Are You My Person? : A Look Into the Relationship-Seeking Mind
By Emily Ruezinsky
By Emily Ruezinsky
Like most of us, Lilly Beil grew up romanticizing…well…romance. Years of romantic comedies, family members asking about significant others, and watching friends go through different romantic relationships make it hard to conclude anything other than the narrative that relationships are the golden standard of the human experience. She explained how this narrative manifested in a way that consistently left her on the search for a partner, meeting every potential suitor with the thought: Are you my person?
You probably know the feeling. Wishful thinking about how and when your soon-to-be partner will drift along, and you’ll snatch them up and live happily ever after. But honestly, who’s to say that you can’t live a romanticized life already? Yes, even (no, especially) you single folks. As Lilly and I chatted, we talked about priorities, and what it means to be single, or to be in a relationship. However, we kept circling back to the idea of identity, and how we think about ourselves in relation to a potential romantic partner.
“For a long time I thought I just straight up was not interesting enough, so I needed somebody else to make me more interesting,” Lilly confessed as we started talking about why so many people feel the need to find a partner. She expressed how this thinking ruled (and still sometimes rules) her view on dating, and how it was a blow to her self-esteem. She added that combating these thoughts has been a journey, but she found that intentionally focusing on her friends, hobbies, church, and career made a big difference. She explained how all of those things do in fact make up an interesting person. “Your relationship status is probably one of the least interesting things about you,” she noted. “You’re a person and you don’t need anyone else to add to that value.”
For a long time I thought I just straight up was not interesting enough, so I needed somebody else to make me more interesting.
As we chatted more about the possibilities behind the discomfort many feel in their singleness, I asked Lilly what she felt the difference between friendships and romantic relationships was. She admitted that romantic relationships seem to take a priority over friendships, and for the long-term single friend, that can be draining. “I just want to be somebody’s priority,” she remarked. She then noted how she’s had to learn to be intentional in her friendships, and how her friends have been wonderful at reassuring her in their friendship. The difference, though, was intentionality on her end. We agreed that it can be really hard to seek out community, and that actively seeking is a necessity for everyone, but single people in particular. Being part of a church, circle of friends, work environment, or volunteer organization can make all the difference. But you’ve gotta make the effort.
Singleness brings so many people to feel somehow incomplete. People spend so much of their time searching for their person, and miss so many other important moments in the process. The desire to find a romantic partner too often outweighs people’s ability to be content with their own lives. That’s why Lilly wrote “Are You My Person?”
“I wanted to create something that was relatable,” Lilly said of the book. “Something that made people laugh and say like, ‘oh my gosh, that’s kind of embarrassing because that is me.” Modeled after the popular children’s book “Are You My Mother?,” Lilly’s “Are You My Person?” fllows the story of a girl on the search for a guy to be her Person.
“We learned so much of life’s lessons through childrens’ books so that was one of the reasons I wanted to model it after ‘Are You My Mother,’ but I also just wanted it to be something short and fun that people would see on a coffee table or a bookshelf,” Lilly explained. Making this often taboo subject approachable, relatable, and easy to talk about was always the priority.
Lilly’s book and experiences have led her to one conclusion: relationships are good. Heck, they’re great. But they’re not what defines a person. You get to define you, and quite frankly, you’re interesting enough just being who you are--regardless of your relationship status. You have hobbies, friends, experiences, and opinions to bring to the table. You’re a whole person, not just half of one. So instead of looking for our other halves, maybe approaching dating would look a little less scary if we decided that Our Person was, all along, us.