I’m writing this for your sister. She has grown up in a society that compels her to be a woman worth marrying. For your best friend, who has watched all her friends find love; outside, she remains happy for you but loneliness is crushing her from the inside. For the single mother who will never apologise for her child, but is still treated like she should. For your daughter, whose value you will never allow to be determined by a man.
Most of all, I am writing this for you who knows exactly how it feels to be all these women… Precisely because you are one of them.
The hero in this story is not a flawless knight. The hero isn’t one of the eligible bachelors from church. It isn’t the gentleman who will finally treat you with the respect you deserve. The hero isn’t even your soulmate. The real hero in this story is the person you have forgotten, the one you need to fall in love with again; you. If you believe that your life isn’t complete until the right man comes along, then you really need to ask yourself how you got to a point where you thought of yourself as incomplete. How do you expect someone else to love you if you don’t see yourself as enough? How can you love yourself if you don’t think of yourself as whole?
A man is not coming into your life to save you. He is coming into your life to love you. I insist that you never allow the difference between those two scenarios to be lost on you. What you are looking for in this man are the very things you have denied yourself, otherwise you wouldn’t have the need to be completed. If it is companionship that you seek, then you need to learn how to create value in the time you spend alone. If it is faithfulness, you won’t find it in someone else, you will find it in fiercely fighting for the things that have your best interest at heart. You have to first be faithful to yourself. If it is a man to build a life with that you wish for, you have to make sure that your own foundation is rooted in the values and beliefs that make you proud to be you. It is all you. You are your most important suitor. You have to do the things that make you want to marry yourself. Find the highest peak, and fall hard for yourself. There is a man who is looking for these very qualities in a woman, and I promise you, he wants you complete, not half.
When you have finally reclaimed your missing half, when you can finally see yourself as whole again… It will be time to kiss a few frogs.
This man, this knight, will not come to you riding on a horse. Don’t stand there waiting to be swept off your feet. Get your own horse! Waiting is a fancy way of doing nothing and expecting something. Ride out to the unfamiliar and start doing the sweeping yourself. Here is where you remain faithful to yourself. Never betray who you are by posing as someone else. Don’t apologise for who you have become. There will be suitors who will find this irresistible, those are the only men you have time for. The ones who see you for who you are, and not what they want. There’s a difference. Lend them an ear, but only open the door for the one whose values best match up with yours. These are the frogs we will be kissing.
There will be the tall, dark and handsome one who doesn’t want kids. There will be the PhD holder who believes a woman’s place is in the kitchen. There will be the man of God who will not want sex before marriage. There will be Mr. Endowed, whose wife you will only find out about a year later. This is what they stand for, but what do you stand for? You won’t know these things about them until you ask, and ask them early. Don’t wait to find out years into the relationship. Frog kissing will require you to sometimes put aside your bubbly feelings and find out who these men really are. It’s an audition that goes both ways and what you’re looking for are the people whose values are most compatible with yours. Love alone will not be enough. Love is what you feel for someone, compatibility is how you will live together. The two don’t always coexist.
As the dust settles on what will seem like a battlefield to you, only the two of you will remain standing. You and this man who lines up so well with your values, this man who has made you a teenager again. This man who shows up for you when you need him most. They really do exist. He also needs to know that you exist. A woman who doesn’t just wait for love; a woman who is emphatic in how she reciprocates it. You too can ask him out, you too can be the first to call, you too can decide what you are doing this weekend. There is no law that says men alone are responsible for doing the chasing. It goes both ways. You can’t work this hard to find love and then when it’s finally at your doorstep, you leave all the work to him. To chance. It’s your job too! When he asks you how your day was, you can do more than “Fine.” You can contribute more to a conversation than just “Hi.” Put your ego aside, you won’t need it where you are going.
Don’t play games; say what you mean and mean what you say. Hold him to the same standards. Don’t ask your friends why he hasn’t called in two days, he is the only one who has that answer. Ask him. It’s called communication, it’s a direct line between you and him and not through anyone else. The rest are spectators. Now pick up that phone and call him, your ego has no place here. If you are afraid to be hurt, then you are afraid to be loved. Nobody can guarantee you that they will never hurt you. Nobody. Either you want to do this or you don’t, but you can’t let fear decide for you. The alternative is living a life full of regret for having never tried. If it is love you want, then giving love a chance is your job and not just his.
You’re here now. You finally found love, but I won’t let you forget who you are. You are still whole. That doesn’t change because you found someone, if anything, you need it now more than ever. There is a time for ‘I’ and a time for ‘We’. Make it very clear to him that they are not the same.’I’ is the first person you fell in love with, the one who came to understand the things that truly give purpose to her life. Don’t let go of her. It is not selfish to put her in front of ‘We’, it is essential. It is giving. It is giving others the best version of you. He will need to understand that your life remains your life, your body remains your body, your choices remain your choices. There is no ‘We’ in that, that’s an inside job. An ‘I’ thing.
I’m happy for you. Not because you found love, but because you found yourself. Love is the reward you get for putting ‘I’ first.
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