My best self

My friend Julie says that when she's dating someone, she asks herself if dating this guy brings out her "best self". For me, when I'm with someone I ask myself if I'm comfortable enough with him to be funny and silly; am I secure enough to be vulnerable and scared and honest; am I trusting enough to show that beneath the bravado is uncertainty and fear.

The truth is we are all alone in this world and yet we are also supported. As much as being single feels like we're alone, we're really not. We have friends and family who love us. At the same time, those who are in a romantic relationship are also still alone. And sometimes, being in a romantic relationship makes us feel more lonely than we care to admit. At the end of the day, whether someone is lying next to us or not, we are still really only with ourselves.

What it is that I think each of us wants is not just to be in a relationship and not just to have someone by our side, but to have someone who makes us our "best self". What we are looking for in a relationship is that we feel even more comfortable than we are alone. Being with this other person makes our best qualities easier to manage and attain; we find humor more easily, we are more charming and flirtatious, we are more grounded and more solid, we feel comforted and content. We want to find someone with whom we can stop holding our breath, stop waiting to show our true colors, stop putting up a front.

The truth is we are as alone as we want to be. We can be lonely and married. We can be alone and be free. We can be by ourselves in our cars and we can roll down the windows and turn up the music and sing sing sing. We can love the moment we're in whether we are in a relationship or not. But we can hope that love comes along. We can hope to be loved and be in love. We can hope that one day, he will be sitting next to us, he will look us in the eye and tell us "Damn I love you" and take our breath away. We can hope that we will find love and that love will find us, and that it will happen sooner than later. We can hope. Loneliness happens. To all of us. It is up to us to decide what to do with that. Do we wallow? Maybe for a bit. But then we can turn up the music and turn down that voice inside our heads and we can drive. Anywhere. Nowhere. And we can sing.

This is the life.

- a