Welcome to 365 days of love! If you’ve been following the daily stories, welcome back! If this is your first time reading, amazing to have you and welcome! Here is the brief introduction to what we are doing here, but essentially I (and hopefully you by sharing your stories) are sharing one story a day for the next year(365 to be exact) to show incredible ways we could meet the love of our life as well as share insights on the thing we all crave the most as humans - Love. Why? Because we want to be the people who invest in possibilities rather than impossibilities (as well as increase the amount of love in our lives).
Every story would fall in one of the following categories (the category in bold is the one that we will discuss today):
Fictional story of where we could have met someone today (fostering the mindset of possibility)
Factual story of a love story (inspiring us from real life stories)
Insights/thoughts about love
LETS SEE WHAT LOVE HAS IN STORE FOR US TODAY - DAY 5 OF 365 DAYS. LETS KICK THIS OFF!
Contributed by: Sumayya Tobah, Freelance journalist
I met my dream man. Twice.
The first time I met the man I would go on to marry, I was 22 years old, about to go on to a post-graduate degree and living a sham of a life. We met on a sunny October afternoon (4 years ago to be exact), and I think I knew right away that he was the man I wanted to marry, but our engagement would last only a few months before ending the following summer.
We didn’t know it at the time, but two years later, we would be officially celebrating our engagement.
This story is not about my engagement per se. It’s about what happened after that failed first attempt, and what I had to go through before we found our way back to each other again. Because while it may sound incredibly dramatic, during the two years we were apart, my life literally flipped upside down. The life of Sumayya Tobah was altered or reversed in every aspect, in one way or another.
You see, when we called off our engagement the first time, I was incredibly unhappy. I knew, I knew in my heart that this was the person I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. And yet, due to so many factors beyond my control, we fell apart. But as time ticked on -- one day later, one week later, one month later -- and I was still unhappy, I decided I needed a change.
Not a change. I needed a revolution.
First thing I did, I changed my setting. Literally.
I left the small Canadian town that had been my home for about eight years, and moved to Washington D.C. to work full time as a journalist covering the 2016 election. I left with two suitcases of sweaters, a couple of hijabs and a serious chip on my shoulder. I was fully prepared to embrace this new chapter of my life and become the person I had been dreaming of. And in doing that, I was trying to accept that my future might not include a significant other.
Journalists are notorious for having no personal lives. Going into my career I was so sure I would be in it alone. I was working 14 hour days, obsessed with the DC scene and desperately trying to break into the world here. But I was ecstatic. For the first time in my life, I had chosen my own home.
The next thing I did was clear my life of any and all toxic relationships.
Some of this happened naturally but most was completely conscious. As soon as I moved out to DC on my own, I stopped having a lot in common with my friends back in Canada. Why would I care about small town gossip? I didn’t want to hear about so-and-so engagement or whats-her-name’s breakdown. I was worried about paying rent. I was overwhelmed with the news cycle. I did not fit into the mold that these girls were used to. And I was sick of the bullshit.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with cutting out people in your life who are fake, who do not understand your purpose, who make you unhappy. While my friendships lasted since high school, they were empty. For years I had been feeling restless and unsatisfied by empty conversations and shallow people. But looking around at fifteen, at nineteen, at twenty-one, I remember asking myself, who do I have to turn to? what choice to I have?
Well, I had a choice now.
I truly believe a person’s friends is a representation of who they are. I was looking at the girls who were in my life at the time and I thought, is that how I want to speak? How I want to represent myself? How I want to be thought of?
Which is probably how I came to the realization that I didn’t really know myself.
So I re-centered myself.
In a new city, without any of my former friends, I found myself facing silence. Literal silence. It was the uninvited guest waiting in my apartment every night when I returned from the bustling Newsroom. Growing up in a big family, I had never experienced silence like this. And with the exception of my family and a select few friendships, I was completely on my own. It was at this time, I began to rediscover who I was. In some ways, this was a spiritual experience; I found myself attending more faith-based events, taking more care during prayers, making sure my spiritual and mental health was taken care of.
In other ways, it was totally practical. I didn’t have anyone to go to movies with, go to dinner with, attending work functions with, so I had to learn to stand on my own. Believe me when I say this was the most terrifying and most cherished time in my life. I needed that time to travel, to work, to just breathe on my own before I was able to commit to someone else in my life.
Looking back at that time on my own, not only did I learn who I was, I learned to diminish others’ opinions of me. Whether that was the town that never felt like home, the frienemies who were leaching off of me, or the passersby who judged as I enjoyed a meal alone. Every morning I wake up in this skin, with its scars, blemishes and imperfections. I wake up with this impossible mind and this resilient heart. I had to know it and love it inside and out before I could surrender it to another.
And so, when I met my dream man for the second time, a year later, he was exactly the same. But I was a completely changed woman.
A big thank you to the beautiful human being, Sumayya for sharing her story and a few of the many lessons she has learnt. If you have a story or thoughts on love that you would like to share please get in touch. We have 300 more articles to share and we hope to hear from you!
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With lots of love,