Learning to Love

By Dana Zillgitt, Regular ContributorOctober 25, 2015


image via wdyl.com

Growing up, the women in my family always told me to find myself before I ever fell in love with someone else. They wanted me to fall in love with the image in the mirror before I let anybody else in. So, maybe that’s why it took me so long to find you. I was working on myself first and foremost, and as many know, it’s been a long, long road to appreciating the reflection I saw every morning.

I had to constantly remind myself that I was beautiful, that I was worthwhile, but somehow, you made me forget all of that when you made me laugh for the first time.  I just didn’t know it at the time.

I was 2000 miles away after all. How could I ever be your girlfriend? I didn’t know when I’d be coming home. It was just a far-fetched dream at that point. But I knew, somewhere deep inside, that I needed to keep you around. I needed you in my life, and that’s why being in love with you scares the absolute living shit out of me. I’ve said it a few times over the phone, in person, even in a text. I swore up and down I’d never fall in love again, at least not until I was ready. But that’s the funny thing about love. Sometimes the fairy tales are true.

Love can sneak up on you. It sneaks up on you when you’re not expecting it, but somehow the universe knows you’re ready for something more than casual.

I’ve always been cautious in love, even in life if I’m being honest. But you expected nothing of or from me. You just wanted me, in all of my crazy and all of my weird ways, even my snort laugh. To be honest, I think I’ve been slowly but surely falling in love with you since the day I met you.

You never needed anything from me, but you wanted everything at the same time. I’ve always needed a man like that; who’d give me space when I’d need it but would be willing to share the space with me just to hear me breathe. I never thought I’d fall in love again, maybe a little overdramatic, yes, but still true. But then you came into my life, and I knew I couldn’t let you go. At the time, I didn’t know how or why, but I couldn’t shake that gut feeling. I couldn’t shake you.

Who knows where we’ll end up in life or what we’ll be together when we get there, but I know you’ve altered me in a way I never thought possible. I guess love really does appear  when you’re not looking and when you’re ready. It appears when you’re at a place where you’re happy with yourself, first and foremost. It’s cheesy and cliché (but we all know how I love clichés and Disney movies on repeat). I just want somebody I can eat greasy popcorn with on a Saturday night, laughing until Sunday morning, and I want a partner in crime. I never wanted a prince charming or a knight in shining armour. But I think I always wanted you; a man who’d not only let me be, but also help me grow.

Thank you for showing me how to coexist.

Thank you for being you, maybe even the man I’ve always needed.

So here’s to falling in love with yourself first. Here’s to knowing you’re worth something more than you ever dreamed of, because sometimes you never find your Prince(ss) Charming. You find your partner instead.

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What do you love about yourself? How has loving yourself helped you to love others? Tell us below!

About Dana

DANA_ZILLGITT_writer_bio_(1).jpgDana has her BA in International Affairs & Spanish as well as a mild obsession with rescue animals and all things caffeinated. She’s mastered the art of the selfie, fort building, and even the sass battle. Plus, she can quote 95% of Anchorman and Zoolander. 


Every girl is a work in progress. If you need more help, click here.


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