiet moments that I learn who I am, what I need and what I value.
Today, as I sit in the Adelaide airport, drinking a takeaway tea and fighting off sleep, my 30 day online dating ban ends. Not much has changed in this time. I still shoot myself in the foot with how forward I am, I still am a legendary wing woman (hit me up for tips) and I still feel the need to have someone special that’s there for me. I know I will continue to put myself out there and most importantly, take up any opportunities that present themselves to me.
One message I will take away from this self inflicted experiment though is how I won’t put as much pressure on myself to find that person. I am someone who likes to be in control. Somewhat a perfectionist who likes to know ‘what next?’ Someone who battles with anxiety that fuels these already ingrained characteristics that are so difficult to change. I will continue to explore ways I can find comfort or solace within current friendships and relationships or even in myself. And I will be grateful for all the love I already have in my life. Because I’m already so blessed.