The original title of this blog post was “Obligatory Valentine’s Day Post.” I realized earlier this week that I always do a post on Valentine’s Day, dating back to who knows when. (Below are the posts for your convenience – a rollercoaster of a ride for me!)
2018 – The Problem with Purity Books
2017 – Fictional Guys I’d Totally Marry
2016 – Twelve Couples I’ll Always Be In Love With (still true!)
2015 – Actively Waiting
2014 – Single and Proud of It! (warning: contains the most amount of cringe)
After looking through my blog for these posts, I’m sitting in this coffee shop on my day off, trying not to laugh as I think of how far I’ve come since writing these posts. (I can guarantee I’ll look back at this post in a few years and cringe as well!)
I’ve come so far since writing even last year’s post. Last year, I was in a relationship. Last year, I had a boyfriend who surprised me at work with flowers and chocolate and then took me to get coffee and sat with me for hours as we talked about everything under the sun.
And let me tell you, being alone on Valentine’s Day after being in a very good relationship the year before is not my cup of tea.
(I just audibly sighed while staring into my coffee cup and the guy next to me won’t stop staring at me now good gosh what have I done.)
I know I’ve come far since that Valentine’s Day banquet I think I mention in every single post. Y’know, the one that ruined me so badly because all of these couples were in fantastic relationships and I was single? Yeah, that one. Like, get over yourself, 2013 Ashley. You were EIGHTEEN! HOLY COW! What I wouldn’t give to just smack that Ashley upside the head – and then give her a hug because honestly she had no idea what was coming for her.
So many years of feeling alone and loveless when, really, all those years of being single shaped me in ways I can’t even begin to know. I didn’t need anyone, but I felt like I did. I wanted what I saw in the movies when, in reality, being in a relationship is nothing like Elizabeth and Darcy, or Lydia and Stiles, or even Emma and Knightley. Relationships, while beautiful and amazing, take so much work on both sides. And it’s so, so easy to settle. I can think of so many real-life relationships I know about personally right now off the top of my head, but can only count on one hand the number that I think are truly healthy and good.
It’s so easy to want what we see in the movies or on our social media feeds or with our friends. It looks so perfect – so effortless – so easy. The truth is, there’s so much that goes on behind the scenes. Arguments, bitterness, jealousy, miscommunication… that’s what relationships are made out of. Sure, there are other good things as well, but it’s not a real relationship if it doesn’t include all the hard stuff, too. Real relationships are worth the hard stuff, but if there’s more hard than good, it’s probably not healthy. (On second thought, maybe I am a little more cynical than I was last year. #yikes)
While I would love to be going out with someone tonight, I can truly say that I’m grateful for where God has me. My last relationship ended well and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve grown so much since then and learned so much about myself that I honestly don’t think I’d want to be with somebody tonight.
Instead, my plans tonight are to write a little, then put on a face mask, drink some wine, and watch About Time by myself (then make chocolate-covered strawberries with my sister and watch a little John Mulaney).
in all those days of crying myself to sleep, i felt as if i needed someone there to hold me – to help me piece myself back together. it wasn’t until later that i realized that although the want was still there, the need was gone. i had stitched myself back together all by myself.”
– the boy and the theatre girl
UPDATE: So, turns out my plans got changed. I wrote this post on the 13th and scheduled it for the morning of the 14th. Soon after, I smashed my phone in a car door, shattering the screen and visibly bending it (only the first in a series of very bad things that I couldn’t control and culminated in me sobbing on the phone to my mom early the next morning on my way to work). I spent the early parts of the evening getting a new phone and setting it up, but it ended up being better. My sister came home from rehearsal and told me stories of how they were blocking her show (the Little Women musical, which is FABULOUS), and one of my very best friends dropped by with flowers from my brother in college and we chatted for a while. Just goes to show that we’re never truly in charge of our lives and God can change our plans in an instant!