Lesson #1: Love you 1st, them 2nd.
Updated: May 11, 2022
“You have to learn to love yourself before you can start to love others”- Monkey
It’s been just over two weeks since I unexpectedly became single.
In that time, I’ve managed to:
Suceer a consistent therapist
Start to clear my skin
Further perfect my sidekicks (my signature sparring move)
Move forward with creative plans (stream, photoshoots, writing)
I’d say that’s a pretty productive start to a new chapter in my adult life.
I promised myself and my very skeptical yet caring father that I wouldn’t date for at least a year. After every breakup/heartbreak/separation, he’d advise to take some time off and leave the boys (and some girls) alone. My father had been telling me for years now. He has always had my best interest at heart, and I will always love him deeply for that. But advising or “telling” me what to do? That’s where he went wrong.
I may be his doting daughter, but I am also my righteous mother’s daughter.
I hate being told what to do.
“Just take a break, Su. Focus on you! Stop dating!!”
This is my toxic trait reveal...
One night after class, I boldly stated amongst our Tang Soo Do family and peers: “I’m taking a break from dating,” My father laughed and said, “Yeah, right!”.
I hate, with a searing passion, being told what to do. But I fucking LOVE to prove others wrong just as much, if not more.
Toxic trait number two: Unveiled.
“ ‘Ight. Bet. ” I responded with the toothy shit-eating grin I inherited from him. The deal has been sealed.
Thus here we are- My 1-year dating detox.
Lesson #1: Wise words
I’ve mentioned that I study Tang Soo Do, a traditional Korean martial art focused on mastering kicks, strikes, and self-defense. It's truly my passion, and I could ramble on and on about it. I’m fortunate enough to not only have access to this art but also to have such a warm and wholesome community based around it. I’ve formed so many different types of friendships with so many people, ranging from various character archetypes.
It’s kind of like living in your very own DND campaign- all NPCs and party members are separate, unique factors in the overarching storyline. It’s honestly a very entertaining experience- especially when considering the fact that I don’t just gain martial arts knowledge and dexterity but some real-world application as well.
As I’ve said, I’ve made many friends through martial arts, but not all of them have bloomed into a friendship outside the topic of Tang Soo Do. It’s a very rare thing, but it does happen on occasion. These friendships are formed slowly and over time, rarely ever taking place in under a year. The first (and hardest hurdle in my experience) is the pleasantries, Where you simply say your “hello”s and “good-bye”s and do not really have any reason to communicate past that. But miraculously, faith will put you both in a situation where you must collaborate past a simple “Hi, how are you?”. Often, in martial arts, it happens when you help out at a testing event or lend a hand in teaching a class.
And from there, the snowball rolls with the unstoppable force of friendship.
The conversations flow with ease over the months into years. Next thing you know, your phone is crowded with group chats, the evenings are filled with family dinners, weekends are now boba tea dates, and crying in the passenger seat of your (unexpected) best friend's car is just another story you will bring up during the next family sit down.
I have Tang Soo Do thank for all of those things, but even more so for bringing my bud to deliver these words to me:
“You have to love yourself before you can love others.”
I learned two things at that moment:
My friend was far more emotionally intelligent than I gave him credit for.
If my himbo friend could utter these words to me at 2 am on Tuesday night, crying in the passenger seat of his car in a 7/11 parking lot, then I really wasn’t as much of a chore as I thought.
(Authors note: ShiningMoone if you're reading this- yes, I know you've said it to me too, but I'm a snot-nose little sister and I don't listen.)
I had heard those words before, parted from so many lips, but there was something about the way he said it that made sense. He was so simple and confident about it. He didn’t say it in a way to preach, you know? The way your parents do that makes you feel stupid for even putting yourself in this situation in the first place. Nah. He said it with this tone that said “Yeah, it happens to the best of us. So let’s try this instead.”
Whether or not that’s how he meant it- I’m taking it that way and rolling with it!!!
In the two weeks that I have been single, I’ve done these four things because I want to love myself:
I scheduled regular therapy appointments because I don’t want to repeat the cycle anymore.
Start to take better care of my skin because I want to feel beautiful on the outside too.
I practiced my sidekicks more because I love Tang Soo Do and feel amazing when I do it.
I started to be creative again because even though it’s a fucking struggle, I do it for me, and that’s what I want to do.
Lesson #1 is an ongoing process, and I'll keep you updated. But all these lessons are accumulative, so fingers crossed, I can keep up.
TLDR: I'm rambling again about self-love, and I’m trying really, really hard not to feel bad about it.
Written 5/10/22, the start of the mercury retrograde. And for my mental health, I’m choosing to ignore it :)