I remember the cool hard tile that spanned the tiny width of my apartment bathroom. Once-white, tiny islands packed tightly together, covering the floor in a neat pattern that went on and on until they unexpectedly and awkwardly met the wall. That’s where my best friend, Marisa, found me and sat with me for far too long. I was sobbing. Inconsolably. About a failed relationship that I desperately hadn’t wanted to end. 8 years of failed relationships felt like an eternity of disappointment. Of course there was happiness in the mix but as I sat there crying, I could hear that space inside me where I tucked away my self-doubt and insecurities expand like too much air filling a tire.

Years later, when we were dating, I could hear it when Kosta and I argued. I could hear it in the empty space on a boring afternoon when we didn’t have much to say to each other. It nagged me. It whispered that what I had and gave and was just wasn’t enough, wasn’t right, wasn’t lovable.

Kosta proposed to me a year ago. The first words out of my mouth were “Is this for real?” – the insecurity bubbling out comically. I married Kosta that day in my heart. And then I let out a deep breath and willed those insecurities to vaporize. I imagined letting go of them and watching them drift away like an overeager bunch of balloons.

I do still have to remind myself when they try to sneak back in: There is no place for them in the life I plan to live.

I will always remember that day, crying in my tiny apartment bathroom with my best friend whose life is irrevocably grouted beside mine and expanding. On and on. But it’s a happy memory now, as is the thought of all of my failed relationships. What I remember most is the love of my best friend, and my husband, and how their love has inspired me to love myself.