The time has come,
I am finally etching in stone one of the things I seem to talk about the most lately... Relationships!!
I'm not sure why... well I know why it has taken me this long to write about this particular topic. It used to be very awkward for me. LOL! Dating or relationships is not something that I will ever profess to be an expert on but it is something that, at 24 years old, seems to be extremely prevalent in my life. Especially now be it that I am actually attempting to "date" now. And I put quotes around that term because I am still trying to figure out what that seems to look like in the middle of a pandemic.
Its sticky to say the least.
I would assume that this is a prominent topic for most people in their 20's and is probably a conversation piece during most girls nights or weekend get togethers. I can say that, for me, it has been a constant talking point in my circle for sometime now, especially since I have been... putting myself out their more, so to speak.
If I'm honest, I was never a girl that really was hype about dating. I was much more interested in the relationship portion. I would much rather skip the awkward meet ups and the "getting to know you" phase and get straight into it. But of course, that is not how life works. So, here we are, in the "dating" phase and again, I use that term loosely because what does that even look like in a pandemic? I don't even know.
However, what I do know is that the more you do, the more you learn, and your girl is learning a lot! The various experiences have been extremely educational and I am grateful for all the things that it is teaching me about myself and about others.
One of the things that this dating rolling coaster has taught me is to be flexible. I realized that I had a very rigid idea of what I wanted and expected when it came to dating and the opposite sex. I was almost set in my ways and didn't think that anything else would work for me when it came to meeting potential partners. However, I realize that as you actively meet people, you will find that their are some things on your "list" that you probably didn't even think about that you actually like. There may be some things or qualities in a person that you don't mind exploring. On the flip side of that though, you might also find that there are some qualities that you thought interested you, that completely turn you off. I won't get into specifics, simply for the sake of time, but I can absolutely say for myself that when I actually came across people with certain characteristics I thought I liked or found attractive I realized that I absolutely HATED IT! Seeing it in real time made me cringe! LOL!
And honestly, this may have just come with age. We all know that what you found so intriguing in high school can be something you avoid like the plague now. You grow up and as you grow and mature, so does your attractions and desires.
Something else that changes as you grow and mature is you understanding of relationships. When I was younger, romantic relationships were very black and white. Either you really liked them or you didn't. They were deemed "boyfriend material' or no interest at all, there was no in between. I can't tell you why I thought like this, I just did. There was no grey areas for me. In moments where you would find it best to "friendzone" someone, I really didn't feel the need to. Trying to keep a relationship that I felt like was going to be awkward was just not worth the effort for me, if I'm really honest. However, my sentiments have absolutely changed. I don't know why I am laughing as I write this but I am because it's so frivolous but so important at the same time. The idea of throwing away a relationship simply because the originally desired outcome of the relationship did not turn out in your favor is extremely dumb to say the least. You miss out on potentially great people in your life all because we don't want to hurt people's feelings or because we don't want it to be "awkward" but honestly, who knows if it will be!
Now don't get me wrong, some relationships are best left in the cemetery of "potential" never to be dug up again but, not every single relationship should be tossed so easily. When you find genuinely amazing people, people who support you and care for you with no ulterior motive, keep those ones. They're special.
Preserving relationships that genuinely are healthy for me is something I have really tried to be intentional about in this season of my life. People are necessary and community is necessary for our growth and development and doing the work to make sure that they are not so easily disposable is really important.
However, do you know what is also important? Not being afraid to let go. When evaluating whether or not a certain person or relationship is worth keeping and you come to the conclusion that they aren't, because with some you will, don't be afraid to cut the cord. You know what is healthy for you and you know what toxic looks like. Yes, it all may be be packaged uniquely for your specific situation but it still smells the same. So, when it's time to let that situation go, don't allow anyone to shame you for your decision or cause you to second guess yourself. Only you know what it feels like and only you lived this, no matter how similar their situation may be, it is not yours. So make the decision that best fits you. There is a season for everything under the sun and letting go is a season all in its own.
Being able to release yourself from the bondage of holding on to a relationship simply because you don't want to be alone or because you don't want to disappoint onlookers is a strength that can not be described. Standing on your own legs and making the decision to choose you and your happiness is something that you can never be ashamed of if you stand true to it.
Never apologized for prioritizing yourself when others mistreat you and take you for granted. You don't owe anyone an apology when you remove yourself because they treat you like one of many options and not the only option. You owe no explanation when you have given plenty of space for improvement, when you have been forthwrite and transparent and your concerns were still treated as recommendations for improvement and not requirement.
The only ones owed an apology are God and yourself.
You owe God an apology for mishandling his creation. You owe Him an apology for not being a good steward over His good thing. You need to ask God for forgiveness because everytime you allowed someone to mishandle you, you allowed them to disrespect what He called blessed.
You owe an explanation to yourself because you are worth so much more. You deserve so much more love, honor, and consideration. You apologize to yourself because you are worth more than what they thought and much more than you realize. You are no one's second thought and should never allow yourself to be handled as such.
I am learning to stop giving my apologies away so easy.
Learning that I have often misused my "sorry" on things only meant to hear "I meant it".
I am learning that being unapologetic is strength that all, male and female, should develop.