I remember the first time I saw him. He was wearing a pink button-down, black pants and an FSU belt buckle. I had come in to apply for a job and he was behind the counter. He was gorgeous, with jet-black hair and piercing green eyes. He was so gorgeous that I called my mom to tell her all about him. I didn’t get called in for an interview, but I did see him later at the other restaurant location. I went to visit my brother who was waiting tables and there he was. Needless to say, I started visiting more and more, hoping to catch a glimpse of him. Sure enough whenever I came in, he would stop by my table and we would talk for a few minutes. I had been single for just a few months and was still heartbroken. I was not ready to date anyone … but I had to know him. And I felt that he wanted to know me too.

Casual conversations and mild flirting led to a very passionate, intense and fucked up dynamic. He had cheated on his ex just as I had cheated on mine. He was a mess just as I was. We both felt broken, unlovable, damaged. Our loneliness brought us together – perhaps in the hope that we could somehow save each other. I left myself wide-open, desperate to be loved by him while he was busy building a wall 50-feet high. No one was allowed on the other side. I wanted to climb over that wall more than anything. I was convinced that unconditional love and salvation were somehow waiting for me on the other side. I thought I could save him from his own demons, of which there were many. There were drugs, drinking and a temper that I feared. I knew he had hit his ex and while I was pretty sure he would never hit me, I wasn’t certain. I confronted him about another woman he was seeing behind my back and he quickly vanished. About six months later I saw him and this time he had a girlfriend that he lived with.

Sadly it didn’t stop either of us from remaining involved with each other. He told me he loved me and that I was the girl of his dreams and I believed him. So I let myself remain sidelined, a plan B for when their relationship went south. I was his dirty little secret and it was a secret that went on for years. I moved. Then he moved. And still it continued. Despite the distance and the pain, I let myself fall back into it every time convinced that THAT would be the time that I could persuade him to love me. The love never came and the man that I wanted to come and rescue me never showed. I was always met with disappointment and eventual abandonment.

While I needed to accept that he would never love me, the greater lesson to learn was that it was my deep belief that I was unlovable, that manifested him into my life in the first place. I could not hate him because I had called him in. I needed to understand that he was a representation of every negative thought I had about myself and about how undesirable I was. I would continue to attract men like him for the rest of my life, unless I worked on shifting those beliefs. I had to build-up my self-worth and my self-esteem. Before I met him, I had been feeling so shameful and guilty for cheating. I had ruined my relationship and felt like scum. Garbage. I told myself that I was unlovable for so long that I truly believed it. Our beliefs create our reality and in order to change them, they must be confronted. Otherwise, we will continue to attract the same thing until an internal shift happens.

I had to accept that I was lonely and needy and insecure. I had to be okay with the fact that I had cheated. I had to own all my shame around letting myself be used for so long. I had to understand the ways in which I was co-dependent and why I was obsessed with being loved. All of that work had to be done because those were all the things that prevented me from loving myself. Accepting all of it meant accepting all of me – the liberation and unconditional love I so desperately wanted from someone else could only ever be given by me. In loving the darkness, I was able to make room for more light to come in. He was the greatest lesson in self-love and self-acceptance.

 My story is a testament that what we don’t resolve emotionally will manifest in the physical – be it a relationship, job, illness, whatever. We all have the incredible ability to manifest whatever we want in this life, be it good or bad (you are powerful either way). We must therefore take full responsibility and ownership for what shows up; it is a mirror. If it is something negative, understanding why we attracted it will help us ensure we do not do so again.

Ultimately, we are the makers of our own creations.

Julia Piantini