THEME: Sooner or Later

Strive to be Uncomfortable

written by | art by Jada Akoto

Published on May 18, 2018


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Heartbreak yields more clarity than stagnation does.

I broke up with my longterm boyfriend on a Monday. I’m still not entirely sure why. All I know is that I had one of those breakthrough moments of clarity in the midst of uncertainty.

During those moments, I thought of something entirely unexpected: Oprah. I had a lot of doubt and hesitation about my decision to end my relationship, but Oprah’s iteration of “Aha! Moments” made me feel a lot more sane.

I realized that in life, many people reach a point of clarity in the midst of a lot of disparage. For me that newfound lucidness made me realize that I did not want to be in a relationship.

I later realized that I was tired of being comfortable. For me, relationships are a comfort blanket that keep you safe from the turbulence of single-dom. So, my decision to break things off with my longterm boyfriend was in retaliation to that tranquility – whether I knew it at the time or not.

Reflecting back, I find this particularly strange. After all, it seems that my entire life is a mix of unsettling, unexpected things that I have no control of. I am a self-proclaimed workaholic. I take 20 hours per semester at school, work retail, write for a local publication and GrrlPunch. All of these things leave me flustered, stressed, tired. . .anything but comfortable.

So, why would I yearn for more uncertainty? Seemingly comfortable relationships should be my refuge. Why would I go and flip my life upside down on a whim?

I ask these rhetorical questions not because I know the answer, but because they’ve been bouncing around my head ever since that Monday.

I still do not have an answer, but in asking these questions I have learned more about myself. In fact, in the last five months of my single life I have learned more about myself, and who I am, than ever before. Namely, I concluded three things.

To summarize my self-reflective realizations, first, I learned that I am impulsive. That one is a given. Why else would I listen to and follow those “Aha! Moments” so whole-heartedly?

I think impulsivity has a lot of negative connotations. However, I am referring to a potentially beneficial kind. I think people, by nature, desire stability. When we find it, we hold onto it. I don’t think that makes it necessarily good.

I had stability. A thoughtful, cautious, non-impulsive person would never abandon that. As a result, I took a leap. I followed that whim because I knew if I didn’t, I’d get stuck.

Second, I learned that I’m supremely independent. If I had it my way, I’d never get in a relationship again (that’s the rash, impulsive side of me speaking – she’s very matter-of-fact). Often times, I think being tied down limits me in a multitude of ways. As I mentioned before, I’m a self-proclaimed workaholic, and having a significant other in my life distracts me from doing what is most important to me: working.

It is so easy to spend a night in with your significant other instead of writing that extra article. For me, relationships serve as the ultimate distraction.

In my final realization, I remembered something about myself. I remembered I’m in my 20’s. I thought my teenage years were tumultuous – I had no idea what was coming for me.

Naively, I thought my 20’s would be a put-together time of fun and relaxation. As a youth, I envisioned college like the movies. Mistakenly, I never anticipated this much learning and conflict.

As a result, I reimagined my 20’s. And in that reinventing I eliminated a crucial figure that I had once desired: a boyfriend.

If I’m going to navigate these years, I want to do with my best friend (Lucy) by my side, not a comfort blanket (boyfriend). I want to push myself, I want to learn more and I definitely want to remain independent.

On that Monday I unconsciously made a decision for myself. I decided to be uncomfortable. Because in the face of uncertainty, you learn more about yourself than you ever did when you were blindly comfortable.

Emily Zachry

About the author

Emily is the managing editor. When she is not doing GrrlPunch related things, she enjoys holding cats and trying to be funny.

Jada Akoto

About the Artist

I enjoy doing things like eating, sleeping, and sometimes art. Instagram: @a.koto



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