July 27, 2015

How I Know you are “The One.”


When I first met you, you weren’t the one.

You see, when I first found you—I hadn’t yet found myself.

I may not have realized it, but I wasn’t really looking for a man—I was the one I was actually looking for.

All my life I had been lonely—I’d been without myself. From time to time, I traded that in for being lonely with a man. But I could never find the love I was looking for in those men, because the love I was missing was my own.

With you, it was no different. How could it have been, when I was still the same me? But you did somehow get in deeper than anyone else who’d come before. I was not ready to have someone get in so deep. It was as though hidden parts of me, that were not ready to be excavated, were being ripped out from deep inside.

Your presence demanded all of me. I tried to meet you completely, but there were still so many unruly parts that I didn’t have a handle on—so many parts of me that I hadn’t befriended yet. Those parts were not my allies—they abandoned me. I abandoned me. 

You suffered silently. When I could’t contain my loneliness and pain, they exploded all over you—I was hurting you.

I didn’t see it, but you were backing away slowly, and one day you just slipped out the back door. Gone, leaving behind a big, gaping hole in the spot where you had gotten in deeper than anyone else.

I felt more alone than ever after you left.

In the past, I’d always found something to fill the emptiness—a new lover, fancy new things, alcohol, a vacation. In fact, you, yourself had once been yet another way I filled the gap.

I’d never simply embraced the emptiness before.

Maybe I wanted to honor the loss of you, or maybe I just had no choice,  but this time I did not grasp for something to numb the pain. I did not try to fill the empty space. Even if I’d tried, it’d have been no use. Nothing—not even you—could have filled it then. So I just let it be what it was.

At first it was a gaping wound, so sensitive that nothing could come near it. But over time, the wound began to heal, and the space just became spaciousness.

For once, I had room to let in grace, to experience sweetness in simple things and to feel so much empathy I thought I would burst—to float in catharsis. I was tender and raw—feeling my world more than I’d ever felt it before. Life was rich.

For once, I was not desperate to fill this big empty hole in me—and what happened when I left it open was amazing.

All my life I had always felt alone. My only company had been whatever loud, flashy thing I’d chosen to fill my emptiness. But for the first time, I was alone without all the noise. There was nothing else there to drown me out, and I could hear, feel and see myself for the first time.

More alone than ever before, I was no longer lonely. I finally realized, the one I had been looking for all along was me.

I felt more alive than ever before—I reveled in my joy and my pain, alike. I was grateful for the journey that had led me to that place.

I was grateful to you for you coming into my life, and I was just as grateful to you for leaving.

And then—right when I felt freedom from the need for you—you returned. And for the first time in my life, I got to feel what it was like to want someone, without needing them.

I had needed all the ones that came before because I hadn’t had myself—but it’s different with you.

I simply want you.

I chose you—and I continue to choose you every day, since.

And that is how I know you’re the one.



The Men You don’t Need.


Author: Summer Engman 

Editor: Yoli Ramazzina

Photo: Henri Pham/Unsplash

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echs Dec 8, 2015 4:47pm

I love your story… and I think I’m in a similar place to where you were in the middle of the story… I loved someone so much but I wasn’t invested enough in her until she was slipping away, and then she did slip away. But since then I’ve been realising all the lessons she taught me and while I got really depressed about it and really down on myself, I’m now seeing my own light and really expressing myself in proactive and creative ways. I still miss her and think about her every day even though it’s been months, but I’m expanding on the lessons and expressing my love and light and I feel like I’m in a really good place now. I don’t know if she’ll come back and if she does I’m pretty sure she is The One, but even if she doesn’t come back, her being with me and also leaving me has helped me to realise that, well… I’m The One. 🙂

Diana Dec 7, 2015 8:07pm

I can definitely relate to this in so many ways. I too lost someone in my life which propelled me into learning to embrace the pain and the loneliness that was caused by self abandonment. Truly taking loving care of ourselves makes the difference and brings so much joy and fulfillment. My love also returned and it was when I no longer “needed” him in the way I needed others to fill the void that was within me in the past. This article was beautiful, thank you so much for sharing this part your journey.

Melina Aug 2, 2015 10:11pm


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Summer Engman

Summer Engman is a photographer, filmmaker and traveler who, in a former life, was a life-coach, but left it behind in favor of chasing her passions, which pretty much all involve a camera. Summer has been traveling the globe since 2015, chasing waterfalls, gathering friends, and making art. She’s originally from Hawaii, studied in California, and was most recently a New Yorker before embarking on her life as a full-time traveler.