If you’ve known me for any length of time you know that my dating history involves men that should top the world’s biggest loser list, and not in any positive way. I have a knack for picking men without jobs, maybe without cars, and sometimes without a semblance of human decency. I’ve dated racists, men I’ve had to pay everything for (short of rent, but I did go for car insurance one day), and just about everything in between. It became a vicious cycle for me: find a guy, realize he’s a complete jerk, and stay in the relationship because I’m lonely and wanted companionship (or he was good at sex and I didn’t want to lose that), regardless of how he treated me, drained my emotions and resources and who he was as a person. In fact, it got to a point where I thought that I was finding so many of these assholes because I had done something in my life to deserve this treatment, and that I didn’t deserve a healthy relationship with a good man.
My dears, how wrong I was.
A few months ago, the cycle finally broke and I met the sweetest man that I have ever dated. He is sweet and gentle, selfless and loving. I haven’t had this much fun in a relationship in a long time, and I definitely haven’t laughed this much. It’s been a relationship unlike any other that I’ve had before, healthy and strong, and full of constant love and support. I’ve been dating for years, and I have NEVER had an experience like this one.
Now, looking at this, you might be wondering why I’m writing this post at all, what this has to do with my mission and goals and life. Right? Or maybe you’re just sitting there reading this and waiting for me to get on with my point and wondering why I bothered to interrupt my train of thought at all. Well, here we go.
My boyfriend will agree with me when I tell you that the last few months haven’t all been smooth sailing. We both bring a truckload of baggage to the relationship, and my mental health had been on a downhill landslide when we first met (it’s under control now, thanks to the fact that I have decided to dedicate more time to making sure that I am safe and healthy rather than giving in to the demons that come at night). And, in my only true fashion of self-destructiveness, I have been pulling away from the best man I have ever met because I believe that I don’t deserve to be this happy in a relationship. I believe, based on some of the choices that I have made when it came to men in the past, that I haven’t earned a healthy relationship in this lifetime, or at least not this soon.
I need to change my thinking, y’all. I really do. And any of you that have thought like me need to change yours as well. Because guess what?
No matter your past decisions, you deserve a healthy relationship.
You hear me? Write it down, internalize it, post it somewhere where you’ll see it every day. Open your heart and your mind and allow these words to nestle in and make a home in there, and repeat them until you are hearing them in your sleep and seeing them in your dreams. Exile those evil thoughts that say that you’re not good enough, that no one can love you because of how awful you are, that if anyone found out about your past they would drop you like a red hot pan on the stove that they grabbed without oven mitts. You are better than those thoughts in your head and you can rise above it.
Even if you’re like me and haven’t always been the most faithful to romantic partners or treated them the best, you still deserve to be loved by someone with their whole heart. You don’t deserve to be beaten or abused by someone and have them call it “love.” If they really love you, they won’t hit you or degrade you. To be loved by someone who truly cares about you means that you won’t ever have to wonder what you did to set off their anger, what you can change into in order to be perfect to them and it certainly means you won’t have to hide in the shadows because they don’t want your light to shine.
Every one of us has scars and baggage that we carry through this life. Some of us might feel like those things are chains that anchor us to our pasts and we should only get what comes near the anchor, the people as damaged and broken as we are that are anchored around us. Take a minute to look back on the choices that you’ve made so far, leading up to this moment, reading this post, especially when it comes to love. Can any one of us say that every single choice we’ve made is one we’re proud of?
No matter what path you may have taken to get where you are, you deserve someone amazing in this life to love you, a person who sees you as a person, and not just another conquest on the bedpost. Someone who treats you like you belong walking among the people instead of serving them. You don’t deserve to be treated like a vagina, a sex object or a temporary solution to this thing called life. You’re not a punching bag, a screw-up or a piece of trash under someone’s shoes. You are a warr;or, an independent, a f;ghter.
You can absolutely go on a date with someone who makes you laugh, when they reach out for you, they reach for your hand, not your ass, someone who holds the door open for you instead of walking through it first. Go on a date with someone who will split the check with you without complaining about gender roles, and walks next to you with their hand in yours, not in front or behind because they don’t really want to be seen with you.
You deserve to look for someone who will take the time to ask the questions because they’re genuinely curious about the answers, and look to take away your fears and build up your strengths to be the best that you can be. You deserve someone who will cherish the bright light that you have to share, standing next to you with a new bulb in case yours burns out, rather than someone who puts a black shade over you to make theirs shine brighter.
You are more than a vagina, more than a naked body just waiting to be thrown in a room with your pants off. You deserve to be a couple in love, sharing and growing, laughing, feeling light and relaxing and having a good time, focusing only on making each other smile.
You have the power to move mountains and take on the roaring storms to get what you want in this life, with the cosmos in your eyes and the magic in your mind. You deserve to have the space to be the strong, confident you that you are, and to have someone who will support you in doing that.
You deserve someone who will give you the world and still wants to wrangle the stars. There is nothing wrong with asking to be treated with love and respect; you deserve the world.
Whether or not you believe that you’re a good person, there is always someone out there who believes that you are perfect for them. You deserve to wait for that person. You deserve to know that the arms you fall into at night are the ones that will protect you, cherish you and lift you.
You are allowed to wait for that person, that one that you deserve, the one that makes reality seems better than your dreams (thank you to the great Dr. Seuss). It doesn’t matter how you get there or how you realize that you’ve met the person that you deserve, but you’re allowed to walk away from someone because you know you deserve better. But you’re not allowed to tell yourself that you don’t deserve someone so good just because you’ve made a few mistakes in your past. Because, darling, you really, really do. I promise.