The first time I realized my man was intimidated by me was at a party celebrating a job promotion.
After busting my butt for months on a project, staying in the office till 9 p.m. everyday, and getting back into the office by 8 a.m. the next day, I finally had received the news I had been waiting for: I had received my promotion. It was one that came with many tears, sacrifices, and "What the hell am I doing?" moments. That night, I decided to call up all my friends and bae so that we could go out to celebrate my amazing accomplishment. On my way home, I called him to tell him the amazing news, and of course the pay increase that came with it. He was silent.
The more I watched, the more I noticed that my accomplishments or achievements made him uncomfortable. Sure, he'd say congratulations or that he was proud of me, but when it came time to really celebrate, there was nothing. It almost like a win for me presented a mirror up to him of all the things he hadn't achieved or gained yet — and instead of celebrating how dope it was that his woman was "winning," he saw that as a threat.
Women are constantly told to shrink ourselves for men, never to push ourselves too much lest we upset them. To never upset a man's ego, but always serve as an accessory to their success. When a woman is too ambitious, society tells her that she runs the risk of not finding a suitable mate. We have really been shaken to the core out here, believing that the only way for us to hold onto a man is by stroking HIS ego, supporting HIS dreams, and never work hard and celebrate the fruits of your labor. That ultimately men are intimidated by a successful woman.
And I had to ask, "Uh, so what?"
The narrative that women can't be strong or ambitious is such an old stereotype that has to end, especially amongst Black women, where we already feel the dating pool to be small. I wasn't about to let a man dictate my worth, my happiness, or force me to put aside my personal ambition solely to keep him happy, especially when I felt like he could be doing more to achieve his goals. At the end of the day, iron is supposed to sharpen iron, so why would I not want a partner who saw the fire in me and, instead of trying to blow the flame out, decided to add more fuel?
When you really work on yourself, and decide that you will pursue everything you want in life regardless of how another person feels, the universe conspires to support you by sending the right people in your life.
When I let him go (yes honey, let him GO), I noticed how toxic life had been, and just how much I had tolerated and dimmed to appease another human being. I wasn't operating in the fullness of who I could be and what I could do.
I had to learn how to let go of what was holding me back to walk in the fullness of what I could have.
Now, I have a great man who lovingly supports me, and who says that whatever win I have is a win for him. I have different friends who don't see my wins as competition, and a man who understands that as my companion, he works to support my dreams and vice versa. My mindset on things has changed, including the relationship I have with myself and how hard I work to pursue my dreams. I'm no longer apologetic for wanting more, doing more, and striving for more. I am proud of the person I am, and you can be, too.
Ladies, never dim your light for anyone. ANYONE. And never be afraid to let go of people who don't serve your higher purpose and calling, out of fear that you won't attract someone new or better who can support you. The people God has for you are out there, but decide for yourself that you are no longer allowing yourself to play small in this thing.
You are poppin', and you can win.
xoNecole is always looking for new voices and empowering stories to add to our platform. If you have an interesting story or personal essay that you'd love to share, we'd love to hear from you. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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