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How I Found Myself By Giving Up Dating For 6 Months

Marisa Zocco |
April 9, 2015 | 10:47 a.m. PDT



In February, I decided to give up dating for six months. Yes, that includes sex--although I wasn’t getting much anyway.

It’s been over a month and it’s been a little rough. They say it takes two weeks to start a new pattern. If that’s the case, I must be a little behind the curve because this one took me almost four weeks before I stopped looking for distractions. I still have one.

I developed a sudden and somewhat furious crush on a guy who shares the same work space as me—meaning he attends the same school at my university. Yea. We breathe the same air at least once a week. He may even know I exist.

I knew nothing about him but to my friends, for the first two weeks, he was a topic I spoke about more constantly than my struggles with class or not eating chocolate. One friend even told me she couldn’t handle the guy talk anymore. She needed to talk about “real” things, she said.

What, like my fantasy marriage to a stranger isn’t real life?

READ MORE: 9 Best Things About Being Dumped

In the third week, I re-discovered my longtime celebrity crush on Instagram (oh hey, Dane Cook!). And although I did take another excursion to fantasyland, rediscovering him launched me into exactly the kind of adventure I had intended when I decided to give up dating.

Cook announced on his Instagram that he’d be performing at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood. The desire to see him live, as a decidedly very single woman, hit hard. But there was this strange debate with myself.

First, was I worth the $45 ticket plus the two drink minimum on my college budget? Yes, that is correct. I asked myself if I was worth it. Worth less than $100 of my own money. It suddenly hit me how little value I’d been placing on myself. 

See, the reason I decided to give up dating is that I tie too much of my own self-worth up in a man and his interest in me. If I went to a show with a man, he would pay and I’d be worth his time and his money, which would tell me I was worth something. 

That leads me to the second series of questions I asked myself: should I go alone? Doesn’t that make me lame to go to a comedy show and laugh by myself? 

It hit me that of course I should go alone and I almost slapped my inner self because it simply isn’t possible or at least rational to be considered lame for deciding to be independent and go see a comedy show and laugh with what should theoretically be the best company around—yourself.

I’m a first row girl at any show. That’s where I like to be—up close and personal. So that’s where I sat for the show. Aziz Ansari sat himself next to me. I had no idea who he was, however, and it ended up making a great story.

READ MORE: An Open Letter About Aziz Ansari - Also, I'm Sorry, Aziz

More importantly, the interaction with him illuminated some of the things within my personality that I am most proud to let shine. 

I felt brave and empowered. I felt genuine. I felt actually entertained by my very natural awkwardness. Basically, just deciding to sit where I did gave me so much of what I was looking to cultivate by giving up dating temporarily. The night only continued to be fruitful, however. 

I met Dane Cook. And this was the best part of all. Not because I met him or because my fingertips sat softly along his toned lats during the photo we took, but because after taking it, for the first time in my life, I felt beautiful. 

Standing next to someone I feel is one of the most attractive men in Hollywood (I’m almost 30 mind you), I expected that seeing the photo, the weight I’d gained from a fast-paced college life and some car accident injuries would glare at me. I prepared myself for disappointment in my appearance standing next to a Hollywood ten. 

Dane Cook and I pose for a photo after his performance at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood, Mar 27.
Dane Cook and I pose for a photo after his performance at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood, Mar 27.
When I saw the photo, however, I saw my radiance. I saw my happiness. I saw myself the way people have been praying I would. Not cute. Not pretty. Beautiful. It’s a very distinct feeling and it goes beyond the physical appearance visible in the image, and deeper, into the sparkle in the eyes.

I’m still reeling on it—feeling beautiful.

But none of this would have happened without deciding to give something up. I gave up dating, yes. But I also gave up insecurity for a couple of hours. I gave up penny-pinching and treated myself. I gave up my humility, admitting to a famous comic that I didn’t know who he was. 

Arthur Schopenhauer once said, “mostly it is loss which teaches us about the worth of things.” 

Society tells us all the time not to give things up and to stay a course, but the term “giving up” has an undeservedly bad reputation and can be an incredibly useful, healthy practice. And if you practice giving up—in a good way—like I’ve begun to do, you could basically have an entire column on it. So that’s what this is all about. 

Give It Up is a column focused on reclaiming and re-purposing the term “giving up” as a healthy, positive action, encouraging personal growth and discovery. It will focus on the art and value of detachment.

In addition to not dating for six months, I will be giving up something new every thirty or so days and sharing the experience. 

I mean there really is no better time to give up showering in order to conserve water than when you’re single right? That’s coming up in May.

READ MORE: California Receives First Mandatory Water Restrictions

This month I’ve gone on a 7-day juice fast, completely eliminating all solid foods. Because of the cleanse, this is a triple-whammy month. I’ve already given up meat and coffee for a week for the juice fast, so I’ll continue not consuming those things for the remainder of the month. And I really love bacon. Like, really, really.

I’ll be posting supplemental blog entries to share the full experience. You can join me in giving something new up each month or send me suggestions as to what you’d like to see me detach from after May. You can even tell me what you’re terrified to ditch.

It should be a great and expanding adventure. I hope to hear from you along the way. 


Read more at "Give It Up Press."

Contact Columnist Marisa Zocco hereor follow her on Twitter here.



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