I used to think that I needed you. I really did. I thought that I needed you to feel loved, that I needed you to feel beautiful. I thought I needed you to be happy. And you found a way to use it against me. You found a way to turn my love into my poison. To turn my feelings into an armory of yours.

But the truth is, I never needed you for any of those things. And I’m so sorry that it took me so long to realize this, that it took me one heartbreak and weeks of depression to realize that I never needed you to feel special. Because I already fucking am.

It took me too long to see beauty in my freckles, my stretch marks and curves. And I think about how I wanted to lose weight for you, because you liked skinny girls better. How I wanted to dye my hair, because you loved blonds. How I wanted to change parts of me, because you didn’t like them enough. The good thing is, now I love them for both of us. Now I love myself the way you never could.

It took me too long to see my worth. To see that I’m so much more than just being your girlfriend, that I’m more than being your arm candy and free sex. I’m so much more than you ever made me think, than you ever made me feel. I’m so much more than you were ever capable of seeing, because you were occupied with all those things I was missing. I didn’t laugh like a lady, I walked too fast, I played pool too well. I was never just right—too much of that and too little of this.

It took me too long to find the strength inside myself. To learn to be my own biggest support, because no one except me will stay forever by my side. When everyone is gone, when everything fades away, I will be the only one there. I’m the only one in my mind, I’m the only one who heard my screams during those nights after you left. I was the only one holding me during those days when you were gone. I’m the only one and I’m fine. I don’t need your kind words to feel pretty, I don’t need your compliments to feel good. I do that for myself every day.

Girl with wind in her hair smiling on beach

It took me too long to find my courage. To be brave enough to walk outside after the months I spent locked up in my room. To go to the hairdresser and cut my long hair, because I messed it up. To apply for a job and to face the possibility of being rejected. To go out clubbing again, because I had no one by my side. To walk around the city, knowing that I might see you. But I did it. I found it along the way, I found the old me. I found that fearless me who could confront anyone and anything. That old me who jumped out of the airplane laughing. I found that old me and she helped me to step outside again, smiling. She helped me to get back on my feet, after you knocked me down.

It took me too long to find my happiness. While I believed that I needed you, I was never truly happy. I was only happy in your arms, in your bed, on your chest. The moment you would leave, I would feel vulnerable, insecure and naked. The moment you would leave, I would feel stripped of all the support. And when you left that one last time, I was completely broken, completely shattered. But I learned to rebuild myself, to stand back on my own two feet. I learned to appreciate the little things about me, to celebrate every single step I make.

I celebrated the first job application I made, the first decline letter I received and the first invitation to a job interview. I celebrated my first day at work, my first paycheck and the first shopping trip I went on. I celebrated every single morning that I woke up, because I was alive and I was good. I celebrated every single night I fell asleep, because I knew that I had done what I loved that day. I knew that I had people who loved me the way I am. I have myself and I have my amazing family. I don’t need you to be happy. I already have myself.