As a powerhouse of a singer and woman, this year's Woman of the Year and a survivor of all kinds of recent heartbreak, Ariana Grande is everything, to understate it. Her song "thank u, next" is also everything. It uses my lowercase aesthetic. More importantly, though, it's the female empowerment-centered self-love jam I needed years ago. It's the jam I believe all people need.
For a big portion of my life, I wanted a boyfriend. I talked about how "he would be the final piece to me being fully happy." I tried dating apps, none of which brought anything great. I was like a dog looking for a squirrel on the first day of classes. I didn't realize then how much of a shame that is.
I would go on dates here and there, "talk to" guys and find myself in various forms of casual relationships. I would inevitably get overly excited. I would animatedly share details with friends, text these guys often, try to hang out with them more, and feel upset when nothing happened or whatever we had randomly ended.
Like Grande sings in her song "thank u, next," I met guys who just weren't a match. I met guys who treated me well and whom I clicked with but didn't work out with because of timing. I learned love; I learned patience; I learned pain.
But again, as Grande sings, the love that she's lost isn't the point, yet it also holds purpose. It's about how you find yourself in the details without a significant other. It's about what you learn about yourself and your needs from what you've just experienced. It's about what could go better next time and what didn't serve you this time. It's about finding a home within yourself, not anyone else.
Earlier on this semester, I realized I am not happy with, nor do I deserve, the drama that can come with relationships. I have so many good friends, organizations I'm involved in, homework to do, people to love, and outside stressors to need any "final piece" to be happy, especially when that "final piece" comes with more hurt than happiness.
I wish I had this moment years ago. I wish I had gotten fed up sooner, appreciated my worth quicker, and realized you cannot find your home in anyone but yourself. I wish I had "thank u, next" long before now.
Let me be clear, though: I am not a man-hating feminist if those even exist (they don't). I am also certainly not opposed to a significant other of any kind. However, I am opposed to toxic relationships, broken boundaries, and unnecessary drama. I am also opposed to the old version of myself who felt like she needed a boyfriend to be fully happy because she was unnecessarily sad and had tunnel vision. She had not yet found her home in herself. She would take what she got. She felt it when the teacher of the main character, Charlie, in the "Perks of Being a Wallflower" movie, said, "We accept the love we think we deserve."
Spoiler alert: she deserved better. And now, she will not take any less.