I find myself today 11 months into my first relationship. WOW, that is such an amazing milestone for me. Never in my life did I believe in true love but somehow I was lucky enough to meet the man of my dreams.
Finding love was such a mystery to me. I was a Korean-American girl growing up in the suburbs of Arizona, constantly made fun of and teased for the differences in my face. From my small eyes to my olive skin and even my fobby parents, there was nothing that connected me to my peers aside from the fact that I was human too and just wanted to be loved.
I had become ashamed of myself. Not just as a self-hating Asian, but as a self-hating woman. I’ve been taught that the value of a woman is in how beautiful she is. From long legs to a thin waist, a true woman is always young and attractive. She’s sensual and capable of wooing any man she desires. On the opposite end of that spectrum lied my younger self. Ugly, Asian, and alone.
Fast forward to college, I experienced something close to a culture shock. Moving to Los Angeles, I realized that I was a dime a dozen. Asian men and women were everywhere: in schools, in the work field, in media and television, etc. It gave me confidence in myself and offered a community I could belong to. I began to thrive at school and prided myself in my experiences that made me unique. I made friends regardless of race and was able to share my perspective with others. I even managed to fall in and out of love, or what I thought love meant at the time.
It has only been with my current boyfriend that I have truly come to realize the meaning behind loving yourself before you can love another. I love him so much, it’s insane. I’ve never experienced this feeling before…my entire mind and body craving the attention and love of this one man. My heart still drops when he kisses me and says my name. When he lets me know how beautiful I am, when he says “I love you”, when he cooks for me…
Yet I’ve come to realize so many bad things about myself through this relationship. Am I too clingy? Am I too sensitive? Why do I get annoyed or jealous when he calls another girl “Babe”? Why do I dislike when he talks to his ex-girlfriend? What drives me to suffocate him (metaphorically of course)? I’m demanding and selfish. He does things he shouldn’t, but I’ve come to realize my issues as well. How can I fix these raw emotions that I feel? In my mind, I feel what I feel and I can’t control that. Am I justified in this thought process?
I’m still not sure how to balance these emotions or whether I even should. I do know that because of these feelings, I treat him poorly. I say I love this man yet I disrespect him, judge him, and demand his time and affection. I’m forcing him to slowly fall out of love with me and I know this can’t go on. I need to learn to love myself before I can truly love him or anyone for that matter.
Love myself…how? I’ve put my personal goals and problems on the back burner. Can I truly stand next to this man and say I am confident in who I am and who I’ve become and what I’ve accomplished? Where am I going in life aside from just dating this man? Who do I want to be aside from his girlfriend? I need to become my own person, invest in myself, be confident in my skills and accomplishments, and I need to do it now.
Going to the gym, reading more, actually starting and consistently working on this blog, hanging out with my friends, focusing on career advancement… being OK being by myself.
At the end of the day, I’m confident in myself and my ability to change. I’m still so in love with my boyfriend and I know he loves me just as much. But I need to create some distance and spend time apart to gain clarity and perspective. My fear of being alone in LA is not irrational. I know plenty of men and women in LA who fear the same and try to fill that void with whatever they can. But these feelings shouldn’t control our lives, we should be able to master them and learn to become our own soulmate. Once we are OK being alone, the person we choose to be with will only enhance our life.