What should I wear tonight? I want to look cute, but I also want to learn to accept my beauty no matter how I look on the outside. I don’t need tight pants and a low-cut shirt to be beautiful. I go for a casual but cute look: jeans, a black and grey sweater, and leather studded Converse kicks. I stand about five feet, nine inches, so heels have never been a required accessory in my mind. In heels, I’m unable to blend in. I may not be the tallest person in the room, but I’m most likely the tallest and thinnest. Before I made the choice to quit, I used to smoke Capri 120 cigarettes. When someone inquired why, I’d say, “I like to smoke something that matches my physique, tall and thin.”
I grab my wallet, my cell phone, my Kindle, and my car keys and head out the front door to start my Jeep. I’m going to the feels-like-home Italian restaurant a couple of towns over. I’m going on a date. My first date since my separation. It’s a scary but important step. I’m opening the next chapter.
This chapter should be titled, Don’t Forget to Love Yourself. Throughout my life, I’ve often felt unlovable, unwanted, unworthy, and overall defective. I cared more about seeking support and love from others than I ever cared about giving myself the support and love I desperately needed. But over the past ten months, I’ve begun to love and appreciate who I am. And I never want to lose that feeling again.
I realize my worth. I realize my strength. And I realize my beauty.
I request a glass of Chianti along with a menu and place my belongings to my right. I look around the bar and notice how packed it is. There must be 100 people here and its only six o’clock.
I basically skip to the back door of the restaurant. Before I enter, I stop to look up at the dark green awning. It reminds me of one of the many restaurants I’ve visited in Little Italy. I head down a flight of stairs covered in red and gold carpet with dark beige wallpaper, and I can smell the Romano cheese and red wine awaiting me. I notice three seats open at the end of the bar, so I take the farthest one – closest to the wall. I request a glass of Chianti along with a menu and place my belongings to my right. I look around the bar and notice how packed it is. There must be 100 people here and its only six o’clock. The energy is positive, and the volume is loud. When the bartender returns with my libation, I thank him, tell him I’d like the stuffed veal meatballs over a béchamel macaroni and cheese, and pick up my Kindle. Before I can finish one page, two couples walk up and ask if the seats next to me are taken. I tell them they are free and invite them to sit.
The woman who sits next to me is so warm and gregarious. She asks what I’m reading, and we begin a conversation. The three other folks in her party join in and I feel as if I’ve known them my entire life. We laugh, we clink our glasses together shouting “salute”, they buy me another glass of Chianti, and just as my entrée arrives, a waiter comes to inform them their table is ready. We bid each other adieu and though I’ll likely never see them again, I know I’ll cherish the time we shared together.
I am loveable, worthy, and engaging. They proved that to me. I am not defective. I am capable.
I pay my tab and head back up that familiar set of stairs to the outside world. This was the best date I’ve been on in my entire life. A date with myself. I learned about who I am and who I want to be. I’ve learned I am valuable. I cherish the time I’m able to spend with the incredible human I’ve become. And I can’t wait to take myself out again. I appreciate the struggles I’ve encountered because they’ve made me who I am today. And I freaking love this woman. She’s strong. She’s powerful. She’s capable. She’s everything I ever wanted to be.
I’m so glad she’s me.