I was six years old when I first fell in love with New York City. It wasn’t love at first sight— it was rough and definitely gradual, my family and I had left our home country of Dominican Republic in search of the American dream. Prior to moving to New York, I genuinely thought that the world ended in the corner of my block in El Residencial Jose Contreras, a sub division in Dominican Republic. But as time passed, and the more I got to know New York, I became infatuated with the colors that filled my eyes, the buildings that were as big as my dreams, and the spirit of the people that surrounded me. Safe to say that I was heartbroken when my parents announced that we would be moving to Florida. Even at 13-years-old I knew that I would eventually find my way back to New York City.
I had dreamt of this moment for years and yet when it happened it didn’t look anything like I imagined. I originally thought that I’d pack my bags and I’d make my way to the city with gleaming eyes and a head full of wonders. Instead I was 23-years-old and had just experienced my first real heartbreak. My bags were full of the reminders of the man I thought I’d spend the rest of my life with and my eyes were full—with an endless amount of tears. My excitement was overcome with sadness. Would I be able to conquer this city? This had always been my dream but I guess overtime I had made it “ours”. I found myself in a position that I always feared of being in: dating in New York City. I was all of a sudden living in an episode of Sex and the City.
For five years it was always “We” and all of a sudden everything was about “me”. I will be the first to admit that it was not easy. Moving on is HARD. I would want to pick up the phone and call my ex to tell him about work, or that I got lost on the subway, or about the new bodega I had found but I knew I shouldn’t. I knew that if I wanted to get past this and find happiness again then I’d have to fall in love…with myself …by myself.
Putting myself out there wasn’t something I was used to but I welcomed my new normal with open arms. I spent so many years trying to be someone else’s perfect that I promised myself that I’d be unapologetically me no matter what. It’s exactly what I’ve done for the past year. It’s a bit funny, the pressures of dating, the longing to be wanted. But what I’ve learned is that the only pressure that’s applied comes from within and that if you move past that then dating can actually be kind of fun even if it doesn’t work out.
Over the past 365 days I have gone on dates with around 12 guys, some of them I’ve seen more than once and others once was enough. Surprisingly, I can’t say I’ve gone on any awkward dates (THANK GOD) but they’ve all taught me a lesson. Every guy I’ve dated has taught me something new about myself and what I ultimately want in a partner.
I’ve dated every type of guy at this point: an irresistible Australian, a musician, an entrepreneur, your typical guy in finance, an older man, a writer for the Seth Meyers show….you name it and I’ve dated it haha. They’ve each taught me something different. So what I have I learned dating post-heartbreak?
I’ve learned that it’s okay to let go, that being with someone should be easy, that laughter is the most sexy thing a man can gift you, that being in touch with your sexual side is human nature, to never be ashamed of who you are and what you do, that dreams should be shared, that vulnerability isn’t a sign of weakness, that waking up next to a guy that isn’t your boyfriend doesn’t make you a slut, that nobody is perfect, that it won’t always workout, that sometimes it will, some people are temporary, others will comeback, but no matter what to live life to the absolute fullest because in the end we’re all searching for the same thing.
It took me a long time to come to term with this but I’m glad that everything happened the way it did. Today I can say that I am in love. I am in love with everything I have to offer to the world. I’m not perfect but I have never been more comfortable in my own skin. I’m not afraid to speak up. I’m not afraid to laugh loudly in a quiet room. Most importantly, I’m not afraid to love again. I haven’t found my Mr. Big yet but I’ve found my Miranda, Charlotte, and Samantha and that to me is priceless.