Taking the escalator on the way to work one morning, catching a glimpse of blue sky on the way up, I realized- I am a self supporting single woman, and I love my life. I feel successful, finally. A beautiful work in progress in my own right, complete without a significant other. As it happens, it was also International Women’s Day, and through serendipity, I was wearing violet.
Up to that moment, I always felt there was something missing, and success somehow didn’t count unless you also had a man. Even when my personal and professional dreams came true and I moved to Paris for an exciting job, I still had the nagging suspicion that something was awry since Prince Charming hadn’t shown up. I Every spunky Disney princess finds her match, after all.
Just thinking about the prospect of remaining single, and the one who “got away,” brought up a bottomless hole of shame and guilt for all the ways I didn’t feel good enough. Surely, I thought, if I really deserved it, the universe would have found some love for me by now.
“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” Gloria Steinem
A certain wise business coached diagnosed my “Cinderella Syndrome,” and advised me to go out and make friends and live my life. I realized I needed to stop waiting, and take every trip regardless of whether I had that special someone to share it with, to make a home in my new city on my own.
Slowly, gradually, I came to realize that I do really deserve love, most importantly from myself. And I don’t need a man to complete me.
A certain business coach called me out on wanting a man to come and save me from the loneliness I felt after making a big move. She suggested I go out and make friends, and helped me become a better friend to myself.
“We have become the men we wanted to marry.” Gloria Steinem
The hero I waited my whole life to save me isn’t coming. I had the power to break the curse of loneliness all along. No man could have replaced genuine self-fullfillment or made it any less necessary to become a friend to myself. I read somewhere about how you have to marry yourself first, and while it hasn’t been easy to be a friend to myself and never abandon my dreams, I have no regrets.
This is a truly happy, freeing ending of a lifetime of a flawed, harmful belief that my own life was not enough to be happy about. That I couldn’t be a heroine without a leading man.
For the first time, I have unlocked the tower and chosen freedom, turned my inner beast into the beauty of self knowledge rather than loving someone who made me feel like a monster. The evil stepmother, my inner critic, holds no power over me, I choose not to let myself be abused.
The most important arc of the story of my life is not about romantic love – it is about me, becoming myself.
I’m free of the myth that only love can make my life complete.
The glass slipper is shattered.