Six-ish years ago, I set out on a journey of self love that I called
100 Solo Dates!
I took myself on 100 dates in a year, completely (or mostly) solo. This was something I would never have dreamed of doing by myself before I was 25.
Before that, I was the kind of person who was never alone.
I did things on these dates that normal people do alone and some maybe novel from others’ reactions. More than anything I did things that I love to do or wanted to try without thinking about anybody else or if they would want to do it.
I fell more in love with my own city.
I hiked and got fat.
I traveled to pretty places just to sit and read.
I made art, random, ridiculous, silly things. I went on rides, went skinny dipping.
I went to restaurants, AMAZING restaurants, sometimes “all you can eat” restaurants! I love food in every sense of the word “love”, and believe me I found LOVE on these dates. I found love in way more ways than one. I found light in places I would never have looked before. More than anything, I found independence in my love of myself. People say no one will love you if you don’t love you, but who the fuck cares who loves you if you don’t love you?
Self love is not a linear journey, my friends.
Believe me, I LOVED myself on those dates. I have loved myself many times in my life. However that light just goes sometimes and when it does, you have to fight to find your way back.
I live with bipolar disorder so losing myself can be extreme, but everyone loses themselves sometimes. No person has ever loved every second of who they were. We all have old versions, skeletons of people we hate that we ever were. During the solo dates, I only knew that I was an anxious person. I thought it was just anxiety, maybe more than the average. The dates inspired me to work on my mental health and seek treatment, which has led me from diagnosis to living a healthy life.
I planned on compiling all of my journals into a book so I could return to it. Instead I got caught up with sports, teaching, friendships, love, and maybe 1 million weddings. There were so many amazing and valid reasons for getting distracted from myself and my projects. However with those distractions, along the way, I also lost her…
I lost that person that I was when I was on those dates.
I lost me, the real, weird, comical me.
I LOST MY MICHIE SMASH! While that started as just a rugby nickname for me, it really began to illustrate for me the person I want to be. That is the me I love. She is the side of me that has this confidence that even surprises me in the moment. She is the rugby player in me making jokes on the field. She is the teacher in me making magic in the form of connections, not just equations. She is the one with a genuine smile. She is who I want to be forever and who I will always strive to find. She is my inner mermaid, my inner traveler. She is everything I want and have ever wanted.
I just got so distracted by the rest of the world that I let go of the things I enjoyed and in turn, I let go of her. I forgot what she even wanted to begin with.
Thank goodness we can always start over, right?
It is five years later and I am finally finding her again for real. It was a slow process losing her so this time she is coming back in bits and pieces, but they’re there.
I mean maybe a book was never right for me to begin with. A blog seems so much more:
Baby, I’ll be the next Carrie Bradshaw, except instead of Sex and the City, I’ll be like “Celibate in the Quarantine” or “Crafts in Small-bany”! Not sure those work.
Anyway, even if no one ends up reading it but my mom, I could still throw away 24 half written journals and put them on the internet FOR REV ER instead.
What do I plan on posting and writing about you ask?
- Pictures and ideas from each of the 100 dates at 25 and comparing it to how I feel now at 30
- Rugby: the sport, the memories, the community, and my other family
- My actual Nutso Extreme Family and our Sorry! habits
- nutrition, working out, yo-yo dieting
- Teaching high school or never leaving high school, whatever you want to call it
- my normal [Facebook] rants about things I love, like food and women
- maybe talk about things I hate too, like peanut butter and the color red
- some archived classics from a younger self
All in all, I plan on writing about all of the weird things inside my head because I figure maybe someone else is out there stuck in their head with the same weird things.
Now I ended my last of the hundred solo dates with a tattoo of that smashing mermaid inside of me. I left blank spaces to give myself time to find my message to me.
The message for whenever I can get tattooed again will be:
“Always find your way back to her”
and that I intend to.
Thank you to my dear friend, Karen, for humoring me when I made her look at this message over and over to make sure it was perfect. Like all of my other tattoos, I kind of just knew and that was it.
So here we are.
Cheers to Michie Smashing Thoughts