Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Love, Life and Being Okay with Being Alone

Love, Life and Being Okay with Being Alone

On this blog I write a whole ton about photography, a whole ton about photoshoots, weddings, editing and business ventures.

Since the events of early this year, I've not felt like being open about romantic relationships and it's been nice to take my online-heart of my sleeve for now, almost a year.

sometimes you have to let go

Between April '07 - Feb '10 I received SO many emails from you guys, telling me that my story had inspired you to give your own long distance relationships a go, that they had new hope in love, that they re-learned to appreciate their boyfriends, girlfriends, wives and husbands being so close by.

Reading those emails gave ME hope in return, some made me chuckle, some made me sad, but mostly and more than anything those emails gave me an overwhelming feeling of support and community that was a rock for me when I came back to the UK this February.

the world spins madly on

It's weird writing about this, and I hope I'm not crossing any lines in doing so. What I want to do with this blog post is to talk about the struggles that come with becoming single, and staying that way despite the loneliness. I've received a few emails from people, asking for my help, and how to cope;

"I try to be happy as I was before - (the girl with a heart made of stone, you know). But sometimes when I'm alone I just think about how much I miss him and I just want to see him for 5 seconds just to give him a hug and it brings me nearly to tears. Is there anything that I can do? What's wrong with him? He says, he misses me. But does he really? Rosie, I feel sad because I can't move my little self on and just ask him a simple question like, ''what do you feel after all?'' or ''Do you still think we can make it?'' Maybe I'm just afraid of his answer."

So I figured I'd share a blog post on my thoughts on love, relationships, guys and singledom (and how awesome it is)

a new world

For me, I have ALWAYS been a re-bounder. I've always had some guy to like, some romantic relationship brewing somewhere. But this time, I haven't.

There have been a few dates in my 10months of singledom, but more often than not, I've been alone, nothing brewing, and it's been a shock to my system. There have been times where I felt like I needed a boyfriend NOW, like I was going to be alone forever, that maybe I wasn't capable of being loved and other melodramatic, sweeping statements.

Luckily those moments were fleeting and in the darker times, but even when I had bounced back up there was this aching I felt for the first 7months, like I was missing something.

My life felt like it was waiting for a knight in shining amour to stroll into it, like Prince Charming would be sat waiting in the pub for me (hilarious story for another time, this actually happened).

Being Okay with Being Single

Step 1) This is going to sound cliched, silly and kinda rubbish. But music has helped me SO much. Listening to the words of people who've been there, felt that, done that, written a song about it - it made all my feelings okay.

I also kinda listened to them in healing order. Here's a selection of songs that really helped, in the order I listened to them, and a cut of the lyrics:

I don't know if I could stand another hand upon you
All I know is that I should
'Cos she will love you more than I could
She who dares to stand where I stood

And I won't be far from where you are if ever you should call
You meant more to me than anyone I ever loved at all
But you taught me how to trust myself and so I say to you
This is what I have to do

So it's Christmas time, it's been three years.
And someone else is knitting things for your ears.

I have come to learn I'll only see you
interrupting my dreams at night
And that's alright. And that's alright. And
that's alright. And that's alright.

I should tell you that you were my first love.

And it's alright. And it's alright. And it's alright.

Sometimes there's airplanes I can' t jump out
Sometimes there's bullshit that don't work now
We are god of stories but please tell me
What there is to complain about
When you're happy like a fool
Let it take you over
When everything is out
You gotta take it in

Oh this has gotta be a good life
This has gotta be a good life
This could really be a good life, good life

And after the storm,
I run and run as the rains come
And I look up, I look up,
on my knees and out of luck,
I look up.
Night has always pushed up day
You must know life to see decay
But I won't rot, I won't rot
Not this mind and not this heart,
I won't rot.

And there will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears.
And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
Get over your hill and see what you find there,
With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair.

Do you know what it's like to fall on the floor
And cry your guts out 'til you got no more
Hey man now you're really living

Just saw the sun rise over the hill
Never used to give me much of a thrill
But hey man now i'm really living

It's empty in the valley of your heart
The sun, it rises slowly as you walk
Away from all the fears
And all the faults you've left behind

But I will hold on hope
And I won't let you choke
On the noose around your neck

And I'll find strength in pain
And I will change my ways
I'll know my name as it's called again

And finally:

This video changed me alot. I love being alone, so much. When I was i the US I would randomly take off, storm out, headphones in and just walk. I remember once walking to a deserted parking lot, just lying on the ground, and looking up. I stayed there for about two hours, just being alone, finally. I craved it. I still do. I feel alive when I am alone. Introverted, and I wouldn't want it any other way.

This video gave me the jolt I needed to get rid of my inner urge for a relationship, my inner urge for love.
Because at the end of the day, the only person we're going to be dealing with for certain our entire lives is ourselves.

nightmare number 5 or 6

And forget "you need to love yourself before you can love someone else" - even that phrase itself still freaking talks about love like it is necessary for a person. It's not. I NEEDED to realize that.

Having someone love me, getting married, having kids and living happily ever after will never make me a complete person.

What makes me a complete person is loving being alive, and learning to embrace and celebrate every damn part of that, WHATEVER my circumstances are. I say hell yeah.

This is not a case of being an "independent woman", "not needing a man" to be happy and learning to love myself so that my next relationship can be healthy.

This is a case of mental survival against any odds life throws at me, and regardless of what happens in my love life to come, I want to be happy in LIFE.

And with that, I leave you my current song:

I kind of veered off point a little there and wrote a loooottt more than I planned on writing, but for those who have asked me for dating advice, here is the advice I swear by.

It is also why I am still single.
(but I see this as a good thing)

1. I will not go out with a man who hasn't asked me out first.
2. I will not go out with a man who keeps me waiting by the phone.
3. I will not date a man who isn't sure he wants to date me.
4. I will not date a man who drinks or does drugs to an extent that makes me uncomfortable.
5. I will not date a man who makes me feel sexually undesirable.
6. I will not be with a man who's afraid to talk about our future.
7. I will not, under any circumstances, spend my precious time with a man who has already rejected me.
8. I will not date a man who is married.
9. I will not be with a man who is not clearly a good, kind, loving person.

I pinched all of these from this book:

He's Just Not That Into You

This is my bible of dating. Since February I have just about followed this to a T. And it's all good - learning to know when a guy just isn't into me has just about set me free!

When I was younger I would usually get pretty upset if a guy didn't want to date me, or gave me hot and cold signals, or didn't call (i sound like i'm writing the blurb haha), but now I have no problem with it - and I say 'more power to ya' to the blokes who don't want a serious relationship (but are a'okay with trying to get their wicked way!! :P Keyword here is 'trying').

It's cool, I don't mind at all - you're young, go enjoy your life and have fun. I'm not invested until I'm invested. No hard feelings. :o)

Happy days people - if you made it through to the end, I'm impressed!!


  1. This is ace (and the music is ace too) even for guys. I kind of went through a similar "I don't need to love or be loved by someone in order to be a real person" kind of thing, and it's just like you say - it's so liberating. I am now happily single... not that I'll fend off interested women with sticks... but that if it happens and it works, good, and if it doesn't, then also good.

  2. i think that is very noble of you to share your personal experience with people you don't have any idea who they are.

    i believe that the most difficult part of being single is actually other people, everyone always expect that you are creating your future with someone else. at least for me it is.

  3. Thank you for sharing that music, I really like the Ingrid Michaelson, Missy Higgy, Mumford & Sons and Simon and Garfunkel music, apart from The Cave, I'd never heard any of these songs before!

  4. ''I feel alive when I am alone. Introverted, and I wouldn't want it any other way'' - These words rang out to me ..

    Thanks for sharing Rosie

  5. Daer Rosie,

    I love you for posting this. These are words I say to my friends everyday and they either look at me like I'm crazy, or tell me they're envious they can't get into this mindset. I watch so many young girls lives wasted by the losers they can't tear themselves away from because they're afraid of being alone. It's nice to see another girl my age be strong and strictly stick to her standards! :-D

  6. Rosie, you're so amazing. I've been single for 5 years now and some days I just want to scream as I'm so bloody lonely but then I remember my friends and everyone else who I have in the world and it makes it OK again - more than that, it makes it brilliant. Thanks so much for being so honest in your blog, it's great to read something so down to earth. Your photos are so beautiful too.


  7. Hi Rosie,

    I have no idea if you remember me but I wrote to you more than a couple of times, we have a similar history when it comes to dating someone who lives in the US. You and I started dating someone across the ocean by the same time and we also broke up by the same time. I also tried to move to the US. But while you went visiting, I tried to get a visa by being married, to soon find out that I wasnt who he really wanted. Then I had to reset my life.

    I am now living the love story of my life but I truly understand how being single can be amazing. You get the time to yourself and do an amount of thing you could barely had the guts to do it if you were in a relationship.

    I am proud of you, and I love to see you improving when it comes to photography ^^ You are so talented missy! And I do believe that being single also helped on that matter.

    So, kudus to you!

    And you'll find a prince sooner or later, it will come to you (:

    And if you ever come to Portugal, let us know *-* I'd love to meet u. /rant


  8. Its hard to put ourselves out there... I do it often on my personal blog and get crucified sometimes. Ive had people tell me how bad a mother I am, how bad a wife I am, how I am certain things, that I know I am not... but just hearing them can bring you down. However. I am strong in who I am and I know I answer to only one... and He is my one judge, not others.

    Ive never had a long single time in my life... besides a young teen... I got married at 19 and had my 1st baby just shy of 21... I just recently turned 27... and have 3 boys... and going on 8 years of marriage. Insane!

    Even though I am married though... and to my best friend... there are times where I need to be alone... and I think we all need that time.

    Use this single time in your life to grow as a person... I dont know if you are a believer, but being single gives you an awesome time to grow closer to Christ. I feel like I never have alone time any more and wish I did many days... just to wake up in the morning and not have a task at hand... sip and eat my breakfast alone checking a few emails or reading. Then again, I wouldnt trade my children for anything... still would be nice some days hehe.

    I enjoyed reading this. you are beautiful Rosie. And I know you dont know me, but I often think about you and have prayed the Lord gives you guidance. You almost became a neighbor of mine in NC, I lived fairly close to Chapel Hill. It would of been cool to connect and photograph weddings together! :)

    Rock on with your amazing photography and stand strong.


  9. Thanks so much for posting this, I went through a heart-wrenching break up a few months ago but somehow I knew I would be ok because I am so great when I am alone. :)
    I think there is strength in independence and that everyone should be alone in life for some amount of time so that they can realize just how wonderful they are without relying on someone else.
    No matter how much I enjoy my independent life I am still always going to wish that you will someday be my wedding photographer. :)

  10. not sure what to said.. but I enjoy the music :)

  11. I have always felt uncomfortable with people using "your half" as a term for girlfriend/boyfriend. A half? What does that mean - that you feel whole only when you are with that person? And all the time when you are alone you are just a half, not complete? That is so depressing! I am not a half, I am a whole, complete person. And yes, the other person is +1, but I don't need anyone else to be complete.

  12. I've been through everything you describe, bit by bit, and when the time is right, everything seems to work out perfectly. and I've also confirmed that everything we ask for in life eventually arrives, everything. even the tiniest little thing. (I used to wish when i was a child for a box full of candy and chocolate, and now I get one every year for my birthday hehe)

  13. i've been following your story since it first broke as an msnbc story, just silently watching and reading your posts on flickr and twitter.

    i've felt sad when you've been low, and i am happy to see that you feel happier in your life. i think that's what experience does. experience, and time.

    i am excited to follow your life, and i hope more amazing things happen for you.

  14. hi rosie,

    this is a blog post that i wanted to write last nite, in the end i just cried myself to sleep as i think there's not point of writing about it..

    but u did, and wierd as it seems everything u wrote spelled out what i am currently feeling.

    thanks for sharing the musics. they are awesome. you are too :)

    i wish all joy and happiness to you. and wish eventually one day we'll meet that prince charming we ever dreamt of :P

    ♥ u very much!

  15. Hi Rosie,

    Can i just say, a huge well done to you for being so very brave! You have the most incredible will power i've ever seen, and you give out so much passion in every single post.

    I've been following you almost two years on Flickr and now on your blog, and so i've seen you go through your whole process of accepting yourself, and i can definitly see a whole new you, a mature and beautiful you :)

    About three years ago, my ex boyfriend moved from where we lived in Switzerland, so Tokyo, Japan. I was 16 and we'de been together 1 year... it was the hardest thing i've ever done having to say goodbye to him, and of course being too young to ever see him, i still to this day have never seen him. But after 9 months of a hard long distance relationship, i realized that the situation was just too painful. I think the next year of limbo i was in, i maybe forgot why i'd decided to end our relationship.. i wasnt happy with being alone and there were so many times when i thought i could just run away onto a plane...

    And then i'd listen to Missy Higgins' "Where I Stood" and just like you, that song helped SO much.

    I can finally say i have been in a new loving and incredible relationship for a year and a half, and we're living together in England in Uni now :) I may need to leave him at the end of this year, and it terrifies me that i may be in the same sitatuation again.. but reading this gives me hope that maybe i'm just going to have to do, what i have to do.

    You're an inspiration Rosie, you really truely are.

    All the best,

    Olivia xxx

  16. I feel like you've written this for me!!! Thanks for sharing, Rosie! I'm single too, and I'm okay with that!

  17. I have been happy & married for 10 years! It never ends, when you are single people ask you why? When you are married it is the next thing "when are you going to have kids"? It is always the next thing..

    You have an amazing outlook, so so smart. Here is a song for you!

    Bless The Broken Road by Rascal Flatts

  18. I highly suggest reading "Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus." I know it sounds lame but it really gives you an interesting perspective for those who aren't in tune to knowing themselves enough on how they act in relationship and communication.

    I always try and help anyone who needs relationship advice trying to give them a chance to vent and another perspective of the situation. The one thing people never realize is that one day they will be happy single or not. That we will all find someone and that we shouldn't have to look and be pushed by others to look. Eventually we will find someone. And others just needs to understand and learn to allow people to go at their own pace for someone.

  19. Awsome post. I used to be the same way, since I was 18 I always had a boyfriend, didnt go more than a month being single and re-bounded pretty quickly. Out of the blue my boyfriend of 2 and a half years dumped me over the phone! I was gobsmacked and had all the thoughts of "I dont want to be on my own" "When will I meet someone new" "I'll never meet anyone else". But then I just decided to embrace it.Instead of concentrating on getting a date or meeting someone (I even signed up to ffs!) I just decided to enjoy being single for a while and doing what I wanted when I wanted. Had great days just wandering around by myself, going up to the park for a 3 hour walk with my ipod and just enjoy it. I've been with my current boyfriend a year now (although known him for two years, he was our IT guy in the office) but still like to get my own alone time by taking a day off and going for a long walk or just an hours swim after work. I think everyone needs to be on their own sometimes, just to gather your thoughts, theres nothing wrong with it. :)

  20. Loved your post.. I have Mumford and Sons lyrics on my door that I look at every morning before I leave the house.

    "And there will come a time, you'll see, with no more tears.
    And love will not break your heart, but dismiss your fears.
    Get over your hill and see what you find there,
    With grace in your heart and flowers in your hair."

    I went to their concert and I really needed to hear those words at that time...and it probably didn't really happen, but when Marcus sang those lyrics he was looking right at me :D

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  22. Hi Rosie, thank you so much for posting. I went through your blog primarily for photography but then I came across this post. I honor you for being open about your feelings and your experiences. Not all people can stand bravely and openly about their lives especially online where the whole world can reach you. I have that same fear -I am afraid of letting people know what I am going through. I can post all the positive things that are happening but I am afraid of letting people see my soft side. This stops me from blogging especially on the personal aspects. Reading your blog helped me realize that who knows somebody else on the other side of the world needs your story and that your posts may help them in ways you cant imagine... just as what your posts have been doing to us. I am inspired and I hope to inspire more people like you.

    Being happy while you are alone doesn't only apply to single people but to people in relationships as well. When we are not happy by being with ourselves 'alone' we tend to depend too much on our partner. This is not healthy either. Enter into a relationship only, when you are complete and you have filled your own heart with love- because you can never give what you do not have.

    You have to be complete first because when you don't, the relationship suffers. You don't give love then, you give neediness.

    There's no single person who can fill us. I believe only God can love us and fill us with the unconditional love we need and we deserve.

    Stay happy. You deserve it.

    Good luck to you Rosie!
    Keep all the wonderful posts coming!
    You inspire me.

    Jessica from Singapore

  23. being alone can be wounderfull i am currently alone fighting my feelings inside but once you start getting use to it it isnt that bad its not the best but you have to make the most of it

  24. thanks for posting this! i needed it more than i could ever tell you, especially today.

  25. i can't tell you how much this helped me. thank you.