Unlove and other babble.

I've been absurdly wide awake late at night lately. I can normally fall asleep standing up by about 9, especially on the days I'm out running by 6 a.m. But now I find myself in bed, lights out, wide awake. Of course because I can't just lay there, I've got my phone in hand, constantly updating my Twitter feed, checking Facebook, texting friends who are also still awake. It's a whole other world, this night life.

Of course with all of this time spent staring at a dark ceiling, listening to the cats gallop from one end of the apartment to the other (they're also awake late at night; wide awake), I think and think and think until my brain is empty of thoughts.

I've thought a lot about the relationships I've been in (and, of course out of) in the last two years. My unlove life in the last two years has been an intriguing one. Sometimes I curse and spit and want to kick the collective shins of whoever decided I need to endure the inane existence of a single late-twentysomething. Other times I look at the bright side, and realize I am still free to do whatever I want. All the time. Every day. And I can have crushes on 13 boys at once like a teenager. If I want. Generally I don't because, let's be honest, there aren't too many crush-worthy men out there that meet my ridiculously high set of standards (see also: why I'm still single). (Then again, is "single" really that high of a standard? I mean, come on). (Related: I think many men have a very different definition of "single"). (In addition: I almost have to count on two hands the number of men who considered themselves "single" that really, really weren't).

But above all of it, I've learned very much about myself and what I want and need to be fulfilled. Namely, those things are pizza, vacation, "Dexter" and my cats (cat laaaaady), but I suppose there are other, more meaningful things. (Like a smartphone). (Just kidding). (No not really).

I've learned to live on my own. Entirely on my own. Dependent on no one and nothing. It feels damn good. One of the biggest flaws I carry with me into relationships is dependency. I put all my eggs, so to speak, in one basket. I need that person, in a way that's neither healthy nor productive. I hand my entire self over. My time, my energy, my attention -- all of it, completely. And when the bottom of that basket falls out, as it will inevitably do, you lose everything. Especially your sense of self. Because you gave your sense of self over to that relationship, however big or small it was. And you lost that sense of self completely when that basket broke.

This happened to me over the summer. A brief, albeit intense, relationship sucked me in, spit me out and left me feeling figuratively naked and exposed. It was a wake up call I needed, unfortunately. It'd been a while since I felt that broken, but it was bigger than the end of that particular relationship. I know that now. It was realizing I continuously lose myself to relationships when, I think, if you're doing it right, you should find a part of yourself instead.

Today I hold onto my freedom very tightly. My independence. My time. I'm almost selfish with it. I won't give my time and attention to just anyone anymore. In fact, I hardly want to give it to anyone, which I realize does need to change. Like, literally. I will often opt to spend my night on the couch, alone, than fake my way through a quasi-date. That person needs to earn my time. Deserve it. Respect it. I am my own person now, in a fierce way.

The next person who comes along will do and be all of those things that I need, and so will I. I will give myself over in a way that is balanced. Not in a way that will leave me empty if it ends. I think they call all of this "learning to love yourself," or some psychological babble. I suppose it is. Although, I still might argue that it's less of loving myself and more of wanting to be left alone. But I digress.

Don't get me wrong. I want to love someone other than myself. I love loving. I do. A lot. Being in actual love is so underrated. Or maybe that's just my deprivation talking. But it's something I look forward to. I'll just go about it the right way next time in order to come out alive.