“You may not be her first, her last, or her only. She loved before she may love again. But if she loves you now, what else matters? She’s not perfect - you aren’t either, and the two of you may never be perfect together but if she can make you laugh, cause you to think twice, and admit to being human and making mistakes, hold onto her and give her the most you can. She may not be thinking about you every second of the day, but she will give you a part of her that she knows you can break - her heart. So don’t hurt her, don’t change her, don’t analyze and don’t expect more than she can give. Smile when she makes you happy, let her know when she makes you mad, and miss her when she’s not there”—
Soul searching in the city? Is that even possible? Yes, my friends it is.
The last 10 months have been a personal adventure to say the absolute least. I have shared where I was almost a year ago and the expectations I had for my future at that time several times already, so I’ll spare the repeat details. What I don’t and haven’t talked about is the months that followed and where I am now. To start, if you are reading this and are going to continue to read this post, I ask that you do so with understanding and without judgment. I am a different person right now than I was even just one year ago and I am sure to be a different person a year from today; that is the beauty of this life and of each of our journeys.
Prior to my “return to singlehood” last June I had basically been in committed relationships since I was 16 years old with only a couple of months in between each one. Being single was foreign, it still is. At first I felt a sense of freedom, like I could do whatever, whenever I wanted and report to no one. I could make decisions about my future without considering anyone else’s plans. It was beautiful and exciting. That beauty and excitement soon turned into fear and insecurity. I was terrified, I was “alone” for the first time in seven years and I had absolutely no idea how to feel, act or think about so many things. I have sense then doubted just about everything I have ever liked or believed in. Of course as a woman, I dissected every little piece of my last relationship and created ridiculous scenarios in my head of what went wrong, flaws in both parties, insecurities attempted to tarnished beautiful memories and feelings of a great relationship. That obviously did no good.
I did the only thing I knew how to do, throw myself at the feet of my Heavenly Father, weeping for guidance, answers and love. I remained at his feet in tears and confusion for several months. At the beginning of those months, while I was desperate for some meaning to why I was single again, I felt a need to explore other options for my future. As a Catholic, I know that each of us has a certain vocation in which we are called to serve the Church. Some have a vocation to marriage, religious life and other to single life. I thought, well I’m obviously not on the track to being married so I must be being called to religious life. And so began my discernment… [discernment never truly ends, it is a life long process of seeking and listening]. I got a spiritual director, I contacted the local convent and I set up an over night stay to explore the possibility of becoming a religious sister for the Church. Say WHAT?! Yes. I spent a weekend at a convent because I honestly thought this was the ONLY reasonable explanation for why I was single. I obviously did not go join the nun-hood… what I realized from that weekend and the weeks before and after my stay, was that I was running away from ever falling in love again and ever putting myself in a situation where I could be left broken hearted. I told myself I would never allow myself to feel that way ever again. Running to my faith was the right thing to do…thinking I could run into hiding by becoming a nun and avoiding future pain was just silly. Without a shadow of a doubt I believe I am called and created to be a wife and a mother.
Feeling like my vocation was to be a wife, like all of us dream of being, was great…but where was my husband? I immersed myself in prayer, retreats, books on Godly relationships, how to not look for a guy but look for him all at the same time, you know the drill. I got back in touch with prayer life and focusing on preparing myself to become the best future wife I could!
And then I got impatient and annoyed as hell. Annoyed at being 24, single and “different”. My whole life I’ve been the different one, the one that didn’t drink, didn’t get crazy, the prude, whatever it was, it was different. I got pissed that God came into my life at such a young age and I was asked to live a different life than everyone else. Why? For what? Everyone else is getting married and living out their fairy tales, why aren’t I. All very dangerous questions to get yourself into. So began this “new stage” of Fran. This girl who didn’t care about a lot of the things she once did. Who cares if I drank too much and acted like a fool, I’m young and single and I can do that. Sure I can, I am able…but let’s be honest, that’s not me. I recently asked myself a question… “Is the way I am portraying myself right now the person I see inside or the person I truly want to be?” The answer was clearly no. A recent day of “not caring and being ‘young wild and free’” made me realize how far from the person I used to be I had gotten. A dear friend told me just today that we can not all expect to be the same person our whole lives. She is absolutely right. I appreciate very much the changes in my life. Without changes we will never find out our truest self.
Re-entering singlehood forced me to redefine myself. Forced me to see myself as just Franchesca…not Franchesca so and so’s girlfriend, or Franchesca representing my sorority or whatever attachment I had to something other than myself. I am figuring something new out each and every day. I don’t have all my ish together and I am learning to be more comfortable with that. Now I’m figuring out the Franchesca who has to date again! ugh.
These years of my mid-twenties, I have realized recently more than ever, are about finding myself. Being comfortable in my own skin again, as an individual, not a counterpart.
I am just me. I am young, I can be a little wild and I want to be free…free in the true sense of the word.