Monday, December 12, 2016

Falling in Love... Day 6

I had one of the best weekends, spending it with the people I love most… well, most of them anyway. I also set out to check off a couple more of those adventure goals I’ve been working toward.  My current quest is to find, explore, and take pictures of all the lighthouses in Florida.  Being a peninsula, surrounded mostly by shoreline, I’m thinking this adventure will take me a while to complete. I now have a new adventure in the planning stage of sailing to the Dry Tortugas for a couple weeks.

The reason I set up these adventures for myself is because I neglected me for so long, putting everyone else’s needs and wants before mine. I was a big sister, a parent, and a wife.  It’s what we do. Now, I’m not really any of those things and have been so lost, like a ship without a compass.  It took me a while to even discover what I liked to eat, what made me happy, what makes my soul sing.  Many of the things I’ve discovered are things I’ve always liked, but there are many new things I didn’t even know existed for me. I didn’t know me, but I’m learning more and more about me every day, and I love the woman I’m discovering.

I had a conversation with a friend of mine recently, and while I know his words were meant as a compliment and in no way pointed at me in accusation, they still hurt very much.  I was told that I was very smart, inspiring, radiant with positivity, a beautiful soul, unique, strong, independent and someone they very much want to be friends with and have in their life, because they want to develop those virtues for themselves.  He told me these qualities are what make me very attractive …at first… but.  There’s always a ‘but’.  Even though this was coming from a friend and not a date, I still felt my walls cave in and heaviness fall, causing that familiar huge knot to form in my throat. BUT… he said, this also made me hard to carry.  Every conversation from every failed relationship I’ve had where I was told how much I was loved, but… came crashing in on me.  All my exes still love, respect and admire me.  All of them.  Yet they are weak and none strong or brave enough to choose me, to love me.

I don’t need to be carried. I don’t need to be saved.  I just wanted to be loved. Am I supposed to dumb myself down, act like I can’t take care of myself, be cruel and selfish so that a man can feel comfortable enough to love me? As much as ideologically this sounds ridiculous, I believe it’s true.  I see it evidenced every day in society and have felt the pain of it in my own life.  I won’t change who I am, even if this means I’ll always be alone.  I would rather be proud of myself and of the beautiful soul I am, than lose that part of myself because a man isn’t strong enough to stand with me, to let me love them, and have courage enough to love me back.  A weak coward has no room next to me.    

So, if loving me is so hard to carry for a man, then they don’t deserve me.  I want a strong man, a man that will love me just as fiercely and I will love them, who will fight for me just as strong as I would fight for them, who would believe in me as much as I would believe in them. So yes, a shallow man only interested in a pretty face or a pretty body will NEVER be happy with me.  A weak man who is so insecure he needs a weak woman to make him feel strong, would NEVER be happy with me.  A coward too afraid to touch the sun, doesn’t deserve to bask in its light.  When I love, I love with a love that’s real, deep and true… not superficial, not shallow, not vain… and so only a man that knows how to love with real love will ever do. I will not make apologies for that. While all men think they possess this kind of courage, strength and power… I’m learning very few ever do.

Bottom line – I choose to love myself because I know I’m strong enough and the love I have for me is unashamed, deep, real and never hard to carry.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray

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