I grew up with a lot of notions – some are pretty on point, others far from accurate. Some messages I got from the culture I grew up in, some from my parents, many from the media, and probably too many from my peers. The older I get, I realize all that really matters is what I want – how I feel about something. Turns out, I have been denying a self of mine for years because of these notions.
For whatever reason, I grew up thinking women were a burden to men, and that we should be as low maintenance to them as possible. We should not want commitment (they don’t like that) and it’s just a known fact that they will lust after other women. I was supposed to be hot, have loose standards, and never lose my cool. The media told me that to be wanted I had to be a progressive woman – I couldn’t want a family or even marriage. I remember thinking that I would be the best girlfriend when I grew up because I wouldn’t require a daily phone call and I might even let him date other women. I resolved that it was my duty to be easy, low maintenance, and laid back. Even when my emotions pointed otherwise.
That’s the important part: even when my emotions pointed otherwise.
What I have learned in my current and previous relationships is that you can not deny your emotions. You enslave, disarm, and do major injustice to your soul when you neglect that tiny voice in your heart that says, “I want to be loved.” I’ll be the first one to say that no one way is right for everyone, but I do know each individual’s right way is outlined in their heart – and if they don’t listen to it, it will go from a quiet whisper to a raging scream. When I got to the point where I said, “You know what? I do want a committed boyfriend, I do want a phone call, I deserve this because I need it to feel loved,” I gave up all the crappy convictions I had come to believe and listened to my needs and my wants.
Stop denying! Why do we do these kinds of things as women? Why do we tell ourselves we don’t want something, when we really do? Why do we sell ourselves short to fit into some unattainable, suppressed image of what a woman is – to make men comfortable? Besides, is there such a thing as a healthy, low maintenance relationship?? (If you know the secret, please, do tell.)
For the record, I’m not saying be as high-maintenance as possible because you are a woman – I’m saying be whatever your heart needs to be loved. And hopefully, the rest will fall into place.
If you’re 21 and want to get married – do it. If your 37 and still feel like you can’t grasp bearing children – don’t. If you’ve been dating someone for 7 years and still don’t know if it’s the one – don’t marry them. If you’ve been dating someone for 5 months and want to elope tomorrow – do it. You, and you alone, know what is right for you. Only you have the keys to the language of your heart. Sometimes I wonder if we’d all be better off if we stopped listening to the rah-rah of the world and instead concentrated on the quiet, but powerful desires of our heart.