I knew I fucked up when I woke up sharing a bed, apartment, and life with a man whose morning routine was to lazily have a sex session and to start watching conspiracy theory videos. At that moment, I had to ask myself, why am I stooping so fuckin’ low?
I was new to the city, tired of the dating scene, and peeped my first grey hair under my wig, so I freaked out and rushed into a whirlwind romance. Yes, like a weakling, I took a man who I barely knew at face value after a few dates and some bomb ding-a-ling without properly vetting or testing him for longevity and true compatibility. I went against my instincts to keep it player after our first sexual encounter and stuck around for the love bombing, future faking, and in retrospect, very predictable abuse soon to follow.
I may have been dumb, but at the time, I figured at least I was “high maintenance” with a man who provided for me. He was so addicted to my feminine energy and my coochie that he wanted me to quit my job so I could be more supportive of his endeavors and have the time to tend to my wifely duties while carrying his 4th child. I wasn't going to be like his exes, I was taken ring shopping because I was different, and I made him want to settle down, and… you see how delusional I was?
This relationship was a counterfeit, and it was just enough to match the low level of self-love I had at that time. Ironically, to find the strength to leave required me to remember who the fuck I was.
Not my accomplishments, not my looks, not my possessions but underneath all of that, a divinely feminine woman that has the power to create the life that I desire. To be honest, at the time, I did not do the work needed to heal from a traumatic past, and lazily imagined a relationship where, like some fairytale, a man was going absolve me from that. By sweeping me off my feet romantically and being a provider of safety and love, I would reach the promised land as long as I stayed submissive and I played my role as the virtuous, self-sacrificing woman.
Now at this point, you are probably wondering who was the fan of conspiracy theories here... me or him? Well, life ain’t no fairytale, and I allowed myself to be pushed to the edge until I had no choice except for choosing between this all-encompassing relationship or myself.
I Spartan-ed up, kicked his dusty ass off the mountain like I was in the movie three hundred, got myself to my place, into therapy, and head down into the life-transformative book, Why Men Don’t Love Women Like You by G.L. Lambert. And, would you like to know exactly why men didn't love women like me?
Because I didn’t love myself enough to devote the time to become whole and confident in my worthiness of a healthy relationship beyond my ability to endure abuse, be selfless, sacrificing, and subservient.
What I loved about the author is that he is a womanist at his core and points out how a woman's value in a relationship, does not lie in what she can do for a man. A woman is at her peak of power when she realizes her priority is self-preservation and self-care. He explains that with each failed relationship there is a certain level of personal responsibility we must take to access our true power:
“A man will only fuck you over if you let him, but so many women refuse to take responsibility. Their egos paint this picture that they fell for a man who had no warning signs, who was a master manipulator, and they were nearly an unsuspecting victim in his dishonest game.
"If you think a man can gain mental power over a woman without her giving it, you are either delusional or stupid. You control who gains access to your heart, but the first step is preventing these bums from gaining access to your ears.”
I’ve learned that when it comes to love and relationships, it's so common and incredibly easy to point the finger at the person who is doing dirt without airing out the ways I am doing myself dirty. The relationships we choose closely mirror the ones that we have with ourselves. After much healing of my feminine energy (and my energy in general) in the form of seeking professional therapy, I realized I constantly betrayed myself by settling out of fear and desperation. I spent so much time angry at others for not prioritizing me while I was constantly putting myself in the passenger seat of my own life.
In his book, Lambert explains:
“You are a woman. You can withstand immeasurable amounts of pain, show unconditional love, and give birth to life...you are the shit! Men kill, wage wars, lie, steal, pay, beg, and betray each other for women. Are you really going to believe the bullshit that you are soft, replaceable, are just a sexual release? You are the most powerful of all human beings.
"It is time to embrace this fact and shake off the habits and traditions that men have settled you with in order to keep you obedient and unsure of your place in this world. Take some time to appreciate how important you are in regard to the role that you play in this universe. Spend a moment basking in how potentially great you could be once you had the self-esteem of not giving a fuck.”
Show a man that you will stick with him through His worst behavior, and he will keep showing you his worst behavior. Struggle love doesn’t lead to change. It leads to more struggle...— G.L. Lambert (@8plus9) February 5, 2021
Lambert's work ultimately helped me realize that the mindset and actions of "me comes before he or she" will ultimately lead to both the life and relationship that I desire because I am allowing space for the caliber of men to enter my life and show up. When it comes to the men that I am attracting, they are not supposed to take over my life. They are meant to enhance it for the better.
I am balancing my feminine energy by pouring way more into my self-care rituals, reflecting and releasing the past by daily journaling, and forcing myself to evolve instead of running back to people, places, and mindsets that have proven not to be beneficial to me. My garden is starting to bloom again. Less and less, I feel the need to prove what I bring to a relationship by exerting masculine energy walking around advertising myself like the latest model of an iPhone and am instead focused on leaning back and observing, giving men space to reveal themselves and their character. I am more focused on letting men (yes, dating more than one at a time) prove themselves to me and continue to show their feelings through actions instead of just words.
Self-love does not happen overnight. It takes practice, acceptance, consistency, compassion, and intentionality. By doing the hard work to consciously reach and maintain a certain level of self-love, I cannot accept less than that level of energy from a man wanting my romance. I'm learning that self-love is the very foundation of my dating process because if 'I loved myself as much as I loved the idea of a man's validation, I would be unstoppable.
'I've learned that while dating, if I find myself having to justify a man's behavior to my loved ones, then that's enough reason for me to release that fish back into the sea because that's a huge red flag. I learned it is very important to date a man who is secure within himself. Saying I am the prize is not enough. I have to live like the prize that I am. I have to be out here doing my own thing, keeping the mystery, continuing to have my own life, continuing to love myself. I have to continue to discover myself and not be afraid to show my personality.
Putting myself on a pedestal is something that I will never regret. The key is putting myself on a pedestal for things that people cannot take away, like my fearlessness and my character.
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