How Never Falling In Love Showed One Writer Her Most Important Relationship.

How Never Falling In Love Showed One Writer Her Most Important Relationship., Anna Vatuone, How to be single, Self Love, How to love yourself, How to be happy when you're single, reasons to be single, how to get over a break up, life hack, life advice, love advice, personal story, feminism, intersectionality.
Art by Cristiane Spangsperg. Words by Anna Vatuone.

How Never Falling In Love Showed One Writer Her Most Important Relationship. I have seized an abundance of noteworthy experiences; traveled to many different countries, built lasting relationships with people from all over the world, and can truthfully say I’ve created a life I’m proud of and excited for. Though I can’t say falling in love has ever been on this list of treasures. When people talk of romance I know only so much, and I suppose it’s true one will never know an intimate sort of love until it’s felt. There have been many wonderful men who have walked into my life, many men who have thrilled me, even courted me, and have ultimately contributed to the ways in which I have grown and matured over the last 10 years. Though none whose names have been etched in my memory bank. I have been single for nearly nine years now.

When I let a detail like that slip, often times people look at me wide eyed. It’s not normal per say. Im 23. Certainly, I should’ve had a high school sweetheart, even a serious boyfriend through college, or even a more serious relationship after college. But no, it never quite happened that way. I come from a family of intellectuals, my brothers and I grew up discussing politics at the dinner table. We learned how to articulate what we felt and never to be ashamed of speaking our truth. I grew up with parents who encouraged me to think intellectually, they listened to my thoughts intently, and have further challenged those beliefs my entire life. It would make sense that I would desire a similar connection in my adult relationships. My hunger for deep and meaningful relationships is what propels everything I stand for. And because of this, I thrive and I also suffer.

How Never Falling In Love Showed One Writer Her Most Important Relationship., Anna Vatuone, How to be single, Self Love, How to love yourself, How to be happy when you're single, reasons to be single, how to get over a break up, life hack, life advice, love advice, personal story, feminism, intersectionality.

I have watched my best friends develop fulfilling relationships with men who adore them. I have counseled them, cried with them, rejoiced with them. There have been moments where I’ve wrestled with my own bitterness, days where I would’ve given anything just to feel what they felt, just to feel loved by a man who truly knew me. Part of me wonders if I’m missing the boat, if I’m gambling on a love that will never come. Have I set the bar too high? Have I shut out possibilities of significant relationships out of fear that they never could be? Though I can think of nothing more suffocating than being bound to a lukewarm relationship. I hold no grudges, no remorse, nor guilt; but I have no love songs to commemorate my name, and no lasting relationships to speak wistfully of.       

So, this is where my advice to you begins; nine years of the most fulfilling relationship I’ve ever had: the one with myself. How does one cope with solitude? Whether you’ve been single for many years, or just now exiting an existing relationship, there are many ways to brave the world of aloneness. It starts with one’s own natural disposition. You have to come from a place of love. I see it again and again; women who are afraid of being alone. Though how can anyone blame them when we live in a society that says singleness correlates with insufficiency? This is simply not true. On the contrary, singleness… can be one of the most extraordinary times of your life.

There is security in companionship. Humans have an unceasing thirst for intimacy; we look for connection in all areas of our lives, and we seek out those who we feel can fulfill those desires. So when romantic companionship is missing, we can feel empty, like something truly significant is ceasing to exist. Instead of pushing these feelings away, sit with them. You can have a longing in your heart, and still find a way to be satisfied and fulfilled in your life. There is no shame in wanting a partner, in seeking a life that has all the essential components connecting. The problem arises when you forgo possibilities in your present, when there is a fixation on something that isn’t there. I’ve learned to practice the art of contentment, but this is something you have to actively pursue. If we look close enough, we can see there are ways to feel content in solitude.

Singleness is a time that allows for growth and self-discovery apart from inhibition. I know myself in a way that is so intimately, and beautifully untouchable by anyone else. I’ve used this time of aloneness to wrestle with my deepest insecurities, vulnerabilities, and sorrow. Yet in these dark moments of truth, I’ve also seen parts of myself that are covered in goodness and in  grace. Over these last 9 years I have actively made the time to know myself; fully and unfiltered. Deep down I have known it couldn’t have been done with a partner. No, the edge have self discovery had to be done in only the company of myself.

I’ve learned that not only am I capable, I’m strong. I’ve learned how to care for myself in a way that’s holistically loving and nurturing. I’ve learned how to cheer myself up, and make room for healthy criticism where needed. Of course, there are days where I miss a man I’ve never known, where I desire the deep intimacy of a romantic relationship. Though I have found companionship in many corners of my life: in my love of writing, in my thirst for fellowship, in passion for my blog, in my excitement for travel; all these give me such joy and ask of me so much. I give myself to these passions and they love me back in a way that is endlessly fulfilling and produce such happiness and exhilaration. When I look at my life, when I step back and look down, I know I have been loved deeply through all of these.

There is a quote by Matt Kahn I’ve always liked. It goes like this, “Despite how open, peaceful, and loving you attempt to be, people can only meet you, as deeply as they’ve met themselves.” This is an invitation to heartily knowing oneself. My wish for you is an endless walk of self-love and discovery. May you sit quietly with yourself in moments of sorrow and in joy. Be truthful, ask questions, dig deeper. Whether you find yourself alone, or in relationship this season, make room for your own company. Just as we love and get to know others, you, yourself is asking of only the same. Meet yourself deeply.

This article was sent to us by the beautiful soul Anna Vatuone, find more of her writing here.

 

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Art, Heartbreak, & How To Deeply Love Yourself With Woodworker Aleksandra Zee!

Art, Heartbreak, & How To Deeply Love Yourself With Woodworker Aleksandra Zee! NOW ON VERITE PUBLISHED --- Aleksandra Zee, Oakland, San Francisco, Artist, Woodworker, Female entrepreneur, Blonde, desert, photography, VSCO, California, Model, Americana, Style, Neutrals, how to love yourself, compassion, strength, feminism, how to have confidence, social media, instagram.
A rolling wave of blonde hair, a vast landscape ahead that looks as if it could engulf her at any moment — suck her back into its center. It doesn’t though, there’s always a strength to her, rooting her feet on the rock she stands atop. Woodworker Aleksandra Zee may be known to you from her dreamy, golden hued virtual postcards, and entrancing works of art that will make you stop in your tracks mid-Instagram scroll. She’s not just her online representation though, as any woman she is thick with dynamics, journeys, insights. Fearlessly, she shares snippets of these with us through her captions — using the social media platform to as a way of saying “Hey! I’m in this with you.” — however today we get very real with the talented woman on her art, heartbreak, & how to deeply love yourself!
 Art, Heartbreak, & How To Deeply Love Yourself With Woodworker Aleksandra Zee! NOW ON VERITE PUBLISHED --- Aleksandra Zee, Oakland, San Francisco, Artist, Woodworker, Female entrepreneur, Blonde, desert, photography, VSCO, California, Model, Americana, Style, Neutrals, how to love yourself, compassion, strength, feminism, how to have confidence, social media, instagram.
V: What was your first experience with woodworking? Was it love at first bandsaw?
AZ: My frist experience with woodworking was just a bit in college, making frames and things but nothing much. My first job out of college was at Anthropologie as a Display Artist and so much of it was learn as you go. When I fully started building things I fell in love! Working with wood, being in a shop, I knew it was what I wanted to do and instantly started planning how to make it on my own.
V: What were you doing before you were able to go full time with your creative passions?
AZ: I decided to leave Anthropologie after about three years and knew that for me, having a boss and working/making for someone else was not for me. I needed to make art for myself and put it out there. So I stated small, working as a waitress for just about three years as I built my business. Working days in my humble little shops and nights at a restaurant. I remember the day I quit waiting tables like it was yesterday. I was serving a few girlfriends some margaritas and they asked me why I was still working there, that I was so busy in the shop and didn’t need to keep the side hustle. So I set down their drinks and went up to my manager and told her I would rather be in my studio, and she said yes please go and come back if you ever need to. It felt amazing and scary and crazy and so freeing. It has been a little over three years since that moment and each day has gotten better and more amazing working for myself. It’s hard ass work, and it never stops, but there is nothing else I would rather do.

Art, Heartbreak, & How To Deeply Love Yourself With Woodworker Aleksandra Zee! NOW ON VERITE PUBLISHED --- Aleksandra Zee, Oakland, San Francisco, Artist, Woodworker, Female entrepreneur, Blonde, desert, photography, VSCO, California, Model, Americana, Style, Neutrals, how to love yourself, compassion, strength, feminism, how to have confidence, social media, instagram.

V: You are so wonderfully transparent about the journey a woman takes to come into her own via your social media. Did it ever scare you to be so open?
AZ: At first it was scary, the opinions of others would deeply effect me. When the negative came it would hurt and hold me back. It took a while to grow my thick skin and learn to meditated on the fact that others options of me don’t matter, and they never will. I am responsible for my own energy and my own confidence and happiness. None of that belongs to anyone else. Being committed to openness and vulnerability is something that is so important to me and loving myself though it is so important.
V: Let’s talk about self-love — what life experiences have forced you to come face-to-face with who you are as a woman, and who you want to be?
AZ: This is for sure a loaded question. There are so many experiences that have made me face myself with exactly who I am and who I want to continue to grow into. I grew up with a troubled mother, substance abuse consumed her life and outside of the care my father gave I helped raise my younger sister. That forced me to tap into my nurturing and fierce side at a super young age. Later in life I chose a career that is predominantly male and finding my strong and also feminine (which is powerful and not weak) voice. I felt like I was re-writing what it meant to be feminine for myself. That being a woman didn’t make me weaker but stronger, and promoting that strength in a non competitive and graceful way. About two years ago I lost my mother, and that was a huge face-to-face moment with myself. I needed to strip myself of everything I held onto, the thick skin that I let grow a little too thick and re-open myself to a life of pure vulnerability, not holding myself back because of fears, accepting every bit of who I am and the strength there is in being open.

Art, Heartbreak, & How To Deeply Love Yourself With Woodworker Aleksandra Zee! NOW ON VERITE PUBLISHED --- Aleksandra Zee, Oakland, San Francisco, Artist, Woodworker, Female entrepreneur, Blonde, desert, photography, VSCO, California, Model, Americana, Style, Neutrals, how to love yourself, compassion, strength, feminism, how to have confidence, social media, instagram.Art, Heartbreak, & How To Deeply Love Yourself With Woodworker Aleksandra Zee! NOW ON VERITE PUBLISHED --- Aleksandra Zee, Oakland, San Francisco, Artist, Woodworker, Female entrepreneur, Blonde, desert, photography, VSCO, California, Model, Americana, Style, Neutrals, how to love yourself, compassion, strength, feminism, how to have confidence, social media, instagram.

V: What is the most painful part of your journey in self-study?
AZ: Growing pains happen because you are making new room for the growth that is happening within. A big part of dealing whit what hurts is self acceptance. That you control your happiness, your confidence, your state of mind. Rising above what breaks your heart and accepting that it takes time. Life is full of heartbreak and how you move though the muck is what gives you the information and wisdom to hurdle the next. It hurts to lose a love, lose a family member, have your business take an unexpected turn, but all of those things happen to show the path before you and the choice you have to hit the ground running. So for me, my heartbreaks and pain that I have lived though are maps and footprints in the path I have chosen, I wouldn’t change it, I love where I have been and where it is shaping me to move forward into.Art, Heartbreak, & How To Deeply Love Yourself With Woodworker Aleksandra Zee! NOW ON VERITE PUBLISHED --- Aleksandra Zee, Oakland, San Francisco, Artist, Woodworker, Female entrepreneur, Blonde, desert, photography, VSCO, California, Model, Americana, Style, Neutrals, how to love yourself, compassion, strength, feminism, how to have confidence, social media, instagram.
V: I think every woman learns to be gentle with themselves in different ways — I do this thing where I literally talk to my body in times of stress or trauma. Is there a way you’ve learned to be gentle with yourself that helps you deal with trials of the everyday?
AZ: I do he same, I speak positivity to my body, acknowledge the air filling my lungs in each deep breath, wiggle my toes and feel my feet planted on the earth holding up my body. Finding completely presence within my mind and physical body, reminds me that I am alive, I need to check in, and care for myself. It is the easiest way to get my mind bad n track, those sick couple minutes of acknowledging yourself.
V: I’m so glad I’m not the only one that does that! How do you see yourself through your own eyes?

AZ: When I look in the mirror I see strength, I see grace and I see growth. I am always changing, and allowing for that growth is acceptance. I meet myself with an open heart.

Art, Heartbreak, a& How To Deeply Love Yourself With Woodworker Aleksandra Zee! NOW ON VERITE PUBLISHED --- Aleksandra Zee, Oakland, San Francisco, Artist, Woodworker, Female entrepreneur, Blonde, desert, photography, VSCO, California, Model, Americana, Style, Neutrals, how to love yourself, compassion, strength, feminism, how to have confidence, social media, instagram.

V: If you could send one message to young women everywhere what would it be?

AZ: Be fearlessly yourself. No one is you, YOU are you. There is strength in being a woman that should never hold you back from doing exactly what you want to.
V: Three books that have changed your life?
AZ: The Little Prince, currently Reading The Alchemist and it is so so so beautiful, and Just Kids.
V:  When do you feel most yourself?
AZ: I feel most myself when I am creating or when I am out in nature. Free and open, tapped into my soul.
photo credits, from top to bottom: Nikki Ormerod, Antrom Kury, Gillian Walsworth.

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