Okay so, I wanted to write more posts on the things I did to find myself and my footing after everything came crashing down, so that's what I'm here to do today. I'm talking about the number one thing you should do after a separation, divorce OR breakup - because let's face it, whether you were married or not, breaking up is damn hard and it hurts. Now, sharing this post popped into my head after a) reading part of "Why Men Love Bitches" (which as a side note, I will probably review for you guys, because its a mix of great advice and utter bullshit) where she talks about not giving up your solo routine and things that you love for a relationship aka solid AF advice, and b) when I was doing the thing that this post is all about - dating yourself.
Okay, okay - this may seem like a crazy idea, but seriously I dare you to give it a try. When it became clear to me that my marriage was over, and that we were done, I made a decision to start doing things alone. Things that scared me a bit. Things like going to see a movie by myself (scary shit - but turned out to be the BEST thing ever, girls you don't have to share your snacks). Going out to dinner by myself. Wandering a bookstore with a coffee. Going on a solo hike. The activities I always liked to do with a partner, or did with a partner because I felt they NEEDED to be done with someone else, have now become the norm for me to do solo. And the greatest part is they teach you a huge lesson: it is OK to be alone.
I realized for the first time since I was 14 years old, I was alone. I didn't have anyone to be accountable to but myself, no one to question my decisions or to give me their opinion, and no one to hold me back from doing anything I wanted. And truthfully, its totally freeing. So I remember making the decision to go see a movie by myself. I made it a huge date night for myself. I did my hair and makeup, I ordered myself sushi and ate it with a cup of tea at Starbucks before the movie, and then I went and saw Deadpool 2. In theatres, by myself. I had a large bag of popcorn to myself, and for the first time in a long ass time I didn't have to only put my ketchup seasoning on one side of the bag (seriously, its delicious - don't judge me). And I noticed while sitting there, that I was not the only solo movie goer. There were at least 15 other people seeing the movie alone, and I realized that this wasn't unusual. It was epic. I went again and saw Tomb Raider.
I will admit that taking myself on a solo date was absolutely terrifying. I like you had a lot of judgements about what kind of people go to the movies alone. God forbid someone just enjoy their own company. I assumed if you didn't have a boyfriend, husband or friend to go to the movie with you were just a lonely loser. But no - now I know, those people sitting alone in the theatre are badasses who love time alone and are independent and strong AF (and don't like to share snacks). Yes, some people may be in the theatre because they don't have someone to go with, but thats not the only reason. I could call or text any number of people to go see a movie with me - but I choose to go alone, and savour that time, because it allows me to get to know me and show me the love I deserve.
So here's how you do it: First off, pick a date and schedule it in your calendar. Yup, I'm serious. Schedule it. Now, when the day of your date comes, get excited. I like to get ready for dates by playing music I can dance and sing to while I get ready. So try this now. No sweatpants on your solo date. Get dressed up a little and make yourself feel great (why do we only get dressed up for other people, you deserve to feel epic just for you). If you are doing dinner and a movie, which I suggest you try - pick a restaurant with a view and maybe bring a book with you to enjoy while you eat. Try to avoid being on your phone, this is your time. Eat your dinner slowly, enjoy your food, and if you want dessert get some. Next head on to the movie. Buy your ticket ahead of time, grab some snacks and go pick YOUR fave seat - no compromises here. Sit wherever the hell you want. I like going pretty far up, and in the middle of the row #sorrynotsorry. Best view. Then enjoy. Simple as that. You can go home after, take yourself to the bookstore for a wander or go for a walk down by the water if you live near some (I have done all of the above). Seriously, its your time and it feels so deliciously good.
The most important step you can take in healing after divorce, is finding who you are by yourself. And you do this by spending time alone. I realized that I had given up a lot of the things that made me who I am, and to be honest, probably what made him fall in love with me. I stopped hiking, ditched my gym and yoga memberships, spent less and less time with my girlfriends, stopped dancing - you get the point. Those things that I did before him, are the things that I've found so much joy in post him. I relish in my gym time (pop on headphones, and I usually crank up my revenge body playlist, and SWEAT), enjoy listening to a podcast or just the silence when I hike, adore the time I get to spend with my girlfriends (never ever taking them for granted again), and I'm currently looking in to adult dance classes (hip hop, ballet, pole dancing ...). I love my life and I have zero resentment. And when I eventually find that crazy, epic love that I want, I'm not giving up any of it. And you shouldn't either.