YOU GUYS. I am beyond thrilled to introduce you to Emily. We met through Kanakuk Kamps (a summer camp and ministry) , a few years ago and she has blown me away with her lack of fear and faith ever since. Emily is someone who isn't afraid to take a risk, is full of boldness, and bravery. She is loyal, and incredibly sweet, and I'm so thankful to know and be friends with her. She can talk all things Broadway (which I SO appreciate) and probably knows more about Taylor Swift than you do. She is full of passion, and a dream chaser. Anyways, I don't want to spoil her story because she tells it so well. Here is the first post in the mini series of the collective, "Single In The City".
Name: Emily Ann Domke
CITY: New York City
Can’t live without: My family, Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and Taylor Swift
Favorite thing about New York: Each neighborhood has its own unique vibe so I never get tired of exploring.
"On May 17th, 2016 I landed in New York City with two bags, a near empty bank account, and no return ticket. For weeks I had feelings of adventure and excitement run through me, followed by dread and anxiety. Thoughts like “I’m going to live in New York!” were quickly replaced with “I am making a huge mistake!” Would a sane person move halfway across the country with no job, no money, and no idea what they want to do in life?
Two months before, I was wearing a stunning rose gold engagement ring and wedding planning was in full swing. Five months later I would be married. I had chosen a venue, found the gown, and had the guy. But I was beginning to have second thoughts...
Jeff and I had met while working at a Christian summer camp the previous year. He was charming, kind, chivalrous, goofy, and I was immediately drawn to him. We had an instant connection that gave me butterflies and made me blush. We would talk for hours without running out of things to say. Once word got around camp that Jeff and I had hit it off, it seemed that everyone was on board. That summer turned into a whirlwind romance that swept me off my feet and left me floating in the clouds.
There wasn’t a specific day, or argument, or reason that things changed, but I began to question whether I was ready to get married. After Jeff and I got engaged and we started talking about plans for the future and expectations for marriage, I had a feeling in my heart that something was off. For months I pushed those feelings away and chalked them up to cold feet or nerves, but as the wedding date drew closer the more stressed I became. I thought I did everything I was supposed to do. I met a guy at summer camp who loves Jesus and loves me, so now we ride off into the sunset like in an old school Taylor Swift music video right? I prayed for months and asked God to take these nerves away. I tried pushing the feelings down and telling myself to just be happy. Finally, after things didn’t improve, I decided I needed to honor my feelings and be sure that getting married was what I really wanted.
Calling off the wedding was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. Breakups are never easy, but it is much easier to justify a breakup with a jerk than with a sweet guy like Jeff. I didn’t think I could do it. Jeff wanted to fix it, wanted to know what he did wrong, how he pushed me away, and what he could do to change. I couldn’t answer his questions. The classic cliché “It’s not you, it’s me” summed up the situation perfectly. BUT REALLY IT’S ME! I wanted to make it so clear that he didn’t push me away, or do anything that made me change my mind. Cliché or not, it didn’t make the breakup any less painful.
After sending out uninvitations to make it official (yes those are real things), I did feel a sense of relief. It was as though God lifted a weight off my chest. To be clear, Jeff was not the weight, and neither was the idea of marriage: It was the stress of trying to live up to other people’s expectations and live the life I thought I was “supposed” to be living. I knew I had made the right decision even though it was hard.
What does all this have to do with being Single in the City you ask? Well, calling off the wedding freed up my schedule, so to speak. I didn’t have a job, I was finished with school, and I was not tied to any place or person. My sister and her husband suggested I move to NYC, and at first I laughed it off as a joke. But eventually I began to like the idea of living somewhere new, and what better time than now?
Fast forward to the present. I have lived in New York City for a year and a half now and let me tell you, there are many more frogs than prince charmings (but shout out to Bumble for trying to convince me otherwise). For the most part, I’ve been rocking the single life and have come to enjoy the freedom it brings.
Living in a new city, not knowing anyone aside from my sister and her husband, has taught me a lot about being single. A huge piece of advice I can give is: don’t be afraid of doing things alone. Go to a restaurant and confidently ask for a table for one. Find a park bench and reread Harry Potter. Go to a museum and get lost in the exhibits. Sign up for that kick boxing class. Sip hot chocolate at a cafe and watch people walk by. These are all things I’ve done in the city that I’ve absolutely loved. But my favorite thing is going to the movies. I’m a huge movie person and going alone feels like my own personal date night.
Being single in the city has also taught me to be more independent. There are a lot of things that would have been nice to have a guy around to help with, but I’m glad I had the opportunity to figure it out for myself. I wouldn’t recommend driving a U-Haul truck through the streets of Brooklyn on a Saturday, but now I can tell you that I am capable of doing that. It might take me 8 ½ hours, but I can put together an Ikea trundle bed without any help. If you have a leaky sink, a mice infestation, or a clogged toilet, I’m your gal! My point is, there are times where it feels easy to just throw your hands up and think “If only I had a boyfriend for this!” when really you are strong and capable. Don’t sell yourself short.
Lastly, and very importantly, I’ve learned that it’s okay to not be okay. Some days I’m sad and lonely and all I want is someone to watch Dexter with me. Some days I open instagram and think there is no possible way that THAT many people got married last Saturday. There are days when I go to brunch with my sister Holly and her husband Jackson and I think “I will never have what they do”. Not all days or weeks are going to be overflowing with confidence and security in my singleness, and that’s okay.
Currently I am happy that I am single. All the lessons I have learned this year and experiences I’ve had would have been vastly different if I’d had a boyfriend. I have to remind myself (often) that there is nothing wrong with me for not wanting a relationship at the moment and not desiring to get married anytime soon. Being single in the city might sound intimidating, but it's truly a crazy adventure that I wouldn’t trade for anything! (Even a penthouse apartment on Park Avenue)"