I once wrote a blog post that was read around the world and I secretly spent my early twenties hating that it will likely be the most popular thing I’ll ever write.
I wanted the most impactful article sitting next to my name to be something meaningful like my thoughts on God, war, history, poverty, politics. Not why you should refuse to spend your life waiting around for some guy who doesn’t want you.
But alas, here we are, that’s what I’m known for: the girl who told everyone that they’re not “Plan B”, not second best.
And to this day I still get e-mails from girls saying that those words sat with them and taught them to walk away.
I often find myself transported back to that young girl fiercely typing those words in ignorant bliss that anyone would ever find them, soak them in, bookmark them, print them, tape them to their wall.
I continuously ask myself why, of all the things I’ve ever written, those were the words. They were certainly not my most eloquent or well crafted. They were not planned or edited well, definitely not crafted to perfection. But at the time, they were heartfelt, sincere, relatable. They were words to a handful of friends who were standing in those shoes; and words to myself, words that I wanted to say but that my mouth had been afraid to speak out loud.
They were words I wanted someone to say to me because they were ones that I needed to be true. They were a permission slip that I needed to fight back, to claw at the hands gripping my neck.
The world is full of people who are afraid that they’re going to end up alone. The world is full of people whose greatest fear is that loneliness.
It’s scary what kind of life you’ll let yourself get trapped inside of when loneliness stares you down on the other side of walking away.
And that’s why I wrote the words: “Better to be alone than taken for granted. Better to be alone than to be a placeholder.”
And those words followed me for years and tested me. Did I believe them? Was I willing to see that through?
That kind of loneliness is not the scariest thing you’ll ever face.
Hands gripped around your neck, in a life that you can’t escape, in a facade masquerading as love, that’s a fate far worse than loneliness ever could be.
I was once ashamed that I wrote a piece on not being second best. That I’m the one who told every girl she’s not a backup plan kind-of-girl. But now I’ve come to see that’s not exactly all it was.
I am someone who sat down and wrote herself a permission slip to stop fearing loneliness and a bunch of other women came to the table over the years and said, “I think that’s me, I think I need that too.”
So, here’s to five years and the thousands of you who also needed that permission slip.
You do not have to fear loneliness. The truth is you are never alone. You are worthy of more than an illusion of love that’s built on excuses. Knowing your worth, that’s just as important as war, history, and politics. You are worthy of good love. You are not a backup plan. And someday I hope that we can all write more permission slips and be unashamed to hold them up in the air and wave them with joy and say, “Look at that, I’m learning how to fight fear and I’m inviting everyone along!”
These days, I’m trying to write more of them for myself. Today, my new one starts something like this:
“I hope you know that your bones were built for bravery and that your heart is crafted with courage. You don’t ever have to be ashamed of the weight with which you carry people and the intensity of how you love them. What a shame it would be to have been given a heart and only use it partially. Not you, that’s not the kind of love you’ve prayed to know. Use it. Use it and wring it out because there’s always going to be more where that came from. ‘Love is not a finite thing’ always remember what it has taken for you to learn that truth…”